The effects of climate change are especially problematic for developing countries, since the global capitalist economic growth is precisely based upon the depletion of natural resources. Developing countries thus face the paradox of expanding their national economies, while at the same time finding global sustainable solutions.
Social movements worldwide have expressed their disappointment at governments for their failure as decision makers of strategies against climate change. Environmentally-oriented political parties mobilize only small sections of society and just a limited number of internationally binding institutional reforms have been implemented for the protection of natural resources and biodiversity. After RIO +20 the political process is still characterized by a lack of cooperative and effective responses.
Through the discussion of critical theoretical approaches, empirical cases, and grassroots proposals, this conference aims to analyse the challenges posed by civil society groups for the effective participation of peoples in designing sustainable development solutions. Civic mobilization takes a variety of different forms. It includes the actions carried out by citizens, political parties, governments, indigenous communities, but also international social movements and irregular migrants.
We invite theoretical and comparative papers problematizing the relationship between sustainability and empowerment. We are looking for presentations from graduate students and PhD candidates currently working on this subject, or in a subject, which may be related to it in a broader sense, such as an analysis on a case study showing the relationship between climate change and empowerment. We are interested in papers focused on actual experiences of civil societies that, in their process of coping with the consequences of environmental degradation, have managed to shape alternative sustainable development strategies. Papers dealing with postcolonial, feminists and indigenous critiques and alternatives are particular welcome. There are neither methodological nor disciplinary boundaries. Papers from different disciplines can be submitted.
The organizing committee would like to welcome papers addressing the following topics: (i) Does climate change and the quest for sustainable development bring along civil disobedience? (ii) How do social groups and movements have been shaped by climate change and the need for sustainability? Have they been empowered or rather weakened by environmental degradation? (iii) What is the political economy of the environmental social movements’ agendas? How feasible are these alternative agendas to be translated into the policy process? (v) Which kind of alternative mechanisms of political and scientific global cooperation may counteract the effects of climate change from a sustainable perspective?
The conference puts an emphasis on the Latin American continent, because Latin America - especially the Andean countries - has become in recent years an avant-gardist region in the formulation of civil responses to sustainability issues, as for example the “water war” in Bolivia or the Ecuadorian Yasuní-Initiative show. There have been also some innovative elements within both the Brazilian Forests’ management policies and Costa Rica’s carbon markets. Nevertheless, experiences on other regions are, based on their creativity, also welcome.