Human-nature relationships/ political ecology
Discussion Prompt 1: Scale
Consider the dispute around Line 3 to think through the ways scale is used in geographic thinking. Line 3 is a pipeline expansion project that is to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. It was originally proposed in 2014 by the Canadian pipeline corporation, Enbridge who wanted to build a pipeline corridor through the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples to the shore of Lake Superior.
The Line 3 protest is similar to the protests that occurred in the Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline project, and are also related to protests against the Enbridge Northern Gateway project by the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia, Canada. The Line 3 protests were unsuccessful, however, and Line 3 began operating October 1st, 2021.
Pulling from the lecture, think about the different scales underlining the conflict around Line 3. What is causing the demand for these pipelines? Who’s land or water is likely to take the brunt of the damage in the event of a leak? What does all this have to do with the relationship between indigenous peoples and the nations of Canada and the US?
Whose jobs are at stake if it doesn’t go through? In essence, what are the different scales of regulation and contestation? How does the dispute and operation of the pipeline speak to global and local ideas of scale?
Discussion Prompt 2: Human-Nature Relationships / Political Ecology
In many countries, parks and protected areas have increasingly become a cornerstone of tourism. Ecotourism is defined by the IUNC as ‘environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations’ (Ceballos-Lasurain, 1996).
For example, safari excursions in Kenya and Tanzania, trips to Ecuador’s ‘untouched’ Galapagos Islands, eco-lodges and visiting rain forests in Central and South America, and the U.S.’s national park system all contain some form of ecotourism.
Pulling from the lecture, think about how can we think about ecotourism as a phenomenon both reflecting and reinforcing human-environment relations. How does the phenomenon of ecotourism speak to the social construction of nature?
What are the implications for how we might understand parks and/or protected areas? Also consider the human impacts of ecotourism happening in a place. How might local populations experience or interact with ecotourism?
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