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Lettuce Farm

Environmental Change Workshop Series

Welcome to KASA Sustainability's workshop series on climate mitigation, agrarian and environmental change, agriculture and food, and sustainability topics. Held twice a semester, KASA hosts a reading seminar + speaker seminar which encourages researchers and students to learn and share their knowledge.


With support from the Sophia University Graduate Program in Global Studies and as part of the Political Ecology Network, we aim to create a conducive space for researchers and students to exchange ideas, discuss and promote research; expand graduate student access to resources to collaborate, support and publish about climate change mitigation and food research. 




Mapping ecological distribution conflicts, framing environmental justice movements
by Prof. Naw Thiri May Aye

Reading workshop: July 18 (Thursday) 
Speaker workshop: July 19 (Friday)


This is 2-part event.

Guests are welcome to join either only one, or both,  workshops.


Speaker Workshop Abstract: 

Social mobilizations are crucial for addressing environmental concerns and promoting sustainability. The conceptual frameworks, including environmental justice, ecosystem people, ecological resistance, eco-political movements, the environmentalism of the poor, livelihood movements, and politics from below, all focus on marginalized groups fighting against harmful extractive activities. These groups value natural resources and ecosystems over monetary gains. The growing number and connection of environmental protests globally have led to the recognition of grassroots activism as a "global movement for environmental justice." This presentation will explore how these grassroots movements create and promote sustainable alternatives, helping us live within planetary boundaries.

About the Speaker:

Naw Thiri May Aye is an assistant professor at the Sustainable Society Design Center within the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at the University of Tokyo. She is interested in human-nature relations, exploring grassroots resistance, social movements, ecological distribution conflicts, environmental justice, and responses to natural disasters.


Recommendations for Reading Workshop
July 18, 2024 (Thu)

The ECW Reading Workshop is a casual gathering of like-minded graduate students and faculty to discuss the theme. The readings are selected and recommended by the speaker.

If you are attending the reading workshop, participants are encouraged to read the following works in order to gain a richer understanding of the speaker workshop. 

1. Global impacts of extractive and industrial development projects on Indigenous Peoples’ lifeways, lands, and rights — Scheidel, A. et al. (2023)

To what extent do extractive and industrial development pressures affect Indigenous Peoples’ lifeways, lands, and rights globally? We analyze 3081 environmental conflicts over development projects to quantify Indigenous Peoples’ exposure to 11 reported social-environmental impacts jeopardizing the United Nations Declaration on  the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples are affected in at least 34% of all documented environ- mental conflicts worldwide. More than three-fourths of these conflicts are caused by mining, fossil fuels, dam  projects, and the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and livestock (AFFL) sector. Landscape loss (56% of cases), live- lihood loss (52%), and land dispossession (50%) are reported to occur globally most often and are significantly  more frequent in the AFFL sector. The resulting burdens jeopardize Indigenous rights and impede the realization of global environmental justice.

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2. How social movements contribute to staying within the global carbon budget: Evidence from a qualitative meta-analysis of case studies—Thiri, M. A. et al. (2022)

Despite renewed efforts to combat climate change, it remains uncertain how economies will achieve emission reduction by 2050. Among different decarbonisation strategies, knowledge about the potential role and contributions of social movements to curbing carbon emissions has been limited. This study aims to shed light on the diverse contributions of social movements to staying within the global carbon budget, as well as on the specific outcomes and strategies employed in protests against hydrocarbon activities.

For this purpose, we conduct a systematic literature review of 57 empirical cases of social movements contesting fossil fuel projects in 29 countries. Based on an exploratory approach, we identify a series of different movement strategies and a range of qualitative contributions that support staying within the carbon budget. These include raising awareness of risks and strategies, enhancing corporate responsibility, being informed about policy changes, laws and regulations, fostering just energy transitions, energy democracy, divestment, alternative market solutions, and forcing the postponement or cancellation of targeted hydrocarbon activities.
While the institutional means are widely used and seem to support policy change and regulation, these strategies are not used to deliver awareness or postponement outcomes. Similarly, while movements tend to rely on civil disobedience to stop hydrocarbon projects
in the short term, they rely on multiple strategies to cancel them in the longer term. Our study also indicates significant knowledge gaps in the literature, particularly, cases in Africa and Central Asia, women’s participation in these movements, in addition to more quantitative assessments of the actual emissions reduced by social movements.
> Download

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