3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
550 General Services Building, 550 General Services Building University of Alberta , Edmonton Alberta
Title: Imagining Environmental Futures and the Methodological Challenges that Follow
Speaker: Theresa (Terre) Satterfield, Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia
Date: Friday, May 3, 2024
Time: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: 550 General Services Building
The environmental social sciences are increasingly preoccupied with what different publics hope to save, restore or build anew to craft a range of imagined future natures. These examined futures are invariably understood through the lens of what people value and what people fear, and at scales that are both global (e.g., what is needed for the climatic ‘greater good’) and intimately local (e.g., what is possible for an imperilled fish species, or beloved standing forest). Restoration asks, for example, that we both value what is lost and recognize that much of that value does not and never has had market or substitutable equivalents. What then is possible? Similarly, the futures imagined are alive with the promise of transformative repairs – be that a decarbonized atmosphere or the spectre of an enhanced food system — that we can hardly imagine, let alone comfortably embrace. Are the solutions seen as similarly or more problematic than the problems they might solve and how can we know? This presentation will consider these imagined futures in reference to a range of case studies taken from food, biodiversity, and restoration contexts, and where climate-mitigating technologies are unfolding. The goal is to come to some first principles as to how can we reasonably understand these visions and what methodological approaches might better articulate the intangible value of place, the emergent and nervous quality of imagined futures, and a more historically honest recognition and accounting of loss.