Sub-theme 9. Conservation, environmental justice and the commons
Convivial Marine Conservation in, for or with a Convivial Blue Economy
Despite increasing interest in the policy framework, the blue economy is seen to hold both promise and risk for communities and marine ecologies. To date, programs for the blue economy have largely emphasised the capitalistic and economic potential over environmental and social factors catalyzing many to demand recognition for blue economic justice along with securing community-based institutions and constitutional participation. Notably, in the struggle to integrate several vertical ocean policy sectors, efforts to establish and advance the blue economy are also entangled with marine conservation practices that affect near-shore capture fisheries and other coastal labour and subsistence practices. Like the blue economy, marine conservation through no-take zones and marine protected areas can be exclusionary and serve as a vehicle for state and private capture. But in the same way that conservation might also be or become more convivial, commons or community owned or oriented is there potential to also conceive of conviviality regarding the blue economy? How can the language and agenda of blue economy be claimed from below? How would conviviality be articulated within blue economy debates? This panel session invites contributions that explore how convivial conservation might operate in marine contexts as well overlaps, potential and possibilities— conceptually and practically— for supporting a convivial or community blue economy agenda. It invites contributions from theoretical or empirical settings and seeks to explore strategies involved in imagining, building and securing conviviality in practice. Recognizing the performative potential for artistic and cultural strategies in these processes the session encourages papers from interdisciplinary contributions and arts practitioners.
1. Topic: “These are not weapons but our tools: the daily struggles of small scale fishers living with marine conservation in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa ”
1Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape, South Africa, 2University of Johannesburg, South Africa
The paper explores the resurgence of fortress conservation practices through the top-down state driven ‘sustainable blue economy’ path for South Africa. Investment tools like ‘blue financing’ through ‘blue bonds’ are some of strategies used by conservation actors to add more ocean and land space to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (IWP), a World Heritage site in KwaZulu Natal. These strategies receive strong further impetus from the international 30X30 Biological Diversity Convention target that aims to have 30% of global land and water formally protected by 2030. We investigate implications of these top-down conservation practices on access to natural resources, and tenure of communities living in and adjacent to IWP. This paper situates the current effects blue bonds initiatives for IWP in the historical, colonial and racially divided conservation practices of the exclusion, forced removals, displacement and deeply entrenched racial inequalities on local, black and indigenous people. Specifically, this pertains to current conservation practices including militarisation and securitisation of public conservation spaces often with the support of blue financing/blue bonds where small-scale fishers experience structural violence when entering Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Their fishing tools are seen as weapons, and this often results in violence and brutality on mainly black male small-scale fishers but also against women. The paper seeks an alternative way of thinking, implementing and financing conservation in South Africa by linking convivial conservation (living landscapes) in blue spaces and calling for the blue justice of small-scale fishers to be central in marine conservation.
2. The (Co)-Production of Convivial Coastal Space.
TBA21-Academy, Lancaster University, UK
In 1974, Henri Lefebvre wrote the Production of Space charting how rational, Euclidian and capitalist spatial relations of abstraction and materialisation re-produce our built environments. The “rural” meanwhile will be subject to increasing interest from state and non-state conservation actors as 30 x 30 goals become national policy. Spatial targets fall within economic development discourses for the green and more recently the blue economy. The paper explores the agencies involved in the production of space within these economised conservation domains. The goal is to foreground opportunities for doing so otherwise for the production of convivial, common and community spatial relations within coastal conservation designations. The contribution presents details for an evolving critical action-research and contemporary artistic programme in northeastern coastal Jamaica in relation to a fish sanctuary and no-take zone along a coast-line shaped by decades of investment on waning visitor economies, intensifying pressures for development and emerging discourses for the blue economy. The premise for the festival is to co-produce alternative versions of space ‘from below’, stimulate groundworks for the sensing of existing and threatened commons, and illuminate already existing patterns of “living with” biodiversity. It will explore the interpretation of convivial conservation principles within a coastal environment and creative methods, artistic research and commissioning, and performance in this process. It asks what is the potential to enact some of these ideas affirmatively together, in practice, in order to create new spaces where critical conversations about conservation space and its connection to economy can unfold?
3. Planetary sensing, navigations below the surface, a fieldresearch and artistic network project
NTNU, KHIO, GNHRE, Norway
In the wretched and wake of current dynamics, we are proposing an artistic practice incorporating social physicality, technology, and science as well as poetry in navigating to corroborate the experience of others, but not repeat the violence of integration in the neoliberal and neocolonial way our fascist climate situation is propelling.
Based on sensing in the double or multiple way:
To form a sensing organ under the surface navigating physical sociality with beings and beings to come as well as ancestoral forms of life: a situated ontology even as a prototype with epistemologies and sensors in different layers. Biosensors which are more than human in the way that they need deciphering through and within technology: and they are not themselves human made technology. This is especially relevant as in our project dinoflagellates are embraced as a proxy of the wellbeing of a coastal ecosystem, thus sensors themselves but also technology to give access to sensory data of a more-than-human kind in for example sensitizing fishermen to the changes of the currents in a bay where development and construction sites have altered the coastline in a way that is not visible for the mere eye. This we see as a baseline sensing mechanism across species informing about power and energy flows: Scientists, fishermen, currents, microorganisms, artists:
„As with aesthetics, hyper-aesthetics is also formed in composition with fields of power. What is attended to, who is listened to, who is counted as having significance, what calculus of indifference is operative, which structures simply cannot perceive certain things due to their very nature. Measures must be taken to open up what is recognised as the political to the sensing and sense-making of people, beings and entities that have been excluded from them, to reshape the political in so doing. “
Planetary sensing works with the two ways of sensing and sense making: as a cluster of being connected in an ecology with complexity and composed of particles, it is trying to counterbalance and embank a threshold with the glow of bioluminescence while actually a knowledge formation (epistemic claim) in listening to fisherfolk and the community around a coastal ecosystem who themselves have been listening to currents and the glow for generations.
Reference and footnote
Matthew Fuller/E Weizmann “Investigative Aesthetics: Conflicts and Commons in the Politics of Truth”