Recyclers against waste incineration in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil.
‘Waste to energy’ Expanding the Geography of Despair and Resistance: Community-based Research with Recyclers in São Paulo Metropolitan Regio
Jutta Gutberlet, PhD
Department of Geography,
University of Victoria
Monday Nov. 14, 2011
Free and open to the public
Outline: Waste is a resource! Through recycling different components are re-inserted in the material cycles. Direct and indirect jobs are created with this activity, particularly in the global South, where a significant part of the population depends on resource recovery. This presentation will introduce the Participatory Sustainable Waste Management (PSWM) project, a University partnership project between UVic and the University of São Paulo, in Brazil. This community-based and action oriented research project takes an integrated approach on capacity building and policy design for more inclusive solid waste management. I will elucidate some of the results achieved over the past 6 years and will highlight and discuss current challenges to selective waste collection and classification with recycling cooperatives in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. Recently large corporations and consulting firms, mainly based in North America and Europe, are promoting energy recovery as a sustainable form of waste management. Waste to energy eliminates the priority of reinserting recyclables in production processes, generates toxic air contaminants and ashes and ultimately perpetuates natural resource extraction. The incineration of recyclable materials collapses the resources basis of the informal and organized recycling sector, threatening the livelihoods of workers. For the informal sector solid waste collection, separation and transformation provides work, income and possibilities for human development. The spreading of waste to energy plants has created a new geography of despair among the most excluded citizens and has initiated a movement of resistance against this powerful industry. I draw on the reconceptualised understanding of waste as a resource and situate the activity of informal and organized recycling within the social economy. Analysis reveals the present geography of despair and social/environmental injustices as a result of current economic and political developments in the solid waste sector. Finally, I discuss the resistance and social mobilization arising from organized recycling groups, using recent events documented in Brazil.
It’s wonderful that our nascent Ph.D program is so vibrant with a variety of students working across the disciplines and themes. Monday’s colloquium will showcase this even further, as we welcome two young scholars to the podium.
Sarah Fletcher will speak to the topic of, Where is home? Using theatre to facilitate the empowerment of immigrant youth to uncover challenges and opportunities that influence wellness, and Angelique Lalonde will address Embodying Ethical Consumerism through Yoga: a “Sustainable Living Project” in Costa Rica.
You can read the abstracts for these two talks by clicking on continue. The Colloquium is held at 11.30 on Monday November 7th in MacLaurin D103. It is free and open to the public.
von Petzinger. Source: TED
From the Walls to the Grave: Linking the Parietal and Portable Geometric Signs found in European Upper Paleolithic Art
Genevieve von petzinger
Monday Oct. 24, 2011
Free and open to the public
Outline: The geometric signs found in French rock art during the Upper Paleolithic (10,000 – 35,000 BP) show definite spatial and temporal patterning between the sites. This continuity suggests the geometric signs were being used with purpose, and that they were meaningful to those who created them. If they did have significance, and were being used to convey information, then we could be looking at a very early form of graphic communication. This implies that there was a system, but how can we identify the manner in which the creators of these markings organized and utilized them? This talk will examine some of the ways in which we can approach function and meaning, including the potential for comparison with portable art objects from the same time period.
Bio: Genevieve von Petzinger is a Ph.D Student in the Department of Anthropology, where she also recieved an M.A. degree. Her thesis received wide attention in the media for its novel approach to geometric or non-figurative European cave art and forms the basis of publications in preparation. She recently became a TED fellow, and her biographical interview for that or is rich with information about her ideas. She also has a page at the Bradshaw Foundation.