CfP POLLEN2022: The Politics of Agroecology in Sub-Saharan Africa: Critical Perspectives

Organizer/main contact person: Patrick Bottazzi and Sébastien Boillat, Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland

Agroecology is commonly defined as a triple object combining ecologically sounds agronomic practices, a corpus of scientific knowledge and a social movement (Wezel et al. 2009). It has been argued that its wide adoption in sub-Saharan African present the potential to foster adaptation to climate change, biodiversity protection, and farmers’ food sovereignty and livelihoods. Despite these assumptions, recent literature on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) revealed that most of the agroecological initiatives are led by ‘classical’ development and conservation agencies such as NGOs, government, research institutes and more recently private ‘organic’ industry (Isgren and Ness 2017; Bottazzi and Boillat 2021; Boillat, Belmin, and Bottazzi 2021).

This issues raises several questions related to the ‘political appropriation’ of agroecology (Giraldo and Rosset 2018; Altieri and Toledo 2011) and its real emancipatory potential for rural societies in SSA. What are the discourses, narratives and power relations prevailing in agroecological movements, projects and programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa? Do these represent a potentially counter-hegemonic movement that empowers producers and consumers? Or, to the contrary, do they entail new mechanisms of appropriation of nature that build on dominant neo-colonial ecologies? Who are the winners and the losers in the process of transition to agroecology? Given these potentially strongly divergent outcomes, we postulate that a strongly critical approach is needed to scrutinize the power relationships at play around the promotion and implementation of agroecology in the region.

We invite contributions to several related topics such as:

  • Politics, discourse, narrative and strategies of agroecology
  • Territorial aspects, access to natural resources and land rights
  • Just transition, labour and vulnerable people
  • Power asymmetries, transnational networks
  • Gender, ecofeminism and reproductive spaces

If you are interested to contribute to this session, please send your presentation title (max. 20 words), your name, your affiliation, an abstract of maximum 250 words and 3 keywords to Sébastien Boillat ( or Patrick Bottazzi ( by January 29th, 2022.


Altieri, Miguel A, and Victor Manuel Toledo. 2011. “The Agroecological Revolution in Latin America: Rescuing Nature, Ensuring Food Sovereignty and Empowering Peasants.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 38 (3): 587–612.

Boillat, Sébastien, Raphael Belmin, and Patrick Bottazzi. 2021. “The Agroecological Transition in Senegal: Transnational Links and Uneven Empowerment.” Agriculture and Human Values.

Bottazzi, Patrick, and Sébastien Boillat. 2021. “Political Agroecology in Sub-Saharan Africa: Repertoires of Collective Action and Strategies of Farmer Unions in Senegal.” Sustainability.

Giraldo, Omar Felipe, and Peter M Rosset. 2018. “Agroecology as a Territory in Dispute: Between Institutionality and Social Movements.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 45 (3): 545–64.

Isgren, Ellinor, and Barry Ness. 2017. “Agroecology to Promote Just Sustainability Transitions: Analysis of a Civil Society Network in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.” Sustainability 9 (8).

CfP POLLEN2022: Intersections of Political Ecology and STS: New Perspectives, Potentials, Limitations

Ekin Kurtiç – Brandeis University, Crown Center for Middle East Studies
Aybike Alkan – TU Berlin, Institut für Philosophie, Literatur-, Wissenschafts- & Technikgeschichte
Maral Erol – Işık University, Humanities and Social Sciences Department

Session background:

In the last decade, scholarship at the intersection of political ecology and science and technology studies (STS) has been on the rise. The intellectual alignment of these fields of study has materialized as a result of particular shifts in each field, making the overlaps and differences between these fields more visible. While political ecologists have paid increased attention to questions of knowledge production concerning the environment, STS scholars have shown a growing interest in considering the political entanglements of environmental scientific knowledge (Goldman and Turner 2011: 5) and in deepening the incorporation of political economic and geopolitical analyses in their works (Kaşdoğan 2016). Moreover, political ecologists’ expanding interest in the materiality of ecological life has led to a novel interest in concepts and methodologies of STS (Robbins 2011: 76).

This panel discussion aims to revisit the new perspectives, potentials, and limitations revealed through this cross-fertilization at a time of intensifying ecological destruction and resulting injustices and struggles, as well as of expanding attacks on environmental science, especially considering that STS has been blamed for having contributed to the post-truth era and to the suspicions around issues of climate change (Fuller 2016). We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions addressing how the insights of political ecology and STS can inform each other.

The guiding questions include but are not limited to:
● Combining STS and political ecology perspectives, how do we reach a more robust and complex analytical and theoretical approach in understanding environmental change?
● What kind of new perspectives do social studies of scientists and technical experts provide in political ecological inquiries?
● How and to what extent do STS concepts and methodologies engage with ecological justice, equity, and rights – issues that have long been at the center of political ecology?
● How can the political ecology perspective open or foreclose new ways of understanding the politics of and around environmental knowledge production and circulation, particularly regarding climate change?
● What are the potentials and/or limitations of the intersection of political ecology and STS in exploring and contributing to radical, decolonial, and emancipatory ecologies?
● Which socio-ecological themes and topics lend themselves well to and would benefit from a political ecological analysis informed by STS (and vice versa)?

We invite panel presentations that reflect on these questions or any related ones based on empirical research or conceptual reflection. If you want to join our panel session, please send your abstract (max. 250 words) to,, and no later than January 26th, 2022. Please include the presentation title, 4-5 keywords, affiliation (if applicable), and contact information in your abstract.


Fuller, S. (2016) “Embrace the inner fox: Post-truth as the STS symmetry principle universalized.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective. Available at:

Goldman, M. J. and Turner, M. D (2011) “Introduction,” In Knowing nature: conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Goldman, M. J., Nadasdy, P., & Turner, M. D. (Eds.). (2011).. University of Chicago Press.

Kaşdoğan, D. (2016) “In-Between Political Ecology and STS: A Methodological Provocation.” ENTITLE Blog Post:

Robbins, P. (2019). Political ecology: A critical introduction. John Wiley & Sons.

CfP POLLEN2022: Crises in/of forest carbon offsetting

Session organizers:

Kirstine Lund Christiansen, University of Copenhagen

Adeniyi Asiyanbi, University of British Columbia Okanagan

Jens Friis Lund, University of Copenhagen

Session background

Forest carbon offsetting continues to stumble through various crises – unrelenting global deforestation, growing severity of wildfires and other extreme weather events, widespread criticisms and local resistance, and enduring problems of additionality, leakage, and permanence (Gifford 2020; Hajdu and Fischer 2017; Asiyanbi and Lund 2020; Milne et al. 2019). Nevertheless, carbon forestry initiatives have found renewed impetus from the Glasgow Climate Pact and the proliferating promises of net-zero carbon emissions by governments and corporations. Market capital increasingly penetrates carbon forestry initiatives through growing marketization of publicly-funded projects, through plans and evidence of carbon market expansion and integration, and through the inflow of market finance and philanthro-capital. While the intensification of neoliberal capitalism and associated exclusionary and violent logics in carbon forests and wider conservation landscapes is being rationalized through particular narratives of escalating environmental breakdown (Le Billon 2021), carbon forests also serve as a fix for capital’s crisis of accumulation and related crisis of legitimacy (Palmer 2021; Carton 2019). Furthermore, forest carbon offsetting initiatives themselves both precipitate and are confronted by various other kinds of crises across local project sites, verification chains, and across spaces of offset trading and ‘consumption’. Understanding the logics and effects of these crises requires investigations of both the broader, interconnected structures of capital, science, and politics within which carbon forestry is embedded as well as the relations, actions, and motivations of actors operating in various parts of the carbon forestry network.

In this session, we are interested in the many crises in/of forest carbon offsetting, and we explore this from two angles around which political ecology can offer important insights. First, political ecology work can contribute to our understanding of the entanglements of capital and crises in forest carbon offsetting, including the ways in which crisis narratives invite and legitimize specific flows and logics of capital and the ways that actors attempt to repurpose, obscure and side-step crises, risks and complexities in order to tentatively sustain the circuits of capital and offsets (Frewer 2021; Milne and Mahanty 2019). Here, political ecology can also uncover the power-laden nature and effects of discourses, practices, and political technologies through which actors seek to grapple with actual and perceived crises that confront carbon forestry initiatives in general and at particular locales.

Second, we are also interested in the crises that forest carbon offsetting – by itself and in alignment with resource extraction and agroindustry – precipitate for local communities. On the ground, many carbon forestry projects are creating and compounding crisis for Indigenous peoples and local forest communities through empty promises, resource exclusion, food insecurity, various forms of violence, and broader marginalization (Asiyanbi and Lund 2020; Kansanga and Luginaah 2019; Fischer and Hajdu 2018; Milne et al. 2019; Cavanagh and Benjaminsen 2014). Political ecology can shed light on the ways that narratives of global crisis are being enrolled to justify local crisis, but also how proponents of forest carbon offsetting might seek to side-step, obscure, or deny local crisis in evaluation reports, advertisements, offset sale brochures, and more.

We invite papers, including conceptual, empirical, and review work that explore various forms of crises in/of forest carbon offset and the ways in which proponents are seeking to grapple with repurpose, obscure, side-step, or deny crises. Indicative topics include:

  • Crisis and logics of finance and capital broadly in carbon forests
  • Project/program failure, failure discourses, and politics of failure in forest carbon initiatives
  • Crisis branding and marketing in carbon offsetting
  • Public perceptions of carbon offsetting, including ‘downstream’ public and private buyers and users of carbon offsets
  • Political technologies for governing risk and uncertainty in carbon landscapes
  • Local perspectives on adverse impacts of offsetting
  • Narratives and initiatives suggesting ways to overcome current and expected crises of carbon forestry

If interested, please send a 250 abstract to,, or by 25 January 2022.


Asiyanbi, Adeniyi, and Jens Lund. 2020. “Policy Persistence: REDD+ between Stabilization and Contestation.” Journal of Political Ecology 27 (1).

Carton, Wim. 2019. “‘Fixing’ Climate Change by Mortgaging the Future: Negative Emissions, Spatiotemporal Fixes, and the Political Economy of Delay.” Antipode 51 (3): 750–69.

Cavanagh, Connor, and Tor A. Benjaminsen. 2014. “Virtual Nature, Violent Accumulation: The ‘Spectacular Failure’ of Carbon Offsetting at a Ugandan National Park.” Geoforum 56 (September): 55–65.

Fischer, Klara, and Flora Hajdu. 2018. “The Importance of the Will to Improve: How ‘Sustainability’ Sidelined Local Livelihoods in a Carbon-Forestry Investment in Uganda.” Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 20 (3): 328–41.

Frewer, Tim. 2021. “What Exactly Do REDD+ Projects Produce? A Materialist Analysis of Carbon Offset Production from a REDD+ Project in Cambodia.” Political Geography 91 (November): 102480.

Gifford, Lauren. 2020. “‘You Can’t Value What You Can’t Measure’: A Critical Look at Forest Carbon Accounting.” Climatic Change, 1–16.

Hajdu, Flora, and Klara Fischer. 2017. “Problems, Causes and Solutions in the Forest Carbon Discourse: A Framework for Analysing Degradation Narratives.” Climate and Development 9 (6): 537–47.

Kansanga, Moses Mosonsieyiri, and Isaac Luginaah. 2019. “Agrarian Livelihoods under Siege: Carbon Forestry, Tenure Constraints and the Rise of Capitalist Forest Enclosures in Ghana.” World Development 113 (January): 131–42.

Le Billon, Philippe. 2021. “Crisis Conservation and Green Extraction: Biodiversity Offsets as Spaces of Double Exception.” Journal of Political Ecology 28 (1).

Milne, Sarah, and Sango Mahanty. 2019. “Value and Bureaucratic Violence in the Green Economy.” Geoforum 98 (January): 133–43.

Milne, Sarah, Sango Mahanty, Phuc To, Wolfram Dressler, Peter Kanowski, and Maylee Thavat. 2019. “Learning From ‘Actually Existing’ REDD+: A Synthesis of Ethnographic Findings.” Conservation & Society 17 (1): 84–95.

Palmer, James. 2021. “Putting Forests to Work? Enrolling Vegetal Labor in the Socioecological Fix of Bioenergy Resource Making.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 111 (1): 141–56.

CfP POLLEN2022: Political ecology of education – climate youth and indigenous activism

Session organizers:

Matthias Kowasch (University College of Teacher Education Styria, Austria; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences)

Jill Tove Buseth (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences)

Session description:

The emergent political ecology of education provides fruitful ground for problematizing and re-imagining curricula and policy (Meek & Lloro-Bidart, 2017). But with growing awareness of climate change impacts, many citizens, especially young people, see an urgent need to act for a radical socio-ecological transformation – which curricula and textbooks do not promote.

Climate youth activists, such as Fridays for Future (FFF), challenge classical environmental and sustainability education (ESE) by questioning the existing economic growth paradigm and green gestures (Kowasch et al., 2021). FFF representatives emphasize the responsibility principle and claim that those who have caused the problems should pay for it. Such (radical) environmental justice approach (Benjaminsen & Svarstad, 2020) is also highlighted by indigenous environmental activist claims. Indigenous and local people have long valued, used, and shaped “high-value” biodiverse landscapes (Fletcher et al., 2021). They often advocate for the continuance and renewal of moral relationships of responsibility, spirituality, and justice (Whyte, 2018). Importantly, Kopnina (2020) and other scholars request the integration of indigenous worldviews and environmental justice into formal education.

In this session, we therefore ask how the various movements refer to environmental justice and responsibility. We seek to share ideas on how to integrate the debate into formal education. Moreover, we want to discuss the production of political ecology knowledge in different contexts. Potential contributions thus may focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Perspectives, viewpoints and interaction of climate youth and indigenous activists
  • Climate and environmental activism in the Global North and South
  • Integration of climate and environmental activism into formal education
  • Political ecology knowledge production in formal and non-formal education
  • Environmental justice and the principle of responsibility approaches within activism and education
  • Gaps between environmental awareness, conflict and action

If you want to participate in this session, please submit a title, an abstract of maximum 250 words, and 3 keywords by 16th January 2022 to and

We invite academic scholars, policy makers, educators and (youth) activists from both the Global North and South to contribute with papers based on empirical studies to compare various case studies and/or with theoretical approaches. The papers should not be longer than 15 min and involve the audience to stimulate further exchange. We also welcome information regarding your positionality, so that we can consider a diversity of voices in the session.


Fletcher, M., Hamilton, R., Dressler, W., & Palmer, L. (2021). Indigenous knowledge and the shackles of wilderness. PNAS 118 (40) e2022218118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2022218118.

Kopnina, H. (2020). Education for the future? Critical evaluation of education for sustainable development goals. Journal of Environmental Education 51, 280–291.

Kowasch, M., Cruz, J.P., Reis, P., Gericke, N. & Kicker, K. (2021). Climate Youth Activism Initiatives: Motivations and Aims, and the Potential to Integrate Climate Activism into ESD and Transformative Learning. Special Issue “Youth Climate Activism and Sustainable Civic and Political Engagement”, Sustainability 13(21), 11581;

Meek, D. & Lloro-Bidart, T. (2017). Introduction: Synthesizing a political ecology of education, The Journal of Environmental Education, 48 (4), 213–225, DOI: 10.1080/00958964.2017.1340054

Svarstad, H. & Benjaminsen, T.A. (2020). Reading radical environmental justice through a political ecology lens. Geoforum 108, 1–11.

Whyte, K. (2018). Critical Investigations of Resilience: A Brief Introduction to Indigenous Environmental Studies & Sciences. Daedalus 147 (2), 136–147. DOI:

CfP POLLEN2022: Cultivating grassroots

Grassroots, the new section of the Journal of Political Ecology, is inviting proposals for the POLLEN 2022 panel session: “Cultivating Grassroots”

Panel Abstract:
In this panel we explore the notion of “Grassroots”, which has been mobilized by social environmental movements to link their political and life struggles with local realities and concerns. is also the name of Grassroots the new section of the Journal of Political Ecology. In the midst of a global environmental crisis, the objective of this section is to reveal and circulate local experiences, stories and reflections on the politics of
environmental change, unequal access to natural resources and uneven distribution of environmental risks, as well as alternative ways of relating with more-than-human environments. We believe that this type of platform has the potential to inform and contribute to transforming the way in which we do political ecology today, as well as to strengthen the ties between social movements and academia.

To launch this new platform, we invite contributors to explore any of the following interrelated issues:
• The notion of grassroots as a way of referring to social movements, its histories, uses, transformations and critics across different regions and times
• The evolution of grassroot strategies for socio-environmental mobilization, from the emergence of transnational agrarian movements (Borras Jr., Edelman, and Kay 2008) to the influence of social media in popular uprisings (Foust and Hoyt 2018), and from biological warfare in agricultural fields (Beilin and Suryanarayanan 2017) to ‘projection fights’ during the COP26 (Murray 2021).
• New directions and demands that grassroot movements are adopting in the face of globalization, digitalization and climate change. These include mobilization against climate inaction and injustice (de Moor et al. 2021), against new technologies of climate change mitigation such as lithium batteries that require new waves of mineral extraction (Svampa and Viale 2020), or in favor of nonhuman entities such as forest and rivers as legal persons with rights (Revet 2020).
• Any other topic related to the notion of grassroots and to the evolution and strategies of socio-environmental movements.

Traditional single authored presentations are welcome, but we also encourage pieces co-produced by academics and activists in the form of written papers or visual essays. If you are interested in contributing to this panel, please send a 250 word abstract to by 20th of January 2022. Accepted papers will be included in the panel and considered for publication in the JPE section – Grassroots (

Grassroots section editors:
Diego Silva Garzón – Centre for International Environmental Studies (IHEID, Geneva, Switzerland)
Emilie Dupuits – Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador)


Borras Jr., Saturnino M., Marc Edelman, and Cristóbal Kay, eds. 2008. Transnational Agrarian Movements Confronting Globalization. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Foust, Christina R., and Kate Drazner Hoyt. 2018. “Social Movement 2.0: Integrating and Assessing Scholarship on Social Media and Movement.” Review of Communication 18 (1): 37–55.

Moor, Joost de, Michiel De Vydt, Katrin Uba, and Mattias Wahlström. 2021. “New Kids on the Block: Taking Stock of the Recent Cycle of Climate Activism.” Social Movement Studies 20 (5): 619–25.

Murray, Jessica. 2021. “‘Projection Fight’ Breaks out on Side of Cop26 Venue in Glasgow.” The Guardian, October 11,

Revet, Sandrine. 2020. “Les Droits Du Fleuve. Polyphonie Autour Du Fleuve Atrato En Colombie et de Ses Gardiens.” Sociétés Politiques Comparées 52.

Svampa, Maristella, and Enrique Viale. 2020. El colapso ecológico ya llegó: una brújula para salir del (mal)desarrollo. Singular. Buenos Aires: Siglo veintiuno editores

CfP POLLEN22: Critical political ecology perspectives on ‘the’ blue economy

Type of session: Panel session and/or paper session

Organisers: Kate Symons, Lecturer in Global Development ( and Mark Lamont (, Lecturer in International Development, both Development Policy and Practice, The Open University, UK.

Session Abstract

The ocean’s role in global sustainable development is firmly on the agenda. Environment, conservation and development institutions are paying more attention to ocean and marine environments, and the four billion people who depend on directly on ocean resources (Cohen et al. 2019). Ideas about blue growth have emerged as a way of protecting ocean resources while simultaneously exploiting them for economic gain. Blue economies are emerging in various contexts including Africa, South Asia, Pacific Islands and Europe. Though ‘the’ blue economy can be defined in many ways, they often appear to be driven by a complex set of often-contradictory imperatives including: ecological fixes for extractives and industrial ocean-based projects such as deep-sea mining and bioprospecting; neoliberal environmental governance such as carbon credits from ‘blue carbon’; geopolitical concerns including territorialisation, security and marine spatial planning; aquaculture; and ‘blue diplomacy’ efforts to fulfil specific political and investment goals (Bond, 2019; Keen at al., 2018; Ramesh and Rai, 2018; Voyer et al., 2018). A small but growing body of critical research into blue economies foregrounds issues of power, justice and agency, questioning the idea that the ocean can simultaneously be a source of economic growth while maintaining the protection of traditional livelihoods, cultures and more-than-human life (Childs and Hicks, 2019; Cohen et al., 2019; Ertör & Hadjimichael, M., 2020; Okafor-Yarwood et al., 2020).

This session invites research which develops critical political ecological perspectives on specific blue economy policies and schemes in particular contexts, as well as blue political ecologies more generally. This could include the following themes and questions:

– How are blue economies being envisaged and implemented in different contexts? What histories, institutions, values, claims, policies, political strategies and power relations are involved in ‘actually-existing’ blue economies?

– To what extent are blue economies based on dynamics of enclosures of marine commons and limitations of community access to ocean resources? Are there examples of counter-hegemonic or pluralistic approaches to blue growth (including more-than-human approaches), or contestation of blue economy schemes?

– Do blue economies represent the further neoliberalisation of oceanic nature through dynamics such as carbon and biodiversity credits and/ or eco-tourism? Do neoliberal nature analyses adequately capture the emergence of blue economies in different contexts?

– How are blue economies entangled with more-than-human life?

– How should we understand the global politics and geographies of the blue economy? How do blue economies complicate and/ or reinforce existing notions of North and South?

Our objective is to develop the growing body of scholarship on blue economies from political ecology and related perspectives (such as human geography, development studies and environmental humanities). We also hope to develop critical perspectives on the role of the ocean in global development and environment efforts. We aim to include papers from researchers with experience of blue economies in different contexts in the Global North and South, and develop a research agenda focussed on just and equitable approaches to marine and coastal development.

Submission information:

Depending on the number of papers received, we hope to structure the session to allow 15 minutes per speaker, followed by a panel-style discussion.

Please send your abstract to one of the organisers by 15th January 2022, and please do contact one of us with any questions.

Please submit with the following information:

Name and affiliation (we recognise the contingency of research employment and welcome independent and non-affiliated papers)

Title of presentation (max 20 words)

Abstract (max 250 words)

List of max 3 key words


Bond, P., 2019. Blue Economy threats, contradictions and resistances seen from South Africa. Journal of Political Ecology, 26(1), pp.341-362.

Brent, Z.W., Barbesgaard, M. and Pedersen, C., 2020. The Blue Fix: What’s driving blue growth?. Sustainability Science, 15(1), pp.31-43.

Childs, J.R. and Hicks, C.C., 2019. Securing the blue: political ecologies of the blue economy in Africa. Journal of Political Ecology, 26(1), pp.323-340.

Cohen, P.J., Allison, E.H., Andrew, N.L., Cinner, J., Evans, L.S., Fabinyi, M., Garces, L.R., Hall, S.J., Hicks, C.C., Hughes, T.P. and Jentoft, S., 2019. Securing a just space for small-scale fisheries in the blue economy. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, p.171.

Ertör, I. and Hadjimichael, M., 2020. Blue degrowth and the politics of the sea: rethinking the blue economy. Sustainability Science, 15(1), pp.1-10.

Keen, M.R., Schwarz, A.M. and Wini-Simeon, L., 2018. Towards defining the Blue Economy: Practical lessons from Pacific ocean governance. Marine Policy, 88, pp.333-341.

Okafor-Yarwood, I., Kadagi, N.I., Miranda, N.A., Uku, J., Elegbede, I.O. and Adewumi, I.J., 2020. The blue economy–cultural livelihood–ecosystem conservation triangle: The African experience. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, p.586.

Ramesh, M. and Rai, N.D., 2017. Trading on conservation: A marine protected area as an ecological fix. Marine Policy, 82, pp.25-31.

Voyer, Genevieve Quirk, Alistair McIlgorm & Kamal Azmi (2018a) Shades of blue: what do competing interpretations of the Blue Economy mean for oceans governance?, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 20:5, 595-616, DOI:10.1080/1523908X.2018.147315

CfP POLLEN2022: Political ecology meets abolition: Exploring the relationship between policing and environmental injustice

Session organisers:

Andrea Brock, University of Sussex,,

Nathan Stephens-Griffin, University of Northumbria,


In 2020, at least 227 environmental defenders around the world were killed by policing forces – police, militaries, paramilitaries, private security forces (Global Witness, 2021) – and all around the world, those who stand against ecological destruction are systematically harassed, intimidated and repressed by police of various kinds. Policing forces protect and enforce ecologically destructive projects and activities, from mining to infrastructure projects and mega prisons. They are integral to the transportation and import of ecologically disastrous fossil fuels – whether through the protection of pipelines or guarding freight ships – and the protection of animal abuse, blood sport, vivisection, and the animal industrial complex.

At the same time, policing itself has a huge ecological boot print. Militaries and police forces not only protect fossil fuels, but they run on oil: the US Department of Defence is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels and number one carbon emitter in the world. Public and private security forces, including the police, rely on huge amounts of extracted resources and fossil fuels, and produce significant amounts of environmental pollution and wastes in their daily operations. Indeed, these dynamics are not new; the history of policing is inseparable from the colonial past and present. Policing today, we therefore suggest, is inseparable from ecological degradation in the services of capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy.

Some environmental justice activists and others involved in more militant ecological struggles have long worked with abolitionists in their communities, critiquing the ways policing, prisons, and pollution are entangled and racially constituted (Braz and Gilmore 2006). Others have long pointed to the ways in which militaries protect fossil fuel (emissions) (Greenpeace, 2021) and the problematic absence of military emissions in climate negotiations (Parkinson, 2021) and the impact of militarism on the climate more broadly.

Policing, we suggest, helps enforce a social order rooted in the ‘securing’ of property, hierarchy, and human-nature exploitation. Environmental justice scholarship – and political ecology more widely – has been relatively reluctant to take up the challenge of exploring these interconnections (Brock and Stephens-Griffin, 2021; Brock and Stephens-Griffin, forthcoming; Dunlap and Brock, eds., forthcoming). However, recent work has sought to unearth the complex connectivity between ecological and carceral harms in society (Pellow, 2019); rethink the spatial politics of environmental justice within a Black Radical Tradition (Pulido and de Lara, 2018), and interrogate the emancipatory potential of ideas such as ‘abolition ecology’ (Heynen, 2018) and ‘total liberation’ (Pellow, 2014). Elsewhere, work has explicated the related issues of ‘green militarism’ (Bigger and Neimark, 2017; Belcher, Neimark and Bigger, 2020) and political responses to protest ‘from above’ (Geenenand Verweijen, 2017). Nevertheless, the connections between policing, and ecological destruction and injustice remain underexplored.

In this session, we invite contributions that explore these links. Beyond investigating the policing of environmental struggles, we seek to expand our focus to investigate how the overall system within which these struggles take place is the outcome of policing and associated violence(s). This may involve technologies of policing, including criminalisation, stigmatisation and framings as eco-extremists, but also more bureaucratic forms of violence and everyday policing (by non-police – e.g., welfare state, teachers).

Call for papers

We hope to explore new understandings of contemporary policing of ecocide – the logics, technologies and strategies; the political economy and ecology of policing, and the role of different actors – including, but not limited to police, militaries, private securities, mercenaries, bailiffs, and self-policing. These may include cases of policing of resistance, but also ways in which the overall system is upheld through policing.

We ask what forms and shapes this policing takes place, how we might be able to resist it, what kinds of alliances and links between anti-police and ecological struggles exist and may exist in the future?

How is policing linked to militarism and the greenwashing of militarism? What might a world without policing look like?

Papers in any form may address any number of topics related to political ecologies of policing and abolition, including but not limited to:  

  • Abolition and abolitionist futures
  • Prisons, police, pollution
  • The intersections between the policing, white supremacy, and ecological destruction
  • Policing, patriarchy and ecofeminism
  • Policing of/for extractivism
  • Green militarism and ecocide
  • Policing in the name of green capitalism
  • Policing the right to kill
  • Changing dynamics in contemporary policing
  • Abolition and animal liberation
  • Total liberation and policing
  • Global North and South dynamics of policing
  • Colonialism, policing, and ecology
  • Policing as a hegemonic assumption, ideology and/or logic
  • Historical and colonial continuities and entanglements

We invite papers and presentations that explore and develop these themes as they intersect with political ecologies. If you want to present a paper in our session, please send your abstract in a Word attachment to and no later than January 15th, 2022. The abstract should be max 300 words (excluding title and author info) and should include affiliation (if applicable) and contact information for all co‐authors.


Belcher, O., Neimark, B. and Bigger, P. (2020). The U.S. military is not sustainable. Science Vol 367, Issue 6481 • pp. 989-990 •DOI: 10.1126/science.abb1173

Bigger, P. & Neimark, B. (2017). Weaponizing nature: The geopolitical ecology of the US Navy’s biofuel program. Political Geography, 60, 13-22

Brock, A. and Stephens-Griffin, N. (2021) Policing Environmental Injustice, IDS Bulletin, Online First,  

Geenen, S. and Verweijen, J. (2017). Explaining fragmented and fluid mobilization in gold mining concessions in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(4), 758–765.

Global Witness (2021) Global Witness reports 227 land and environmental activists murdered in a single year, the worst figure on record, September 13th, Global Witness,

Heynen, N. (2018) “Toward an Abolition Ecology”, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, 0(1) 240-247. Accessed: 16th September 2021.

Parkinson, S. (2021) Challenging the military carbon bootprint, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Presentation given at the People’s Summit for Climate Justice, COP26, Glasgow, UK, on 8th November, 2021.

Pellow, D.N. (2014). Total Liberation: The Power and Promise of Animal Rights and the Radical Earth Movement. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

CfP POLLEN22: Power and politics in global forest restoration and tree planting effort

Type of session: Panel session and/or paper session


Harry Fischer, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,

Rose Pritchard, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester,


Flora Hajdu, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,

Session Abstract

Recent years have seen growing calls for largescale landscape restoration, especially forests, most recently through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Proponents often argue that restoration has great potential to advance environmental objectives alongside human welfare (Bastin et al. 2019, Chazdon and Brancalion 2019, Mansourian et al. 2020). Political ecologists have raised concerns about how actual practices of restoration (especially tree plantations) may serve to legitimate land cover changes that further marginalize poorer people, reproduce entrenched power asymmetries in global environmental policy interventions, and neglect underlying drivers of forest loss and poverty (Osborne et al. 2021, Ellias et al. 2020, Davis and Robbins 2018). While extensive research has called both for protecting local land rights and ensuring that local stakeholders have power in restoration planning processes, (Fleischman et al., 2020, Erbaugh et al., 2020, Djentonin et al. 2020), there remains a need for theoretically-grounded research on how more just restoration and tree planting can be achieved in practice. It is certainly the case that dominant policy discussions have lacked social scientific perspectives (Pritchard 2021, Coleman et al., 2021, Hajdu & Fischer 2017).

This session aims to contribute to building a foundation for critical social science scholarship on global restoration – its politics, its impacts, and its many varied manifestations on the ground. We do so through a paper session and through a panel discussion between researchers and practitioners who have in-depth experiences with restoration and tree planting in different parts of the world. Our objective is to draw together experiences from across the Global South & North in ways that can help synthesize existing knowledge and identify areas where strong political ecological scholarship is needed. We hope that this can help stimulate a knowledge community of critical restoration scholars that we can continue to build and engage with in the coming years.

Potential themes include:

– What are the diverse ways in which restoration (or often simply tree planting) is being realized on the ground? What institutions, policy mechanisms, and power dynamics are being put into motion through the global focus on restoration?

– How and in what ways are practices of “restoration” new? Or, is this simply ‘old wine in new bottles’ – the continuation of long entrenched practices of established funding structures, administrative structures, and environmental agencies?

– How is the global imperative for restoration impacting people and landscapes in different parts of the globe?

– What would a more just and empowered paradigm of restoration look like in practice – and what kinds of politics can help it to be achieved?

Please send your abstract to one of the three organisers by 15th January 2022.

We hope to convene both a paper and a panel session. Please indicate if you want to:

1) Present in a paper session – i.e. get about 15 minutes to present a paper based on your original research or practitioner experience, including data and theorization.

2) Present in a panel session – i.e. get about 10 minutes to present an argument based on your research/practice experiences and then participate in a longer panel discussion.

In either case, please submit also the following:

Name and affiliation

Title of presentation (max 20 words)

Abstract (max 250 words)

List of max 3 key words


Bastin, J.F., et al. The global tree restoration potential. Science, 2019, 365.6448: 76-79.

Chazdon, R. & Brancalion, P. 2019. Restoring forests as a means to many ends. Science 364, 24–25.

Coleman, E. A. et al. 2021. Limited effects of tree planting on forest canopy cover and rural livelihoods in Northern India. Nature Sustainability.

Davis, D. K. & Robbins, P. 2018. Ecologies of the colonial present: Pathological forestry from the taux de boisement to civilized plantations . Environment and Planning E. 1, 447–469.

Djenontin, I. N. S., Zulu, L. C. & Etongo, D. 2020. Ultimately, What is Forest Landscape Restoration in Practice? Embodiments in Sub-Saharan Africa and Implications for Future Design. Environ. Manage. 619–641.

Elias, M., Joshi, D. & Meinzen-Dick, R. 2021. Restoration for whom, by whom? A feminist political ecology of restoration. Ecol. Restor. 39, 1–2.

Erbaugh, J. T. et al. Global forest restoration and the importance of prioritizing local communities. Nat. Ecol. Evol.

Fleischman, F. et al. 2020. Pitfalls of Tree Planting Show Why We Need People-Centered Natural Climate Solutions. Bioscience.

Hajdu, F. & Fischer, K. 2017. Problems, causes and solutions in the forest carbon discourse: a framework for analysing degradation narratives. Climate and Development 9:6, 537-547.

Mansourian, S. et al. 2020 Putting the pieces together: Integration for forest landscape restoration implementation. Land Degradation and Development 31, 419–429.

Osborne, T. et al. 2021, The political ecology playbook for ecosystem restoration: Principles for effective, equitable, and transformative landscapes. Global Environmental Change 70, 102320.

Pritchard, R. 2021. Politics, power and planting trees. Nature Sustainability.

CfP POLLEN22: Exploring the Interface between ‘Green’ Extractivism and Violent Conflict

Panel convenors: Alexander Dunlap (SUM, University of Oslo) & Judith Verweijen (University of Sheffield)

Panel description

All over the globe, initiatives to mitigate climate change, including projects to promote a ‘green’ energy transition and the drastic increase of the protected area network, are accelerating. This process can be described as a rapid expansion of the ‘green extractivist’ frontier. It includes (1) the arrival of large-scale wind, solar, title wave, ecotourism, agricultural or hydrological dam projects, which leads to new enclosures and forms of displacement and dispossession; and (2) the onset of new mining projects justified in the name of low-carbon infrastructures or green militarization (e.g., to produce equipment used for enforcing conservation), often focusing on the extraction of cobalt, iron ore, lithium, zinc, silver and rare earth minerals (Dunlap, 2021a; Verweijen & Dunlap, 2021).

As is the case with frontier dynamics more generally (Rasmussen & Lund, 2018), the ensuing socio-ecological disruptions and political-economic transformations both shape and are shaped by dynamics of conflict and violence (Fairhead et al., 2012). First, competition for access to and control over ‘low carbon’ resources can feed into geopolitical tensions, with reverberations far beyond areas of resource extraction (Berling et al., 2021). Second, many low-carbon energy or conservation projects are located on disputed or Indigenous lands, where the presence of both green and conventional extractivist projects is endorsed and enforced by national and regional governments. Opposition to government-supported national or transnational projects frequently leads to different intensities of social contestation and violence by state and non-state actors (BHRRC, 2021). Third, ‘green extractivist’ projects may be rolled out in areas that are already immersed in armed conflict, thereby intensifying and
transforming ongoing violence.

Many of these processes are already under way. For instance, the arrival of large wind and solar projects in the Western Sahara is fuelling conflict in this occupied territory (Allan et al., 2021). In Oaxaca, Mexico, large-scale wind projects have fed into a violent conflict between Indigenous groups opposing land grabbing on the one hand and wind energy corporations and their allies, including the Mexican state, on the other (Dunlap, 2017). The European Commission (EC), in turn, anticipates that mining justified by low-carbon infrastructures will generate increasing conflict. It is therefore sponsoring pre-emptive efforts to disable opposition and organize ‘social acceptance’ through such means as “[p]ublic relation campaigns, transparent stakeholder dialogues, and cultural heritage (mining museums, local heritage ceremonies)” (EC 2021: 27; see also Dunlap 2021b).

These ongoing developments make comparative enquiry into the multifaceted connections between ‘green extractivism’ and violent conflict timely. This panel looks for fresh empirical and theoretical insights into the ways ‘decarbonization’, ‘green growth’ and climate change mitigation policies shape and are shaped by dynamics of conflict and violence. We invite contributions looking at, for instance:
-The collaboration and confluence of conventional and green extraction companies.
-The strategies and behaviour of transnational ‘green extractivist’ corporations and their governmental allies in zones of armed conflict.
-The intersections between armed conflict and resistance against ‘green extractivist’ projects, including transformations in armed resistance movements.
-The causes and effects of geopolitical tensions sparked by competition around access to key minerals and locations for green or low-carbon energy production.
-The role of epistemology, accounting and certification schemes to justify ‘greenness’ and land control within conflicts.
-Articulations of “sustainable violence” (Dunlap, 2017), where the police, military, mercenaries or the prison-industrial complex are employing ‘green’ or so-called ‘renewable’ technologies to strengthen or expand coercive force.
-Supply-chains/webs related to ‘green’ mining or technologies and how they shape and are influenced by conflict.

Please submit a title page by January 23th, 2022 including
 Provisional presentation title
 Affiliation (optional)
 Email
 Abstract (150-200 words)
 5-6 Keywords

Send to and
Notification of Proposal Acceptance: January 26th, 2022


Allan, J., Lemaadel, M., & Lakhal, H. 2021. Oppressive energopolitics in Africa’s last colony: Energy, subjectivities, and resistance. Antipode,

Berling, T.V., Schouten, P. & Surwillo, I. 2021. Renewable energy will lead to major shifts in geopolitical power, DIIS Policy Brief, October 2021

BHRRC. 2021. Renewable Energy & Human Rights Benchmark 2021. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Available at:

Dunlap, A. 2017. Wind energy: Toward a “sustainable violence” in Oaxaca, Mexico. NACLA 49(4): 483-488.

Dunlap, A. 2021a Does renewable energy exist? Fossil fuel+ technologies and the search for renewable energy. In: Batel, S. and Rudolph, D.P. (eds) A critical approach to the social acceptance of renewable energy infrastructures – Going beyond green growth and sustainability. London: Palgrave, pp. 83-102.

Dunlap, A. 2021b Employing EU Public Money to Persuade Environmental Sacrifice: This Must End. Available at:

EC. 2021. 3rd Raw Materials Scoreboard: European innovation partnership on raw materials. European Commission, Available at:

Fairhead, J., Leach, M., & Scoones, I. 2012. Green grabbing: A new appropriation of nature?. Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(2), 237-261.

Rasmussen, M. B., & Lund, C. 2018. Reconfiguring frontier spaces: The territorialization of resource control. World Development, 101, 388-399.

Verweijen, J. & Dunlap, A. 2021. The evolving techniques of social engineering, land control and managing protest against extractivism: Introducing political (re)actions ‘from above’. Political Geography,



Synne Movik, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Session overview:

Historically, human settlements have had an affinity for the shore, for broad horizons and the expanse of the oceans offering opportunities for travel and trade. Currently, coastal areas are the most densely populated and economically active places on Earth (Sachs, Mellinger et al. 2001, McGranahan, Balk et al. 2007), and they support important and productive ecosystems (Nicholls 2011). But while congregating on the coasts confers benefits, there are increasing threats from a multitude of stressors.  Coastal regions and cities are highly vulnerable to climate change effects such as sea-level rise and frequent extreme events like cyclones and storm surges, and changes in water temperatures near the shore.  Furthermore coastal zones are under mounting  pressure from infrastructure developments, as well as ‘blue economy’ enterprises that disproportionately affect communities dependent on fishing and healthy coastal ecologies to sustain their livelihoods. Examples are the Koli fishers in Mumbai, who are facing pressures from multiple large-scale infrastructure projects that threaten their access to coastal spaces and fishing grounds, and the sea Sami of northern Norway, where aquaculture expansion – at the heart of the Government’s ‘blue economy’ strategy – is constraining their traditional livelihood and fishing practices along the coast.

 These examples bring to light the ‘deterritorialised’ geographies of such struggles (Mahler 2017), and how the dichotomising effect of concepts such as North and South are not helpful in exploring the pressures and mobilisations and organising around access to coastal spaces. In this panel, we seek to draw on scholarship on socio-spatial relations, and in particular the concept of spatial justice, to explore the consequences of coastal transformation and contested coastal spaces in the South and North. Spatial justice is intimately connected with the idea of ‘the right to the city’ that emerged out of work on the production of space in urban contexts.  Drawing on Lefebvre’s thoughts on the production of space (Lefebvre 1991) a body of literature has emerged on the right to the city and spatial justice  (Harvey 2012, Soja 2013, Purcell 2014) and associated work that argues for  ‘rights in places’ (Pierce, Williams et al. 2016). The latter advocates an approach that involves the mapping out of the diverse struggles and negotiations over rights in particular places. We think this is a useful point of departure to exploring spatial justice in coastal spaces, interrogating how coastal places—public, private, sacred and others—and rights of particular users and uses are being transformed, co-produced and negotiated at multiple scales. We thus call for papers that empirically and theoretically explore the negotiations and strategies and struggles over claims to coastal space are unfolding in diverse contexts in the South and North.

Key words:  Coastal zones, transformations, local communities, spatial justice. 

Call for papers:

Contributions that engage with the core concepts of coastal transformations and spatial justice, either empirically or theoretically, are very welcome. Of particular interest are case studies that address spatial justice in coastal spaces comparatively. Please send an abstract (max 250 words) to before 20th January 2022.


Harvey, D. (2012). The right to the city. The Urban Sociology Reader, Routledge: 443-446.

Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Oxford, Blackwell.

Mahler, A. G. (2017). “Global south.” Global South Studies: 1-4.

McGranahan, G., D. Balk and B. Anderson (2007). “The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones.” Environment and urbanization 19(1): 17-37.

Nicholls, R. J. (2011). “Planning for the impacts of sea level rise.” Oceanography 24(2): 144-157.

Pierce, J., O. R. Williams and D. G. Martin (2016). “Rights in places: An analytical extension of the right to the city.” Geoforum 70: 79-88.

Purcell, M. (2014). “Possible worlds: Henri Lefebvre and the right to the city.” Journal of urban affairs 36(1): 141-154.

Sachs, J. D., A. D. Mellinger and J. L. Gallup (2001). “The geography of poverty and wealth.” Scientific American 284(3): 70-75.

Soja, E. W. (2013). Seeking spatial justice, U of Minnesota Press.