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To add to the suite of exciting sessions/workshops at this year’s IAG-NZGS conference (both in person and remote access), here are five thought-provoking activities being sponsored by the Nature, Risk and Resilience study group.
For the paper sessions, please email your abstracts to the organisers of the specific session by April 5th.
Lauren Rickards and Phil McManus
Nature, Risk and Resilience study group
'Geographers Declare Action' Workshop
(University of Wollongong)
Geographers Declare Working Group
This workshop will be an interactive session to ‘action’ the ‘Climate and Biodiversity Emergency Declaration by Geographers in Australia’ launched at the plenary session (see separate application), as a response to the recommendations of the Strategic plan for geography, ‘Geography: Shaping Australia's Future’ (NCGS, 2018), and contribute to the conference theme of ‘Remembering, reimagining geography’ through a focus on the ‘big issues’ i.e. climate change, social justice and biodiversity loss. The declaration will be a public statement that acknowledges and foregrounds the interlinked crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and social inequalities. The workshop will be an opportunity to devise a plan of activities and actions to give life to the declaration. What can you/we/the discipline/policy makers do and how can we lead, enable, support, lobby and assist in making desirable change happen? Join us and find out during what is designed to be a collaborative discussion, learning from the experience of those involved in other declarations (such as Planners Declare), and with the end goal a programme of bold actions. All geographers, geography educators, allied professionals, practitioners and members of cognate disciplines are welcome to join us for a rewarding reimagining-focused session.
Rupture and the reimagining of nature-society
Sarah Milne (ANU)
When “things fall apart” (Achebe 1958), we are forced to find a new normal. In this session, we work with the analytic of “rupture” to explore dramatic socio-ecological transformations of our time: the most vivid examples being the global pandemic and Australia’s 2019-2020 bushfires. The concept of rupture emerged from efforts to study processes of dramatic structural and institutional change, wrought by colonisation and conflict (Lund 2016). We aim to extend understandings of rupture into the socio-ecological realm, so as to interpret and navigate contemporary disruptions in nature-society. Critical geographical scholarship of environmental change, dispossession and infrastructural violence in our region has begun to illustrate rupture and its implications. This work shows how our current “crises” have not come out of nowhere: they are products of cumulative, cross-scalar and power-laden processes of extraction and enclosure, among other things. Furthermore, as scholars such as Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing show, socio-ecological disruption can also be generative, with crises giving rise to new forms of agency. We invite papers that illustrate the grounded, synergistic and generative effects of rupture, especially in the Australian and New Zealand contexts. We ask: How is rupture re-wiring nature-society across scales? Can decolonial methods and indigenous perspectives suggest an opportunity to re-imagine nature-society relations, in the wake of crisis and disruption?
Urban soils – troubles, visibilities and opportunities
Cecily Maller, David Kelly, Samantha Grover
This session calls for papers that engage with the ways soils shape and trouble urban geographies and open responsive human-earth relations. Soils are a vital part of and vital to life on land, and significant in responding to socioecological challenges and injustices. Yet soils and their biodiversity are being degraded by human practices; sealed beneath human infrastructure and depleted of their potential, e.g. to support food production and store carbon. Soils are “easily appropriated” (Lay 2016) and their labouring is often taken-for-granted (Krzywoszynska 2020). Social scientists are beginning to explore (more-than-)human-soil relations, their “onto-political effects” (Krzywoszynska & Marchesi 2020) and the potential of soil for caring and regenerative relations (e.g. Puig de la Bellacasa 2017, 2019, Krzywoszynska 2019, Robertson 2020). Despite this interest, soils remain largely absent in critical research on cities. Cities and urban dwelling have both particular and less visible affects on soils and human-soil relations that call for further exploration. We encourage multi- and inter-disciplinary work and invite papers that respond to the following relations/topics: -Urban soils and Indigenous knowledge & practice -Urban soils, climate
Contesting green finance
Gareth Bryan (University of Sydney)
Geographers have long studied the commodification, marketization and financialization of nature and environmental governance. In doing so, they have charted innovation and experimentation, identified new forms and sites of value, and examined emerging expertise and scientific knowledge. But, geographers have also demonstrated that attempts to make nature and finance compatible are spatially and socially uneven, produce environmentally flawed outcomes and include undemocratic and unjust processes. In response to the acknowledged contradictions, failures and limits of the economization of nature, this session invites papers that offer new analyses and critical perspectives on green finance. We particularly encourage submissions that identify and analyse more collective, common, decommodifying, reparative, decolonising, and democratic proposals for financing and governing environments and environmental changes. We invite papers that are analytical, empirical and/or practical and from a plurality of conceptual approaches and geographical sites. The goal of the session is to offer emerging and creative assessments and alternatives to the increasingly privatised and financialised governance of nature, something that will be increasingly necessary in responding to multiple environmental crises.
Research under climate change: between rapid impact and slow scholarship
Lauren Rickards (RMIT)
Blanche Verlie (Uni Syd) and Phil McManus (Uni Syd)
Like all academics, geographers now work in the context of increasingly urgent and high-profile climate change and socioenvironmental disasters. It is clear that immediate action is needed – including research action. At the same time, the contemporary context is characterised by more uncertainties, complexities and risks than ever, including risks to researchers. Even the most well-intentioned and well-crafted interventions – including research ones - can trigger undesired outcomes, whether due to blind spots, swerve balls or others’ (ideological) backlash. Slow, theoretically rich scholarship is often targeted, though primarily for its purported absence of impact.
The upshot is that we need to contribute rapidly, substantially and practically to shared, pressing challenges at the same time as publicly articulating and defending the importance of long-term, careful scholarly work. To do so, we need to keep reimagining what geographical research is and its role in the world. This paper session aims to generate discussion on the twin needs of responsive relevance and scholarly caution in academic work, and what this means for us as geographers, individually and collectively. Possible topics include personal research experiences and challenges, geography’s position within research impact and ‘post-truth’ discussions, and conceptualisations of the research(er)-society relationship within the context of climate change.
And here’s another highly relevant one:
Climate adaptation justice in theory and practice
(The University of Auckland)
While the concept of climate justice generally is used to encompass the belief that those most responsible for rising greenhouse gas emissions have both a duty to take actions to address climate change and to help those most vulnerable to its negative impacts. But how does climate justice link with other types of justice (be it gender, social, environmental, distributive, procedural) and what does this mean in terms of tangible actions? These broad questions are beyond the scope of a single conference session, instead we narrow our focus to exploring the relatively straightforward question: in what ways can the intersectionality thinking help us to evaluate what constitutes sustainable climate adaptation policies and practices? In this session, presenters will explore how different groups of people define and are seeking to enact climate adaptation justice. Presenters will situate their work within diverse theoretical orientations but will share a common basis within critical social science scholarship and intersectionality thinking which challenges simplistic depictions of specific social groups as inherently vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and highlights how justice can be enabled or constrained by adaptation policies and practices. This session will provide new insights into what constitutes adaptation justice and demonstrate how discussions of climate just adaptation can be extended and translated into meaningful and equitable processes and outcomes.
Professor Lauren Rickards
Interim Director, Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform
Co-Director, Climate Change Exchange
Editor, Dialogues in Human Geography
Convenor, Nature, Risk and Resilience Study Group, Institute of Australian Geographers
Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II
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