Resource politics: living in the Anthropocene

By Ian Scoones, Director of the ESRC STEPS Centre

This week we are hosting a major conference at the STEPS Centre at Sussex on resource politics. There are panels looking at everything from mining to wildlife to carbon to water, with big themes cross-cutting on: Scarcity, politics and securitization; Resource grabbing; Governance, elites, citizenship and democracy; Financialisation and markets; Growth, waste and consumption and Gender, race, class and sustainability

Why is this important? As resources become more contested and incorporated as part of a globalised economy, politics take on a new form. We have seen this in the land, water and green grabbing debates, which provide the backdrop to the conference. The resource grabbing debates have each raised important issues around who gains from what resources, and how resources are constructed, regulated and shared, as we discuss in our ‘narratives of scarcity’ paper that will be presented at the conference.

Also at the conference, we will be debating the much talked about concept of the Anthropecene, and the notion of ‘planetary boundaries’, with Johan Rockstrom and Melissa Leach taking the stage to present their perspectives. These ideas have put the politics of resources at the centre of the debate, and the controversy generated has not been seen since the discussions around the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report.

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Myint Zaw to speak at Resource Politics 2015

myint_zawMyint Zaw, winner of one of this year’s ‘Green Nobels’, the Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia, will speak at Resource Politics 2015.

Journalist and social activist Zaw launched a national movement that successfully stopped construction of the hydroelectric Myitsone Dam on Myanmar’s treasured Irrawaddy River, despite heavy government scrutiny and restricted use of tools like email or social media. Watch a video about his work (on YouTube).

Zaw (Crawford School of Public Policy) will be talking about the key challenges for policy and practice in the areas of resource politics and social justice alongside Jenny Franco (Transnational Institute), Nick Hildyard (The Corner House), Ravi Agarwal (Toxics Link) in a plenary session chaired by Suman Sahai (Gene Campaign, India). Continue reading