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This research project investigates clashing perspectives within the environmental movement over how to apprehend the shifting terrain — and the corresponding strategic implications — of the current conjuncture. I examine how such tensions are negotiated and managed by analyzing the “Theory of Change” (TOC) models produced by large environmental organizations. Akin to programme logic models… Continue reading Theories of Change
My doctoral dissertation (“Mainstreaming Natural Capital”) investigates the growing influence of “ecosystem services” (ES) ideas in biodiversity conservation. Once an esoteric neologism, ES refers to the conceptual framework and now-burgeoning field of research dedicated to analyzing in measurable, often monetary terms the range of valuable “services” provided by nature to people. Over the past two… Continue reading The Rise of Ecosystem Services
This research project explores the vital roles that radical scholars and critical environmental educators can offer at this pivotal historical moment. Amid ongoing debates surrounding the nomenclatures (and mis-nomenclatures) of “The Anthropocene” — debates which have struggled to name the profound implications and extraordinary dangers attendant to current planetary trajectories — this project specifically explores… Continue reading A Clear and Present Pedagogy
I draw on organizational-ethnographic research conducted inside the UN Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to explore Noel Castree’s (2017) recent suppositions about actualizing a more “deeply radicalized” global change science. More specifically, I consider his admonishment that critically-oriented environmental scholars forgo detached criticism and “get stuck in”—that we earnestly engage these scientific… Continue reading Biologists of the World Unite!
Since 2006, the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) has worked diligently to “mainstream” ecosystem services concepts across a diverse range of governance contexts with the aim of “aligning economic forces with conservation.” I examine NatCap’s epistemic advocacy network through the perspectives and experiences of the practitioners who comprise it. Building on scholarship examining specific sites and… Continue reading The Alchemy of Natural Capital
Mainstream environmentalism and critical scholarship are abuzz with the promise and perils (respectively) of what we call ‘for-profit biodiversity conservation’: attempts to make conserving biodiverse ecosystems profitable to large-scale investment. But to what extent has private capital been harnessed and market forces been enrolled in a thoroughly re-made conservation? In this paper we examine the… Continue reading ‘For-Profit’ Biodiversity Conservation
Over the past decade, the concept of ecosystem services has become a central guiding framework for environmental conservation. Techniques of valuation, payments to protect ecosystem services, and efforts to put a price on nature increasingly characterize environmental policy. We analyze the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP-10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as… Continue reading Live, at the Convention on Biological Diversity!
Established in 2012, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) aspires to be a kind of “IPCC for biodiversity,” tasked with transforming knowledge about global ecosystems into global action to conserve ecosystems. IPBES represents a crystallization of over two decades of transnational consensus-building around “ecosystem services” policy discourse, and it has so far… Continue reading The Battleground of Valuation