Research Trip to Colombia

How will the Global North's net-zero 2050 transformations negatively affect communities in the global south? How can an international research group be established to begin exploration of this imminent issue?

What will the project involve? 

This project is a one month research trip to Colombia in preparation for an application to a larger grant. The objective is for the researcher to meet partners, develop relationships and networks to formulate more specific ideas and research questions for future, co-produced research around green extractivism, that is, the extraction of critical raw materials for low-carbon transitions, and ‘clean’ energy such as green hydrogen, wind or solar.

Potential partners are social movements and/or communities in Colombia who respond to or are affected by the Global North’s net-zero transformations, and so the trip would directly support partnership development. For the researcher’s further projects it is necessary to build trust and establish relevant networks. Additionally, the researcher intends to organise an internal UoB event to bring together a range of people to discuss and explore critical raw materials and green extractivism. The event will serve to share their findings, identify areas for future, interdisciplinary collaboration, and establish a network for green extractivism researchers at UoB

The project aims to establish research partnerships that look at the lived experience of communities in territories that are negatively affected by one of the biggest challenges of our time: to transition our economies towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050. From a planetary security perspective, it is vital that we achieve this goal. This project, however, looks to analyse the process by which this is achieved from an environmental justice perspective, and seeks to analyse who the beneficiaries and losers are from the products or energy that have been extracted in indigenous, biodiverse, and/or water scarce territories. It essentially asks, will our net zero transformation create more geno- and ecocidal ‘sacrifice zones’?

Who are the team and what do they bring?

  • Katharina Richter (Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol) is a researcher of climate change, politics and society concerned with the political and cultural construction of socially equitable and ecologically sustainable futures. To this end, she examines degrowth and wider sustainability debates from a decolonial environmental social science perspective.

What is to come?

The outcome is to solidify research questions and a methodological approach for a larger grant application. From the internal event, the researcher also hopes to start establishing a network of scholars at the University of Bristol working on green extractivism to create opportunities for (cross-faculty) interaction and collaboration.