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Agroecological networks have long valorized the experience of small-scale farmers and have cultivated processes of in situ experimentation to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of traditional techniques. In this chapter I suggest that this focus on experience and experimentation is vital within broader ecologies of ‘mending’ environmental damage, and to the ideas of ecological reparation put forward by this book. Specifically, I suggest that the loop of collective reflection on experience afforded by the examples I document in El Salvador allow for a supplementation of official histories with small stories; with purposefully censored collective memory; and with everyday expertise. The case presented in this chapter is engaged in experimental soil repair through composting practices and the creation of ‘biofertilizers’ – recipes that use local organic ingredients to boost soil health. I show how agroecological approaches to soil repair place campesino expertise at the heart of agricultural innovation and ecological reparation. Together, these fuller archives allow for a wider array of possible solutions to soil damage, while also enabling contestation to take place over stories told over land, ownership, lives, and communities.

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In this chapter, we expand and unpack some of the major arguments in the book. We revisit the history and formation of modern environmentalism, exploring some of its key assumptions. We emphasise three important blindspots that have been configured by this specific history – (anti)colonial geography, struggles over land and livelihoods, and lived ecologies – proposing these as productive entry points for a counter-history of modern environmentalism. Finally, we use the title of the book to clarify what this project will, and will not, set out to do, as well as situating our own research and commitments as authors. The chapter also includes two boxes on denaturalising environmentalism and provincialising environmentalism.

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Land, Labour and Movements Beyond Environmentalism

Sixty years ago an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling development to continue. However, the increasing focus on spaces and species to be protected saw questions of human work and histories of colonialism pushed out of view.

This book traces a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. It focuses on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. Many of these movements did not consider themselves ‘environmental,’ and yet they offer vital ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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In this chapter we revisit our arguments by drawing out our key ideas around aesthetics, specifically focusing on resonance and disagreement. These two concepts form the building blocks for an alternative way of cultivating change to the ‘environmentalist way of seeing’, whose limitations we lay out in a fresh way. This brings us to our coda, which is more of an afterword.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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This chapter focuses on the period after 2010–2012, and we contrast the way that momentum and resonance are built around ‘techno-fix’ type environmental solutions that place emphasis on globalised markets in environmental futures, with new kinds of imagining inspired by global gatherings of Indigenous and rural groups in the name of ‘earth politics’. Invoking at once a commitment to materiality and ‘earthiness’ and to diverse cosmologies, earth politics include room for multiple possible worlds and invites dialogue between them, rather than starting from presumed agreement and universal starting points.

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This chapter focuses on the consolidation of environmental governance narratives and management practices during the 1980s and 1990s – as well as the emergence of important counter-movements to protest these tendencies. We note during this period that social movements seeking to render perceptible concerns relating to resource extraction and harms relating to the industrialisation of the global food system choose to do so by names other than environmentalism. This focus also allows us to draw out the central concern with aesthetics in the book, which is to say, the ways that resonance is and is not created by social movements, collectives and the articulation of new iconographies.

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