Skip to main content

Introduction: Environment and Society in Contemporary Latin America

  • Chapter
  • Open Access
  • First Online:

Abstract

Societal change in Latin America is intimately related to nature and natural resources. In this resource-rich region, nature–society relations provide both opportunities and challenges in achieving more fair, equitable and sustainable development. Nearly half of the world’s tropical forests are found in the region, next to several other natural biomes, which together carry a wealth of biodiversity. It holds one-third of the world’s freshwater reserves and one-quarter of the potential arable land. And despite five centuries of extractive activities to serve global markets, the region still holds large volumes of important mineral reserves, including oil, gas, iron, copper and gold (Bovarnick, Alpizar and Schnell, 2010). On the other hand, this “biodiversity superpower” has seen a fast rate of biodiversity loss, increasing ecosystem degradation and one-third of the world’s carbon emissions, mostly a result of the expansion of extractive activities and land-use change (UNEP, 2012). Together, these economic and ecological developments affect a large number of different social groups in all Latin American countries, primarily in rural areas but also in cities. Next to mobilizations and conflicts that attract national and international attention, there are numerous local socioenvironmental tensions that lead to longstanding economic problems and social injustice.

Keywords

  • Latin American Country
  • Environmental Governance
  • Green Economy
  • Elite Group
  • Governance Mode

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  • Alayza, A. and Gudynas, E. (eds) (2011) Transiciones. Post extractivismo y alternativas al extractivismo en el Perú (Peru: RedGE and CEPES).

    Google Scholar 

  • Alimonda, H. (ed.) (2011) La Naturaleza Colonizada: Ecología Política y Minería en América Latina (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Ciccus, CLACSO).

    Google Scholar 

  • Alimonda, H. and Gandásegui, M.A. (2006) Los Tormentos de la Materia: Aportes para una Ecología Política Latinoamericana (Ciudad de Buenos Aires: CLACSO).

    Google Scholar 

  • Alimonda, H., Hoetmer, R. and Saavedra Celestino, D. (eds) (2009) La Amazonía Rebelde. Perú 2009 (Buenos Aires: CLACSO).

    Google Scholar 

  • Altieri, M.A. and Toledo, V.M. (2011) “The Agroecological Revolution in Latin America: Rescuing Nature, Ensuring Food Sovereignty and Empowering Peasants”, Journal of Peasant Studies 38(3): 587–612.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Barkin, D. and Lemus, B. (2011) “La Economia Ecológica y Solidaria: Una Propuesta frente a nuestra Crisis”, Sustentabilidades 5: 1–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baud, M., Castro F. and Hogenboom, B. (2011) “Environmental Governance in Latin America: Towards an Integrative Research Agenda”, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 90: 79–88.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bebbington, A. (ed.) (2012) Social Conflict, Economic Development and Extractive Industry: Evidence from South America (London: Routledge).

    Google Scholar 

  • Berkes, F. and Folke, C. (eds) (1998) Linking Social and Ecological Systems: Management Practices and Social Mechanisms for Building Resilience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Biermann, F. (2007) “‘Earth System Governance’ as a Crosscutting Theme of Global Change Research”, Global Environmental Change 17(3–4): 326–337.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Biermann, F. and Pattberg, P. (2008) “Global Environmental Governance: Taking Stock, Moving Forward”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources 33: 277–294.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Borras, Jr. S., Franco, J.C., Gómez, S., Kay, C. and Spoor, M. (2012) “Land Grabbing in Latin America and the Caribbean”, The Journal of Peasant Studies 39(3–4): 845–872.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bovarnick, A., Alpizar, F. and Schnell, C. (eds) (2010) The Importance of Biodiversity and Ecosystems in Economic Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Economic Valuation of Ecosystems (United Nations Development Programme).

    Google Scholar 

  • Bray, D.B., Merino L. and Barry, D. (eds) (2005) The Community Forests of Mexico. Managing for Sustainable Landscapes (Austin: University of Texas Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Bretón, V. (2013) “Etnicidad, Desarrollo y ‘Buen Vivir’: Reflexiones Críticas en Perspectiva Histórica”, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 95: 71–95.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bunker, S.G. (1988) Underdeveloping the Amazon. Extraction, Unequal Exchange and the Failure of the Modern State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Carruthers, D.V. (ed.) (2008) Environmental Justice in Latin America: Problems, Promise, and Practice (Boston: MIT Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Castro, F. (2012) “Multi-Scale Environmental Citizenship: Traditional Populations and Protected Areas in Brazil”, in A. Latta and H. Wittman (eds), Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects, and Struggles, pp. 39–58 (New York: Berghahn Books).

    Google Scholar 

  • Castro, F. (2013) “Crossing Boundaries in Environmental Governance”. Analytical Framework Report (ENGOV), http://www.engov.eu/documentos/AFR_WP10_D10_1.pdf.

  • Castro, F. (2014) “Ethnic Communities: Social Inclusion or Political Trap?”, in F. Castro, P. van Dijck and B. Hogenboom (eds), The Extraction and Conservation of Natural Resources in Latin America: Recent Trends and Challenges. Cuadernos CEDLA 27 (Amsterdam: CEDLA).

    Google Scholar 

  • Castro, J.E. (2008) “Water Struggles, Citizenship and Governance in Latin America”, Development 51: 72–76.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cleaver, F. (2002) “Reinventing Institutions: Bricolage and the Social Embeddedness of Natural Resource Management”, The European Journal of Development Research 14(2): 11–30.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Demmers, J., Fernández Jilberto, A.E. and Hogenboom, B. (eds) (2004) Good Governance in the Era of Global Neoliberalism: Conflict and Depolitization in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa (New York: Routledge).

    Google Scholar 

  • Dijck, P. van (ed.) (2014) What Is the Future for Amazonia? Socio-Economic and Environmental Transformation and the Role of Road Infrastructure, Cuadernos CEDLA 28 (Amsterdam: CEDLA).

    Google Scholar 

  • Dobson, A. (2003) Citizenship and the Environment (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ecuador Debate (2011) “Problemas y Perspectivas del Extractivismo” (Tema Central) 82: 45–135.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fernández Jilberto, A.E. and Hogenboom, B. (eds) (2010) Latin America Facing China: South-South Relations Beyond the Washington Consensus (Oxford: Berghahn Books).

    Google Scholar 

  • Gavaldà i Palacin, M. (2013) Gas Amazónica. Los Pueblos Indígenas frente al Avance de las Fronteras Extractivas en Perú (Barcelona: Icaria).

    Google Scholar 

  • Giarracca, N. and Teubal, M. (eds) (2013) Actividades Extractivas en Expansión ¿Reprimarización de la Economía Argentina? (Buenos Aires: Antropofagia).

    Google Scholar 

  • GRAIN (2013) “The United Republic of Soybeans: Take Two”, Against the Grain. Published online on 2 July 2013. http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4749-the-united-republic-of-soybeans-take-two, date accessed 12 December 2014.

  • Gudynas, E. (2011) “Buen Vivir: Today’s Tomorrow”, Development 54(4): 441–447.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gudynas, E. (2009) “Ciudadanía Ambiental y Meta-Ciudadanías Ecológicas: Revisión y Alternativas en América Latina”, Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente 19: 53–72.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hall, A. (2012) Forests and Climate Change. The Social Dimensions of REDD in Latin America (Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar).

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris, R.L. (2003) “Popular Resistance to Globalization and Neoliberalism in Latin America”, Journal of Developing Societies 19(2–3), 365–426.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Harvey, D. (2003) The New Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Haarstad, H. (ed.) (2012) New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).

    Google Scholar 

  • Helmke, G. and Levitsky, S. (eds) (2006) Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Hogenboom, B. (2012) “Depoliticized and Repoliticized Minerals in Latin America”, Journal of Developing Societies 28(2):133–158.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Keck, M.E. and Sikkink, K. (1998) Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kooiman, J. (2003) Governing as Governance (Los Angeles: Sage).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kooiman, J., Bavinck, M., Jentoft, S. and Pullin, R. (eds) (2005) Fish for Life: Interactive Governance for Fisheries (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Larson, A.M. (2003) “Decentralization and Forest Management in Latin America: Towards a Working Model”, Public Administration and Development 23: 211–226.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Latta, A. and Wittman, H. (2012) Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles (Oxford: Berghahn Books).

    Google Scholar 

  • Lemos, M.C. and Agrawal, A. (2006) “Environmental Governance”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources 31: 297–225.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Liverman, D.M. and Vilas, S. (2006) “Neoliberalism and the Environment in Latin America”, Annual Review Environment and Resources 31: 327–363.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lyon, T. (2009) “Environmental Governance: An Economic Perspective”, in M.A. Delmas and O.R. Young (eds), Governance for the Environment: New Perspectives, pp. 43–68 (Cambridge: Cambridge Academic Press).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Martinez-Alier, J. (2002) The Environmentalism of the Poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • McCay, B.J. and Acheson, J.M. (eds) (1990) The Question of the Commons: The Culture and Ecology of Communal Resources (Tucson: University of Arizona Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, S.W. (2007) An Environmental History of Latin America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mol, A. (2003) Globalization and Environmental Reform: The Ecological Modernization of the Global Economy (Boston: MIT Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Ostrom, E. (1990) Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Otero, G. (ed.) (2010) Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America (Austin: University of Texas Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Painter, M. and Durham, W.H. (eds) (1995) The Social Causes of Environmental Destruction in Latin America (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Perreault, T. (2005) “State Restructuring and the Scale Politics of Rural Water Governance in Bolivia”, Environment and Planning A 37: 263–284.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Radhuber, I.M. (2014) Recursos naturales y finanzas públicas. La base material del Estado plurinacional de Bolivia (La Paz: Plural Editores).

    Google Scholar 

  • Rios, S.P. and Veiga, P.M. (2010) “Tackling Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for an Agenda”, Integration and Trade 3: 55–70.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robbins, P. (2012) Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction, 2nd edn (Chichester: Blackwell Publishing).

    Google Scholar 

  • Russi, D., Gonzales-Martinez, A.C., Silva-Macher, J.C., Giljum, S., Martinez-Alier, J. and Vallejo, M.C. (2008) “Material Flows in Latin America: A Comparative Analysis of Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, 1980–2000”, Journal of Industrial Ecology 12(5–6): 704–720.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Saguier, M. (2012) “Socio-Environmental Regionalism in South America: Tensions in New Development Models”, in P. Riggirozzi and D. Tussie (eds), The Rise of Post-Hegemonic Regionalism, pp. 125–146 (Dordrecht: Springer).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Schilling-Vacaflor, A. (2012) “Democratizing Resource Governance Through Prior Consultations? Lessons from Bolivia’s Hydrocarbon Sector”, GIGA Working Paper, No. 184 (Hamburg: German Institute of Global and Area Studies).

    Google Scholar 

  • Schmink, M. and Jouve-Martín, J.R. (2011) “Contemporary Debates on Ecology, Society, and Culture in Latin America”, Latin American Research Review 46, special issue.

    Google Scholar 

  • Silva, E. (2012) “Environment and Sustainable Development”, in P. Kingstone and D.J. Yashar (eds), Routledge Handbook of Latin American Politics, pp. 181–199 (New York: Routledge).

    Google Scholar 

  • Svampa, M. (2011) “Extractivismo Neodesarrollista y Movimientos Sociales. ¿Un Giro Ecoterritorial hacia Nuevas Alternativas?”, in Grupo Permanente de Trabajo sobre Alternativas al Desarrollo, Más Allá del Desarrollo (Quito: Fundación Rosa Luxemburg and Abya Yala).

    Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, L. (2011) “Environmentalism and Social Protest: The Contemporary Anti-Mining Mobilization in the Province of San Marcos and the Condebamba Valley, Peru”, Journal of Agrarian Change 11(3): 420–439.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Teijlingen, K. van and Hogenboom, B. (2014) “Development Discourses at the Mining Frontier: Buen Vivir and the Contested mine of El Mirador in Ecuador”, ENGOV Working Paper Series, No. 15.

    Google Scholar 

  • Therborn, G. (2011) “Inequalities and Latin America: From the Enlightenment to the 21st Century”, DesiguALdades.net, Working Paper Series, No. 1.

    Google Scholar 

  • UNEP (2012) Latin America and the Caribbean. Global Environment Outlook, http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/GEO5_report_full_en.pdf, date accessed 2 December 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  • UNEP (2011) Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. www.unep.org/greeneconomy, date accessed 23 October 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  • Urkidi, L. and Walter, M. (2011) “Dimensions of Environmental Justice in AntiGold Mining Movements in Latin America”, Geoforum 42(6): 683–695.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Vásquez, P.I. (2014) Oil Sparks in the Amazon: Local Conflicts, Indigenous Populations and Natural Resources (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Walter, M. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2012) “Social Metabolism, Ecologically Unequal Exchange and Resource Extraction Conflicts in Latin America”, Analytical Framework Report (ENGOV).

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank (1992) Governance and Development (Washington, DC: World Bank).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Young, O. (1999) Governance in World Affairs (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).

    Google Scholar 

  • Zibechi, R. (2012) “Latin America: A New Cycle of Social Struggles”, NACLA Report on the Americas 45(2): 37–49.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zimmerer, K.S. (2011) “‘Conservation Booms’ with Agricultural Growth? Sustainability and Shifting Environmental Governance in Latin America, 1985–2008 (Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia)”, Latin American Research Review 46: 82–114.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zimmerer, K.S. and Bassett, T.J. (eds) (2003) Political Ecology: An Integrative Approach to Geography and Environment-Development Studies (New York: Guilford Press).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

This chapter is published under an open access license. Please check the 'Copyright Information' section either on this page or in the PDF for details of this license and what re-use is permitted. If your intended use exceeds what is permitted by the license or if you are unable to locate the licence and re-use information, please contact the Rights and Permissions team.

Copyright information

© 2016 Fábio de Castro, Barbara Hogenboom and Michiel Baud

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

de Castro, F., Hogenboom, B., Baud, M. (2016). Introduction: Environment and Society in Contemporary Latin America. In: de Castro, F., Hogenboom, B., Baud, M. (eds) Environmental Governance in Latin America. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-50572-9_1

Download citation

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.