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Politics, Ecology, and Glaciers: SASNET at the POLLEN24 Conference

Pollen Conference Manshi Asher

As part of the international POLLEN24 Conference, SASNET co-hosted a panel on Political Ecology of Glacierized
Environments. Visiting from India was Manshi Asher, environmental justice activist and researcher.

In June, the cross-continental POLLEN24 Conference was held in Lund, (Sweden), Dodoma (Tanzania), and Lima (Peru). The conference aims to provide a platform to discuss the unfolding and entwined social-ecological crises and how to move towards more plural and just futures. It focuses on political ecology, described as an important toolbox to explore the unjust and colonial power relations that condition global flows of material resources, money, ideas and people. 

As part of the conference, SASNET co-hosted a panel on the theme Political Ecology of Glacierized Environments. The panel consisted of four presentations.

Sahana Subramanian and Carmen Marigotta (Lund University) presented their ongoing work "From Apocalypse to Economic Growth: Glacier Melt in Popular Media Discourses". Through discourse analysis, and drawing on climate communication and critical studies, this study aims to analyse newspapers to investigate how glaciers are framed in popular discourse and what role media has in shaping public discourse on glacier retreats.

Indian environmental justice activist Manshi Asher presented the paper Conservation & adaptation minus rights: "Contestations Around Commons in a Trans-Himalayan Valley of Himachal Pradesh". In the Himalayan Lahaul valley, the Himachal Pradesh government has in recent years claimed success of its Joint Forest Management programs, reporting forest cover growth. It has attributed this success to the afforestation initiatives undertaken in collaboration with local women’s collectives. The study presented by Manshi Asher examines the government claim through local narratives (especially those of the women’s collectives), highlighting forest land dependence, access and governance.

Hanna Geschewski (Chr Michelsen Institute and University of Bergen) shared empirical findings from recent fieldwork in Tibetan refugee settlements in central and northern Nepal. Her presentation "Exploring Land in Refugee Resettlement: Perspectives from the Himalayas" showed how land was made available to and has been used by Tibetan refugees. She also explored three dimensions of land: contested, sacred, and as a meeting place.

Mattias Borg Rasmussen (University of Copenhagen) presented his work "Scaling Pastoruri: Claiming Justice in a Fragmented Landscape", which through the intersections of climate and biodiversity tells the story of a glaciated landscape under transformation and the political as well as territorial effects. It unpacked the politics of glaciers as an area of contestation between the community and the Huascarán National Park in Peru.