Category Archives: News

EnviroAnt Workshop in Tallinn, Estonia – Keynote Abstracts

Keynote 1- 14 October 2021. 9.30am CET.

Dr. Rasa Smite and Dr. Raitis Smits

Sensing Environments. Artistic Practices and Methodologies Revealing the Eco-Systematic Relations 

“Are there any medium which better than others can open our senses towards the environment?” (Bruno Latour)

Our senses have always been “mediated”, but with more recent enhancements of various ‘immersive’ technologies, our ‘sensoriums’ have intensified and become more mediated than ever before. Environmental monitoring sensors and remote sensing tools used in environmental sciences and landscape research are extending our knowledge, perception and experiences. Yet, we ask, which practices, tools, technologies may help us better to ‘sense’ the environment? What are the methodologies for creating the meaningful relations (with it)? And – what art can do? If the ‘constructivist’ approach has been used to a large extent in environmental research and other fields, ‘experiential’ capabilities such as sensual and immersive properties of the environment have been mainly used in art practices that create immersive interaction through experience, reflection and speculation.

We will introduce our artistic practices of exploring various environments, real and virtual, sonic and visible, as well as invisible – from pioneering internet radio experiments pushing the boundaries of an “acoustic cyberspace” and artistic investigations in electromagnetic spectrum, to more recent ‘techno-ecological’ art projects exploring the landscapes using sensing technologies, data sonification and visualizations to reveal the invisible activity in nature ecosystems.  such as bacteria activity happening in the swamp ecosystems or volatile emissions of the pine trees in the forest and atmosphere.

To create “Pond Battery” (2014-2015) and “Swamp Radio” (2018) artworks of “Biotricity” series, we performed artistic interventions installing “bacteria batteries”, sensors and transmitting devices in ponds, swamps and other wetlands in North Europe and North America. Environmental data were collected, sonified and visualized making visible the invisible activities in nature such as bacteria living in a pond or swamp sediments producing electricity.

Our recent artwork “Atmospheric Forest” (2021), an immersive VR environment is created using remote scanned 3D forest environment, and visualizes the data of the fragrant emissions of pine trees, revealing complex patterns of relations between climate change, forest emissions and the atmosphere.By showcasing how sensing technologies and immersive tools used in artistic practice are well suited to reveal our interdependence of living organisms on each other and their environment, we would like to discuss future strategies, tools and methodologies for establishing two (or multi) directional link with our environment. Moreover, we argue that focusing our attention on “terrestrial co-existence” (Latour) and combining both ‘constructivist’ and ‘experiential’ approaches may help us to find less hazardous routes into the future and to create interactive relations with ‘more than human’ environments.

Keynote 2 – 15 October 2021. 9.00am CET.

Annika Lems, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Halle/Saale

Precarious Politics of Placemaking: Why the Historicity of Environmental Future Imaginaries Matters 

In this presentation I will focus on the everyday placemaking practices people in an Austrian mountain community engage in as a response to the exploitative and destructive nature of global capitalism. By zooming in on grassroot projects aimed at food sovereignty, I will show the important social role environmental future imaginaries can take on as a means of creating a sense of belonging and solidarity in “forgotten”, rural places that are marked by unemployment, defunding and out-migration.

However, I will suggest that anthropological analysis needs to inquire into the agency attached to such projects, laying bare the ambiguous nature of supposedly “green” and progressive placemaking practices. By looking into the everyday engagements with history fuelling local struggles for social and environmental viability in my Austrian fieldsite, I attempt to make visible the contours of a troubling politics of place. This politics of place, I will argue, does not just act against extractive capitalism. Based on historically ingrained notions of otherness, it has the side-effect of reproducing reactionary and exclusionary ideas of belonging to place.

Keynote 3 – 15 October 2021. 1.30am CET.

Stine Krøijer, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

Activism and its futures in landscapes of broken developmental dreams

In the second half of the 20th Century, modernization projects and associated narratives of economic development and progress made their imprint on landscapes and altered human relations to nature. Across ideological and political standpoints such narratives informed people’s outlook to the future and even their projects of progressive political change. Yet no more than a decade after the story about reaching an “end of history” gained momentum among European politicians – a story advocating the idea that a particular politico-economic formation would constitute the end-point of all societal development – it became accompanied and even overwritten by experiences of environmental destruction and anthropogenic climate change. In this presentation, I take my point of departure in landscapes of broken developmental dreams with a view to examine the forms of activism that they may give rise to. Based on what I like to refer to as my dark trilogy – a series of articles that examine the afterlife of progress, political uses of dystopia, and changing rhythms of radical environmental activism – I take the listeners to sites of environmental destruction in both Germany, Denmark and Amazonia. I do so in order to outline human and non-human forms of vigorous action, their relation to imperial debris and renderings of time, and to discuss the roles that anthropologists might take in such projects.

For the full programme, please follow this link

Rainforests: 11 things to watch in 2021

2020 was a difficult year for tropical rainforest conservation efforts. Some key considerations in 2021 include: the post COVID recovery; the transition of power in the U.S.; deforestation in Indonesia; deforestation in Brazil; the effects of the La Niña climate pattern; ongoing destabilisation of tropical forests; government to government carbon deals; data that will allow better assessment of the impact of COVID on tropical forests; companies incorporating forest-risk into decision-making; ongoing violence against environmental defenders; and whether international policy meetings can get back on track.

Read the full news article here:

Do cultural capital and social capital matter for economic performance?

This paper proposes an empirical investigation of the impact of social relations, referred to as structural social capital, and cultural values, referred to as intangible cultural capital, on tribal agricultural production in New Caledonia. By using micro-data from an original survey on tribal communities, we construct a simultaneous equations model to explore the mechanisms by which cultural values and social relations interact with agricultural performance. 


Young Voices: Envisioning Sustainable Futures roundtable

Young Voices: Envisioning Sustainable Futures

Online Roundtable Discussion


Faced with the global ecological crisis and apocalyptic predictions of the future, many young people are committed to standing up for alternative ways of life. This roundtable discussion brings together four young activists from different parts of the world who are all inspired to build more just, caring and sustainable futures.

Esther Atem, from the Karamojong Development Forum in Uganda, Tehersiana Duyung from the Institut Dayakologi in Indonesia, Vivien Hoffmann from Students for Future in Germany and Nutdanai Trakansuphakon from the Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development in Thailand will engage in a dialogue over their respective vision of the future, which drives them forward. We will then discuss what constitutes a “good life” and a “green future” in the respective context of the different activists. Further, we look at the challenges that need to be overcome in order to realize their visions, both locally and globally. What common goals and methods can be identified? How can we – as activists, scholars or committed citizens – collectively strive for a more sustainable way of life and support each other, although we are located in very different places and environments?

For registration please contact Michaela Haug ( or (Sabine Schielmann (

Latest evaluation shows Europe’s nature in serious, continuing decline

Unsustainable farming and forestry, urban sprawl and pollution are the top pressures to blame for a drastic decline in Europe’s biodiversity, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats.

Moreover, European Union (EU) nature directives and other environmental laws still lack implementation by Member States. Most protected habitats and species are not in good conservation status and much more must be done to reverse the situation, according to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) ‘State of nature in the EU’ report, published today.


Top award for Indigenous alliance

Appreciation of the outsized role that Indigenous people play in helping to protect the planet’s biodiversityintact ecosystems, and global carbon stocks is growing around the world. On Wednesday, the United Nations honored 10 organizations – over half of them Indigenous – with its prestigious “Equator Prize.” The prize is awarded every two years to recognize community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Among those honored was the Ceibo Alliance, an Indigenous Ecuadoran non-profit comprised of communities from four different Indigenous groups spread over Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.

The prize, awarded during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, came just days after Ceibo Alliance’s Co-Founder and prominent Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo was named to this year’s TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.


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