Gold in Crisis – New environmental threats and global crime in South America
South America is a region of prolonged social and ecological crisis. This project takes gold mining as a productive lens to examine these social dynamics for the cases of Colombia and Venezuela. Access to gold-rich territories is highly contested, mining causes pollution and deforestation, and from the moment of extraction, gold is a substance that has direct exchange value in global business networks that operate between formal and informal institutions. As such, the project explores the question: How do local dynamics of gold mining in Colombia and Venezuela drive contemporary global forms of social and environmental crisis? To highlight the relationship between local land uses and global forms of crisis and crime, we rely on a hybrid methodological approach that involves ethnographic fieldwork, qualitative criminological research, and spatial analysis and geospatial modelling of deforestation. By taking a multi-disciplinary approach, our project empirically connects local land uses, resource economies and alternative governance regimes to new forms of global exploitation of people and the environment.
- Dr. Jesse Jonkman, Social & Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences
- Dr. Žiga Malek, Environmental Geography, Faculty of Science
- Dr. Clarissa Meerts, Criminology, Faculty of Law
- Dr. Eva van Roekel, Social & Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences
FireScapes – Towards an interdisciplinary understanding of wildfire risk mitigation in the Dutch landscape
Over the last year, the number of wildfires has increased dramatically in the Netherlands and they are expected to increase further. This increase can be attributed to both climate change and changes in the use and management of the land. Researchers and fire practitioners plead for measures to prevent the spreading of fires over large natural areas, for example by developing vegetation buffers of low flammability between highly flammable areas. There are some important knowledge gaps that hamper the design of appropriate and effective prevention methods of wildfires in the Netherlands. While some measures exist, they may not be suitable for the Dutch landscape. Secondly, the current increase as well as prevention and mitigation of wildfires are the result of complex human-nature interactions. The design of appropriate measures therefore requires transdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge production. In this project, we want to map this knowledge gap on the relationship between wildfires, wildfire risk reduction and mitigation measures and the ecological, cultural and political values of the Dutch landscape.
- Dr. Linde Egberts, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity, Faculty of Humanities, CLUE+Research Institute
- Dr. Evelien de Hoop, Athena Institute,Faculty of Science
- Dr. Marleen de Ruiter, Water & Climate Risk, Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science
- Dr. Sander Veraverbeke, Earth & Climate, Faculty of Science
Festivals as innovative spaces for sustainability transition
The urgent need for transition towards a sustainable society calls for novel initiatives to engage and mobilize people. In this research, it is claimed contemporary festivals can provide spaces for sustainability transition. Festivals are purposeful (inter)organizational productions that form temporary, ‘liminal’ spaces, set apart from ordinary, everyday settings, in which co-creation and innovation arise, having transformative potential. The research further taps into the notion that festivals are microcosms that can serve as prototypes for wider society. Namely, innovations can be tested in a festival space like a living lab representative of society, after which they can be applied or upscaled beyond the space if proven fruitful. Examples include the (re)design and (re)construction of energy, water, food and waste in a circular and sustainable way, and the formulation of alternative cultural norms, values and practices to raise awareness and shape behavior towards sustainable communities. To explore this, the aim of this qualitative research is to investigate how festivals can be conceptualized and organized as transformational spaces, and the theoretical and societal implications thereof. The expected contribution of this research is the implication that festivals represent new organizational forms and innovative spaces to facilitate sustainability transition.
- Dr. Leonore van den Ende, Organization Science, Faculty of Social Science
- Prof. Alfons van Marrewijk, Organization Science, Faculty of Social Science
- Dr. Ernst Graamans, Management and Organization, School of Business and Economics
- Dr. Edina Doci, Management and Organization, School of Business and Economics
Firm-survey evidence on environmental policy and barriers to energy efficiency investments
Hazards of climate change require us to make more efficient use of energy, as fossil energy usage often goes hand in hand with damages to the environment and climate. Firms play an important role in reducing fossil energy usage and increasing sustainable energy use. Energy is an important input to any firm’s production process. Since energy is costly, economic theory predicts that profit-maximizing firms make investments that profitably reduce energy usage. Nevertheless, many studies have identified a gap between seemingly optimal energy-efficiency investments and actual investments. This gap has been dubbed the ‘Energy Efficiency Paradox’. With the ASI seed money funds, we will survey Dutch firms to investigate the reasons for the existence of the energy-efficiency gap. Our survey will focus on issues related to environmental policy, labor market bottlenecks, capital market imperfections, misperceptions held by firms, and uncertainty over future technologies and policies. Results will contribute to current policy discussions in the Netherlands and allow for policy recommendations to increase energy-efficiency investments among Dutch firms.
- MSc Leon Bremer, Spatial Economics, School of Business and Economics
- MSc Sacha den Nijs, Spatial Economics, School of Business and Economics
- Dr. Gerard van der Meijden, Spatial Economics, School of Business and Economics
- Dr. Mark Koetse, Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science
- Prof.dr.ir. Bart Bossink, Science, Business & Innovation, Faculty of Science
Interrelating in the Anthropocene
Operating at the interface of the humanities: theology/religious studies, the social sciences, and biology this project investigates the potential of cultural and religious imaginations, practices, and conceptualizations for reimagining human-nature relationships in the context of the Anthropocene. In a series of focused workshops (on human-plant relations; human-animal relations, and food practices), an interdisciplinary group of experts will come together to discuss how, why, or even if cultural and religious conceptualizations and practices matter for human-nature relationships in the Anthropocene.
- Prof. Dr. Peter-Ben Smit, Text & Traditions, Faculty of Religion and Theology
- Dr. Kristine Steenbergh, English Literature, Faculty of Humanities
- Prof. Dr. Jessica Vance Roitman, Text & Traditions, Faculty of Religion and Theology
- Dr. Frans Kamsteeg, Organization Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences
- Dr. Harry Wels, Organization Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences