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11 · OCTOBER · 2018

Multi-Media Projects based on the Course 'Development, Environment and Natural Resources'

During the Academic Course 2017-18 and within the framework of the course Development, Environment and Natural Resources, IBEI Associated Professor Esteve Corbera, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB), gave students the assignment of producing either a blog entry or an audiovisual piece that would inform a broad, non-academic audience about the contents of one article (or more) provided in the course syllabus.

Below you can find some of the most innovative work submitted by the IBEI students Benjamin Jance IV, from the Master's in Public Policy (Mundus MAPP)Cinthia Caetano and Johannes Pfeiffer, both from the Master's in International Development.

Benjamin Jance IV produced the podcast 'Tortoises and temptations in the desert'. Moore and Hackett (2015) examine the conflicts centered around large-scale solar power siting using the Ivanpah solar power plant as a case study. Ivanpah, situated in California, was the center of attention when multiple stakeholder values - from government, to the private sector, NGOs, and individual citizens - confronted each other. Ultimately the narrative is about place-making: which actors can lay claim to Ivanpah, who is marginalized by the plant, who benefits from the plant, and to what extent did the plant - in the end - reflect the values of different stakeholders? Benjamin's piece reviews these stakeholder claims from the viewpoint of a marginalized actor: the Northeastern Mojave desert tortoise, whose habitat was placed under threat from the construction of the plant. In the podcast, he highlights the intentions of actors, how the tortoises were marginalized, how stakeholders jostled for policy positioning, and how the final product of the solar power plant reflected both the power of certain stakeholders, as well as the deficiencies in public engagement processes. He ends the podcast with a call for better, more coordinated communication, as well as the proper involvement of stakeholders in order to facilitate project progress and success while maintaining the sustainability of the surrounding ecosystem.

Based on: Moore, Sharlissa, and Edward J. Hackett. “The Construction of Technology and Place: Concentrating Solar Power Conflicts in the United States.” Energy Research & Social Science 11 (January 1, 2016): 67–78. Link.

Cinthia Caetano produced an episode for a fictional Podcast series called Ecommute, intended to summarize political ecology articles in about 10 minutes, so that lay audiences interested in environmental themes could listen while commuting. This episode talks about seven surprising drivers of global land grab. According to Annalies Zoomers (2010), the current global land grab is causing radical changes in the use and ownership of land. The main process driving the land grab, or ‘foreignisation of space’, as highlighted in the media and the emerging literature is the production of food and biofuel for export in the aftermath of recent food and energy crises. It will be unable to take into account the full range and extent of agrarian and social changes that occur in light of the land grab and their strategic implications for poor people's livelihoods. An important starting point is to identify the broad processes driving the current land rush, and trace their structural and institutional origins. 

Based on: Zoomers, A. (2010) Globalisation and the foreignisation of space: seven processes driving the current global land grab. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 37(2): 429-447. Link

Johannes Pfeiffer produced a radio piece about the biodiversity offsetting (BO). BO has increasingly been adopted as a conservation tool by many countries while it has received several critics among which its possible links to several forms of Nature economicization. Anne-Charlotte Vaissière, Harold Levrel and Pierre Scemama (2017), believe that some of these concerns rest on misunderstandings generated by the difficulty to interpret economic principles from ecological viewpoints and the lack of a common language between conservationists and economists. Because this issue is vivid and the concepts not yet stabilized, key aspects of the potential advances and limits of BO to conservation practice must be clarified. 

Based on: Anne-Charlotte Vaissière, Harold Levrel, Pierre Scemama (2017). Biodiversity offsetting: Clearing up misunderstandings between conservation and economics to take further action. Biological Conservation, Volume 206, Pages 258-262. Link.