Moving beyond extractivism, 16 Aug 2018

What: Two open World-Ecology conference sessions of activist-scholar dialogues, first a working group on activist experiences and strategies, and then a plenary panel for larger audience on resistance, activism and alternatives

When: 16 August 2018, 10:30–15:30

Where: University of Helsinki, Main building, Fabianinkatu 33

Free of charge registration to the working group and plenary panel: Register here!

Check latest updates at the facebook event

Sessions are organized by the Development Studies/ University of Helsinki and the Siemenpuu Foundation as part of the World-Eco­logy Research Net­work conference in Hel­sinki.

1 Working Group 11:00–12:30
Moving Beyond Extractivism: Dialogue on activist experiences and strategies

This working group creates a dialogue space for activists that try to build or support movements that challenge extractivist fossil capitalism and aim to make a post-extractivist future possible. The session connects discussions and efforts striving for post-extractivism and post-consumerism. Thus far the critique of these two ends of extractivist economic processes have developed rather separately. The anti-consumerist campaigns in the affluent countries and the resistance struggles in the resource frontiers especially in the Global South would need to come together for a powerful re-imaging, articulation and mobilisation for a transformation to take place. The participants will also discuss the relevance of world-ecology perspective to their own work.

The following activist presentations lay the ground for the dialogue with the other activist participants:

  • Resisting mining projects in Lapland, Finland by Riikka Karppinen
  • Towards post-extractivism? Struggles against mining in Nicaragua by Outi Hakkarainen, Kepa association
  • Oil struggles in Emohua and Port Harcourtin in River's States, Nigeria by Tuula Pulkki, WANA association
  • Exiting the plutocene, by Marko Ulvila, post-growth study group
  • Minerals as commons, by Ruby van der Wekken, Siemenpuu Foundation / Oma Maa

The contributors to the overall discussions in this working group include:

  • Khu Khu Ju, a land right activist from Myanmar (Land in Our Hands network, Transnational Institute)
  • Kyi Phyo, an energy activist and Myanmar coordinator of the Mekong Energy and Ecology Network (MEE Net)
  • Uddhab Pyakurel, a member of International Council of World Social Forum and an activist in South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED)
  • Soumitra Ghosh, a social activist and independent researcher based in North Bengal, India


2 Plenary panel 13:30–15:20
Moving beyond extractivism: resistance, activism, alternatives

In an effort to connect World-Ecology discussions more closely with movement building, one of the plenary session is devoted to a conversation between activist-scholars. Speakers include Larry Lohmann (UK), Soumitra Ghosh (India), Uddhab Pyakurel (Nepal), Kyi Phyo (Myanmar), Khu Khu Ju (Myanmar) and Marko Ulvila (Finland). We will also get a message from a Sámi artist, activist and scholar Pauliina Feodoroff.

In this panel special attention is given to strategies of collective organising in the resource frontiers, particularly in South and Southeast Asian contexts. Two of our speakers come from Myanmar which serves as a paradigmatic resource frontier which after its recent opening is experiencing a rush into its rich resources and a boom of extractive projects. The panel will also include an exploration of the following questions:

- How to support struggles of resistance across various resource and commodity frontiers?
- What is the role of scholarly work in the politics of struggle and movement building?
- How to foster actual transformations and move beyond extractivism of various sorts?


About the speakers in the plenary panel

Larry Lohmann is an activist scholar who has written on politics, environment, geography, accounting, Asian studies, law, science studies and development. A member of the advisory board of the World Rainforest Movement, he is currently trying to come to an integrated understanding of how thermodynamic energy, ecosystem service exchange and everyday and mechanized linguistic interpretive work are organized in the service of surplus extraction. Based at The Corner House, UK, he has also lived in Thailand, the US and Ecuador.

Soumitra Ghosh is a social activist and independent researcher based in North Bengal, India. Soumitra has been working among the forest communities of North Bengal and India for more than last two decades, and has intermittently contributed research papers on forest and climate change issues to various journals and anthologies.

Uddhab Pd. Pyakurel is an Assistant Professor of Political Sociology at the Kathmandu University. He contributes commentaries and articles to newspapers and journals on environmental justice, social movements, social inclusion/exclusion, state restructuring, and other socio-political issues. He is a member of International Council of World Social Forum and volunteers for various movement organizations including South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED) and Network Institute for Global Democracy (NIGD). Pyakurel has authored, co-authored and edited monographs and books and is the Managing Editor of Nepali Journal of Contemporary Studies.

Khu Khu Ju is a land right activist and an activist researcher. In the past she has been the spoke person for the Karen Human Rights Group. Currently she is dedicating most of her time to the work with Land in Our Hands network (LIOH). LIOH is an initiative of small-scale farmers and local farmer organizations that works for land tenure rights of small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, and particularly for women and ethnic communities. Khu Khu Ju has co-authored a report 'Meaning of Land in Myanmar' published by the Transnational Institute.

Kyi Phyo is an energy activist and Myanmar coordinator of the Mekong Energy and Ecology Network (MEE Net). In Myanmar several large-scale energy projects are being planned. Social movements have been successful in stopping some of the most destructive ones. Kyi Phyo has worked closely with grassroots activists and local residents in the Irrawaddy and Salween river basins building networks to confront destructive hydropower projects and to advocate for more just and sustainable ways of using the rivers. MEE Net also constructs alternative energy plans that have been influential, for example, in the Shan state.

Marko Ulvila engages with various concerns as a writer and an organizer.  He takes special interest in democracy, ecological sustainability, de-growth debates and global equity. Over the years he has been part of a number of civil society processes in Europe, East Africa and South Asia pertaining to environment and post-growth futures. The World Social Forum, the Green Party and the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam Network are particularly dear to his heart. In 2009 he co-edited the book Sustainable Futures: Replacing Growth Imperative and Hierarchies with Sustainable Ways (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, 2009). Currently Marko chairs the Siemenpuu Foundation in Finland.