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Individual Paper: Resistance is Fertile: From Blockadia to Nowtopia

Fossil fuel conflicts as confluences for articulating and prefiguring more socio-ecologically resilient communities.

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Despite decades of mounting scientific evidence for an impending climate crisis and a plethora
of viable ways to transition towards a more sustainable society, the global social metabolism
remains dependant on fossil fuel extractivism which is driving climate change. Yet grassroots
activists have already begun to demonstrate and experiment with the modes of living they
desire to see in wider society. On every continent broad-based alliances are actively resisting
the extraction, transportation and combustion of fossil fuels on the basis of the social,
environmental and climatic injustice imposed. Because fossil fuel projects are initiated by
political economies which can be described as capitalist/patriarchal/colonial/racist, fossil fuel
conflicts are a political opportunity and real space for articulating diverse agendas and values,
epistemologies and ontologies regarding the environment and society, as well as visions of
system change. In this way these conflicts can become the confluence of grassroots social
movements, as well as of activist and academic co-produced theories.
The paper draws from cases of ‘Blockadia’ - the interwoven spaces of resistance blocking the
fossil fuel chain - as featured on the Atlas of Environmental justice (EJAtlas, Assessing the mobilising groups, mobilising forms and
alternative proposals, examples of intersectional alliances which use prefigurative resistance as
part of their repertoire of action are examined. There are instances of sustainable solutions
such as renewable energy projects used as a way to expose the conflict over fossil fuels, and
moreover there are cases demonstrating the ways in which theoretical and political discourses
such as decolonial theory and queer- /eco- feminisms are integrated not only into the framing
of the conflict and the promotion of alternatives, but also into the culture and structure of the
movement. This can also lead to antagonisms and critiques within the movement, which can
help to progress theory and practice. Where communities of resistance have emerged, there
are living examples of what more socio-ecologically resilient and just societies could look like,
implicitly or explicitly realising academic and popular concepts such as nowtopias, pluriversal
transmodernities, Degrowth, or Buen Vivir.


Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 11:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF205
Track: The Pluriverse: Articulating alternatives to development



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