Session 2

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Thursday, March 5th
11:00 AM

Public perception of carbon capture and storage in relation to hydraulic fracturing: content analyses, survey results, and policy proposals

Cailtin M. Augustin, University of Miami

GC150, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) can contribute significantly to addressing the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions problem. Despite widespread political support, CCS remains unknown to the general public. Public perception researchers have found that, when asked, the public is relatively unfamiliar with CCS yet many individuals voice specific safety concerns regarding the technology. We believe this leads many stakeholders conflate CCS with the better-known and more visible technology hydraulic fracturing (fracking). We support this with content analysis of media coverage, web analytics, and public lobbying records. Furthermore, we present results from a survey of United States residents. This first-of-its-kind survey assessed participants’ knowledge, opinions and support of CCS and fracking technologies. The survey showed that participants had more knowledge of fracking than CCS, and that knowledge of fracking made participants less willing to support CCS projects. Additionally, it showed that participants viewed the two technologies as having similar risks and similar risk intensities. In the CCS stakeholder literature, judgment and decision-making (JDM) frameworks are noticeably absent, and public perception is not discussed using any cognitive biases as a way of understanding or explaining irrational decisions, yet these survey results show evidence of both anchoring bias and the ambiguity effect. Public acceptance of CCS is essential for a national low-carbon future plan. In conclusion, we propose changes in communications and incentives as programs to increase support of CCS.

11:20 AM

Water for the Wayuu: Procurement and maximization of a limited resource among indigenous pastoralists on the Guajira Peninsula of northern Colombia

David A. Robles, Florida International University

GC150, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

11:20 AM - 11:35 AM

For the Wayuu of the Guajira Peninsula of northern Colombia, water procurement has historically been challenging. The ancestral territory of this indigenous pastoral society is windy and arid, with low rainfall, high temperatures and an absence of perennial rivers or streams. In the past, the Wayuu adapted to these environmental conditions by practicing transhumance during the prolonged dry seasons, digging spring wells and artificial ponds and by following guiding principles for water usage. Since the 1930s, the government has made efforts to build additional wind-powered wells and ponds for a growing native population. Notwithstanding, these water solutions have only partly met the necessities; public water sources are limited or unreliable and few attempts are made to generate safe drinking water. Furthermore, the ubiquitous practice of animal husbandry places added pressure on existing sources; livestock consume more water than the human populations in the areas visited. Rapid assessments in four Wayuu areas on the peninsula were conducted by the author and an interdisciplinary team working for the Cerrejón Foundation for Water in La Guajira from 2010 to 2013. The assessments were part of a larger pilot project to design and implement a sustainability plan for reservoir-based water supply systems in the region. This study brings cultural practices and local knowledge to the forefront as key elements for the success of water works and other development projects carried out in Wayuu territory.

11:40 AM

Putting the Green in Bureaucracy: Practices of Quantification and Valuation in Environmental Regulation

Chris M. Rea, UCLA

GC150, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

11:40 AM - 11:55 AM

While researchers have devoted considerable attention to exploring the ways that intentional environmental reregulation creates new avenues for capital accumulation (e.g. Smith, 2007; Castree, 2008), it remains somewhat unclear how the less grandiose day-to-day work of environmental regulators may also help create new sources of ecological value. Through an ethnographic study of environmental regulators tasked with enforcing key environmental laws, I shed light on the subtle ways that rule interpretation and scientific practice structure the frames, models, and methodologies regulators use to enact “best professional judgments” about ecological systems, and ultimately to assign particular values to nature. I also show the ways that non-human nature pushes back against such assessments, which in combination with the interpretive work of environmental regulation, opens spaces of conflict in at least two arenas: one focused on modes of quantification, where actors contend between economistic, ecological, statutory, and moral frames for making value assessments; and one focused on presentations of value, where actors contend between value assessments that best represent their self-defined interests. The ‘value settlements’ environmental regulators reach in these contested spaces allow processes of commensuration to proceed, and ultimately make nature legible for capitalization and exchange. Accounting for the ways that these basic regulatory practice help create ecological value is essential for creating a fuller picture of the ways capital and natural capital relate.

12:00 PM

Stray dogs in Bucharest, and the political economy of Romanian socialism. From hunting the “enemies” of Stalinist economy, to poisoning urban parasites, and the rise of urban anarchy: 1950s-1990s.

Lavrentia Karamaniola, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

GC150, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM

My paper discusses three different ways in which stray dogs have been intertwined with ideologies of economic and urban development in Romania. I categorize results from archival and ethnographic research under three major time periods: early socialism, late socialism, and post-socialism. During early socialism stray dogs were seen to be damaging the soviet economy by killing species that humans could also hunt, like rabbits. During late socialism, stray dogs appeared as the enemies of the communist city, and the department of urban sanitation was given orders to poison dogs with strychnine. Finally, the increasing number of stray dogs in Bucharest after the collapse of communism was seen as a direct result of former communist demolitions, and was also taken as a sign of the collapsing state. Through such examples my paper discusses how the state and particular population groups have seen dogs as parts of an unwanted and dangerous nature, rather than a species that needs to be protected. I argue that distinctions of nature and culture have served discourses of civilization and the view of Bucharest as a model socialist, and then European city. Throughout my paper I juxtapose the treatment of stray dogs with other, more “valued” urban natures like the protection of parks, the wide-spread hobby of pigeon breeding during socialist years, the most recent debate on saving the rural area of Rosia Montana from non-environmentally friendly methods of gold extraction, and the current trend of healthy eating and living.