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Environmental Conflicts in the Global South

References and Links to Papers


Bioprospecção e Biopirataria

Os conceitos de “bioprospecção” e “biopirataria” cobrem a mesma gama de actividades, mas práticas específicas e avaliações de justiça separam-nos. A bioprospecção sinaliza o lucro económico da mercantilização dos recursos genéticos encontrados na natureza, geralmente através do uso de direitos de propriedade intelectual, e alega contribuir para o bem-estar da humanidade. A biopirataria denuncia a injustiça própria de muitos processos de bioprospecção, apontando que são principalmente as corporações do Norte global que lucram com a comercialização dos recursos genéticos que muitas vezes as comunidades rurais do Sul global ajudaram a desenvolver durante milénios e cujos usos já eram conhecidos para eles. Esta entrada apresenta as definições básicas de 'bioprospecção' e 'biopirataria', a tensão entre elas e os diversos mecanismos de biopirataria.


Green Criminological Dialogues: Voices from Africa

This is the third special issue of the IJCJSD to seek to engage in global Green Criminological Dialogues, previously presenting ‘Voices from the Americas and Europe’ (Goyes et al, 2019) and then ‘Voices from Asia’ (Goyes et al, 2022). The focus for this collection is Africa, a continent of enormous diversity—in environments, non-human species, and resources—that has fuelled the dynamics of exploitation, crimes, and harm for centuries.

In this issue, as in its predecessors, we aim to continue to contribute to the project of criminological knowledge democratisation and respond to calls for international criminology to reflect upon and address cultural bias (Goyes and South 2017; van Swaaningen 2021; Carrington et al. 2019) by increasing the visibility of authors who, due to their cultural, linguistic or national belonging, face barriers to publishing their work in international journals.


First, they took the land. Decolonizing nature to decolonize society

Green criminologists identify, analyze, and denounce abuses against humans, non-humans, and ecosystems. Embracing a harm perspective, the legal definition of whether these abuses are crimes is less important than the detrimental impact these human actions and dynamics have on the environment. Some scholars working from a place of privilege (in terms of class, gender, race, and nationality) consider that not using the law as the reference for what falls within the scope of criminology is an affront to science. Yet, settler legal systems impose systems of social control that sustain harmful colonial orders and human disregard for nature. I argue that green criminology’s willingness to challenge the pre-eminence of illegality gives it decolonizing potential. Green criminology plays a central role in decolonizing because colonialism began with – and still runs through – human interactions with nature.


Latin American Green Criminology

This article traces the trajectory of green criminology in Latin America from the 1960s’ liberation criminology to the current Southern green criminology. The purpose of this genealogical account is twofold: first, it uncovers the evolution of the Latin American criminological engagement with green crime, and second, politically it reclaims the epistemological power of the South by highlighting how critical thinkers on the continent anticipated ideas now in vogue in English-speaking criminology. The memory exercise that is this article builds on the premise that true decolonising projects must recall and build on the histories of endogenous thought of (neo)colonial locations. The article is based on an archaeological exploration of the engagements of Latin American intellectuals with the study of environmental crime and harm, combined with the author’s field observations.


Green Criminological Dialogues: Voices from Asia

Many different languages and disciplines are involved in Asian research on environmental conflicts. Linguistic diversity combined with the varied economic, legal, political and social contexts of the Asian continent gives birth to myriad debates about environmental crime and harm. Borders between disciplines are blurred and take different shapes depending on the linguistic and academic contexts. As a result of this situation, the many resources, knowledge and debates developed in various ‘bubbles’ hardly cross disciplinary and linguistic borders. With this special issue, we hope to contribute to unlocking doors and building bridges between the myriad Asian knowledge traditions about environmental conflict, crime and harm. Also, we aim to open the door for readers (be they scholars or practitioners) to engage with the debates and collaborate in addressing instances of environmental degradation in Asia. Finally, we want to remove the obstacles that separate the multi-disciplinary Asian scholars working on environmental crime from the green criminologists around the world.


Environmental Crime in Latin America and Southern Green Criminology

Latin America has been the site of extensive raw material extraction ever since its colonization by Europeans in the late 15th century. Throughout this period, large-scale resource extraction and associated practices—agroindustry, deforestation, disposal of waste and dangerous substances, industrial fishing, mining, and wildlife trafficking—have been the cause of widespread environmental crime and social conflict in Latin America, harming ecosystems and human and nonhuman species. Environmental degradation has simultaneously triggered further crimes such as the establishment of illegal markets and the creation of monopolies that control natural resources. Furthermore, environmental victimization has heightened social conflict in Latin American societies.

Southern green criminology is concerned with the sociocriminological study of environmental crime in the Global South, while being attentive to (a) the legacy of colonization and North–South and core–periphery divides in the production of environmental crime, (b) the epistemological contributions of the marginalized, impoverished, and oppressed, and (c) the particularities of the contexts of the Global South. Southern green criminologists are currently producing innovative academic knowledge about the causes of, consequences of, and potential responses to environmental crime in Latin America.


'Little Development, Few Economic Opportunities and Many Difficulties': Climate Change From a Local Perspective

A southern criminology perspective on the study of climate change is overdue, given that climate change is a global phenomenon with localised effects. This article is a southern empirical criminological study of the colonial causes of, justice consequences of and southern responses to climate change. The study is based on four years of research in the Colombian Río Negro basin, undertaken by a multidisciplinary team of which I was part. My main argument is that the region contributes to climate change and heightening local risks primarily because of Western-imposed cultural ideas and production practices, and market demands. The article also discusses the idea of returning to southern traditional practices to mitigate and adapt to climate change.


Between ‘Conservation’ and ‘Development’: The Construction of ‘Protected Nature’ and the Environmental Disenfranchisement of Indigenous Communities

Conservation and development discourses are the two main frameworks in which global debates on how to relate to nature occur. These discourses are considered as opposed; while conservation discourses argue for the maintenance of nature in its pristine state, development discourses seek to justify re-engineering spaces to give place to cities, monocultures and roads. However, both discourses have one practical consequence in common: the environmental disfranchisement of Indigenous communities. This article uses the case of the Ecuadorian Yasuní Park to show how the implementation of both conservation and development discourses ultimately disempower Indigenous communities. We use media reports and governmental statements to document the Yasuní case. A critical analysis of the dynamics behind this and other cases allows us to expose the misleading messages, the ironic consequences and the false motives involved in some conservation projects.


Entre 'conservación' y 'desarrollo'. La construcción de la 'naturaleza protegida' y la privación de los derechos sobre el ambiente a las comunidades indígenas

Las narrativas de ‘conservación’ y ‘desarrollo’ son los dos principales discursos que enmarcan los debates globales sobre cómo el ser humano debe relacionarse con la naturaleza. Estas narrativas son consideradas como discursivamente opuestas: mientras las narrativas de conservación buscan mantener a la naturaleza en su estado original; las narrativas de desarrollo proponen rediseñar los espacios para dar lugar a ciudades, monocultivos y carreteras. Sin embargo, ambas narrativas tienen una consecuencia práctica en común: el desempoderamiento ambiental de las comunidades indígenas. Este artículo usa el caso del parque Yasuní, en Ecuador, para mostrar cómo la implementación de narrativas tanto de desarrollo como de conservación resultan en el desempoderamiento de las comunidades indígenas. Para documentar el caso usamos entrevistas, reportajes de medios y comunicados gubernamentales. Un análisis crítico de las dinámicas detrás del caso Yasuní nos permite mostrar los mensajes engañosos, las irónicas consecuencias y los falsos motivos detrás de algunos proyectos de conservación.


Monopolising seeds, monopolising society: A guide to contemporary criminological research on biopiracy

This chapter distinguishes between ‘biopiracy’ and ‘bioprospecting’, before identifying characteristics, elements and features of biopiracy (e.g., appropriation, exploitation and injustice), and then delineating the harms produced by biopiracy (e.g., distributive, ecological, sociological, symbolic, epistemological). From here, the chapter discusses the ‘actors’ involved in biopiracy (e.g., ‘users’, ‘suppliers’) and the ‘target market’ or ‘market designation’ for the different ‘source materials’—the basic resource or raw material used. The chapter concludes with some future challenges for green criminologists interested in researching further the processes and impacts of biopiracy. An overarching theme of the chapter is that countries in the Global South have been paying a huge ecological and human price for policies and practices developed and driven by affluent nations in the Global North.


Green Criminology as Decolonial Tool: A Stereoscope of Environmental Harm

While green criminology has grown in its scope and orientation, the field is still limited, being primarily practiced by Northern, and with publications written almost exclusively in English. In this chapter, I argue that because of its ability to study instances of environmental degradation, green criminology could be used as decolonial tool by identifying, exposing and confronting cases of colonial environmental discrimination, marginalization and exploitation. Using the example of Colombia, I argue that one way green criminology could aid the decolonial project of Southern criminology is by being a ‘stereoscopic tool’. This approach, while allowing for the recognition of colonial dynamics, also facilitates combining Western and Southern knowledge, ideally resulting in deeper analyses of both environmentally harmful practices and the potential and actual responses to them.



The term 'biopiracy' is used to describe the distributive, ecological, epistemological, sociological and symbolic problematic outcomes that follow from the appropriation, monopolisation and patenting of biological and genetic resources by corporations.


Towards Global Green Criminological Dialogues: Voices from the Americas and Europe

In the preface to his book Epistemologies of the South (2016: viii), de Sousa Santos writes that ‘three basic ideas’ have guided the writing of the book: first, a recognition that ‘the understanding of the world by far exceeds the Western understanding of the world’; second, the proposition that ‘there is no global social justice’—and we would add ‘global environmental justice’—‘without global cognitive justice’; and third, the argument that ‘emancipatory transformations in the world may follow grammars and scripts other than those developed by Western-centric critical theory’. It should go without saying that we agree—and here (and elsewhere, Goyes et al. 2017; Mol et al. 2017), in the spirit of these ‘three basic ideas’, we attempt to open dialogues, broaden our use of sources of understanding, pursue cognitive justice alongside social justice and eco-justice, and present the powerful arguments and visions of those who may be following non-Western-centric grammars and scripts


Hacia diálogos criminológicos verdes globales: voces de las Américas y de Europa

En el prefacio de su libro Epistemologías del sur (2016: viii), de Sousa Santos escribe que ‘tres ideas básicas’ guiaron la escritura del libro. Primero, un reconocimiento de que ‘la comprensión del mundo supera con creces la comprensión occidental del mundo’. Segundo, la proposición de que ‘no hay justicia social global’ – nosotros agregaríamos que ‘no hay justicia ambiental global’– ‘sin justicia cognitiva global’. Y tercero, el argumento de que ‘las transformaciones emancipatorias en el mundo pueden seguir gramáticas y guiones 1 Agradecemos a Claudia Carvajal-Silva por la traducción de este texto del inglés al español. David Rodríguez Goyes, Ragnhild Sollund, Nigel South 2 Revista Crítica Penal y Poder. 2019, nº 16, marzo (pp. 1-8) OSPDH. Universidad de Barcelona distintos a los desarrollados por la teoría crítica centrada en Occidente’. No hace falta decir que estamos de acuerdo – y aquí (y en otras partes, Goyes, Mol, Brisman, & South, 2017; Mol, Goyes, South, & Brisman, 2017) en el espíritu de estas ‘tres ideas básicas’, intentamos abrir diálogos, ampliar nuestro uso de las fuentes de comprensión del mundo, buscar la justicia cognitiva junto con la justicia ecológica, y presentar los poderosos argumentos y visiones de aquellos que están siguiendo gramáticas y guiones que no se centran en occidente.


‘Tactics Rebounding’ in the Colombian Defence of Seed Freedom

This article investigates the Red de Semillas Libres de Colombia [Colombian Network of Free Seeds] movement, since its inception to date (2013-2016). The study, developed within the framework of green criminology and with a focus on environmental justice, draws on ethnographic observations of Red de Semillas and semi-structured interviews with group members. I explore processes of repertoire appropriation developed by social movements. The main argument advanced is that the Red de Semillas experienced a case of ‘tactics rebound’, in which tactics deployed at the global level shaped local tactics, bringing a set of problematic consequences. The article starts by summarising key explorations of repertoires of contention and connecting them with framing theory propositions. My interest is to locate processes of tactic appropriation in the context of collective action frames. I situate this theory in a study of the organisation and the tactics it used to elucidate how the concept of ‘collective action frame hierarchies’ can be used to explain instances of ‘tactics rebounding’.


Introduction: The Theft of Nature and the Poisoning of the Land in Latin America

Over the last 25 years, Green Criminology has developed into a fertile area of study that now attracts scholars from around the world with a wide range of research interests and theoretical orientations. It spans the micro to the macro–from work on individual-level environmental harms to business/corporate crimes to state transgressions–and includes research conducted from both mainstream and critical theoretical perspectives, as well as arising from interdisciplinary efforts. Nonetheless—and in line with the proposal for a Southern Criminology put forward by Carrington and colleagues (2016)—it is still the case that much work needs to be done to ensure that the environmental crimes and harms affecting the lands and peoples of the Global South are brought to the forefront of a truly transnational Green Criminology. This volume makes a contribution to this process as the first text to focus specifically on examples from Latin America.


The Injustices of Policing, Law and Multinational Monopolization in the Privatization of Natural Diversity: Cases from Colombia and Latin America

This chapter is concerned with mechanisms of policing and law
that support and enforce the privatization of natural diversity in Latin
America in order to commercialize and gain profit from it. Public police
and military forces directed for private interests, alongside the growth
of a private security sector, are central to supporting the process of
monopolization of land and resources by multinational companies.
The chapter describes historical and contemporary examples of the
employment and use of private and state forces for private purposes.
It then provides case study material from Colombia showing how private
force and state law have been used to control a fundamental practice in
the everyday lives of those dependent on the land—the use of seeds.


Una introducción a la criminología verde. Raíces, teoría, métodos y temas de estudio

Introducción a la criminología verde: raíces, teoría, métodos y temas de estudio, conceptos métodos y teorías, criminología verde como eco criminología, el desarrollo de una ciencia social del crimen ecológicamente informada, la rueda de la producción y la criminología verde, teoría e hipótesis para un mayor desarrollo del acercamiento a la desorganización ecológica desde la rueda de la producción dentro de la criminología verde, construcciones verdes de las categorías de la víctima y el daño, criminología verde cultural, hacia una criminología verde con imágenes la foto- elucidación como método para explorar la percepción social del daños ambientales, criminología eco global e investigación transnacional, áreas temáticas de estudios del caso, el cambio climático en la criminología verde una revisión temática, el eco-crimen y el tsunami silencioso del hambre mundial, crimen violencia y devastación ecológica en la selva amazónica desechos como crimen ambiental desarrollos globales y particularidades latinoamericanas, el daño a los animales y la criminología verde cuestiones de derecho y justicia, tráfico y comercio de cuerpos humanos y animales una perspectiva eco feminista, sobre delitos de victimización, enfermedad fracturada percepciones ciudadanas de las consecuencias del desarrollo energéticos sobre su salud física y bienestar psicológico


La necesidad de una política preventiva verde en Colombia

This paper argues that if what is sought through the drafting and promulgation of a preventive public policy in Colombia, environmental considerations should be a main component of it. The chapter is composed by three main parts. In the first part a definition of public policy is elaborated based on the ideas offered by the discipline of public policy analysis. In the same section, the dynamics, actors and components of the drafting process are described. Criminal policy is in there portrayed as a species among the public policy genera, and a strong link between the criminological discipline and the criminal policy is suggested. The first ends by stating that the criminological discipline is by nature political and therefore has an impact in the drafting of public policies. The second section of the chapter presents the Green Criminology (GC) framework; with this aim a historical account, its main approaches, justifications, research interests and criticisms to which it has been subject, are presented. The third part of the chapter summarizes the findings of three of the researches that by using the GC have been carried on in Colombia. To conclude the chapter suggests that the socio-environmental conflicts are a main criminogenic phenomena in Colombia; a fact that suggests the need of minding the environmental issues as a way to prevent offenses, crimes and harms.


Land-grabs, Biopiracy and the Inversion of Justice in Colombia

The possibility of commercially exploiting plant, animal and human genetic resources unlocked by biotechnology has given rise to a wide range of cultural, environmental, ethical and economic conflicts. While supporters describe this activity as bioprospecting, critics refer to it as biopiracy. According to this latter view, international legal agreements and treaties have disregarded opposition and legalized the possibility of appropriating genetic resources and their derivative products through the use of patents. The legal framework that permits the appropriation of natural genetic products in Colombia also criminalizes aspects of traditional ways of life and enables a legally approved but socially harmful land-grabbing process. The article describes these processes and impact in terms of the inversion of justice and the erosion of environmental sustainability.


Land uses and conflict in Colombia

This chapter illustrates how conflicts over land access, use and exploitation can result in environmental crime, as different ethnic groups in search of survival end up pursuing innovative – and often harmful – ways of subsisting, such as burning or cutting forests and jungles or illegally trading wildlife. Similarly, it highlights that in Colombia, many of the traditional issues studied by criminology, such as drug issues, gender violence, white-collar crimes, and repressive state systems, are associated with or arise from the conflicts around land.

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