The Promise of a Green Revolution : Conceptions of climate change and sustainability in local movements objecting to mining establishment
Sammanfattning: This study explores how vernacular understandings of climate change and sustainability are formed in relation to local disputes concerning mineral exploration. In a search for a solution to climate change, the interest in rare earth elements (REEs), and other metals used in green technology has resulted in granting mining companies processing concessions in Sweden. At the same time, industrial scale metal extraction imposes great risks to the local environment. Offering an ethnological view on local resistance to mining in two areas in Sweden where mining corporations has been granted processing concessions for exploratory drilling, this study seeks to contribute to a theoretical discussion regarding the dialectical relationship between the material and the spatial and its influence on vernacular understandings of mining as a solution towards decreased environmental impact. Applying a phenomenological framework, this study analyzes how sustainability as a diversified concept is constructed through social and cultural practices in the everyday life. Through in-depth interviews with local inhabitants who have chosen to protest against mining establishment in two southern areas in Sweden, themes such as temporality, local cultural and historical identity, and the NIMBY-phenomenon is addressed. This study finds several climate change temporalities within the local resistance movements. Various time-scales intertwine, together stretching both the need for the slow pace of natural preservation, and immediacy through de-growth. These time-scales are in turn shaped by knowledge of the areas cultural history, as well as personal family heritage. Expressions holding temporal connotations, such as eternal destruction and permanent damage, indicate that conceptions of climate change and sustainability are shaped by current media climate change discourse. The positions in the local conflicts are continuously negotiated, as objecting to mineral exploration is considered an obstacle to necessary change towards fossil fuel dependency. This study concludes that local activism in the shadow of societal transformation into a green economy ultimately transforms into a question concerning what kind of nature that matters, and how we measure its value.
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