Climate change, environmental movements and transformations of rural space in Colombia

Climate and environ­mental changes are massively transforming agricultural spaces in many parts of the world: soil is losing organic matter due to warming between droughts and floods, insects and especially plant pests are multi­plying more. In addition, there is erosion and destruction due to direct inter­ventions in nature, such as extractive raw material extraction or mono­cultures. These changes are understood and perceived differently by the people affected. Perceptions of nature, land and climate are shaped by different local cultural traditions, but are increasingly inter­twined with debates and environ­mental organi­zations of a global dimension. In addition, the large-scale projects of globally active extraction companies have a concrete impact on the ground.

The research project investi­gates inter­sections of these multi-axial problems by examining exemplary conflicts over territories in Colombia. The project analyzes local responses to very concrete global environ­mental problems on the basis of the positions and context of environ­mental movements, peasant organi­zations and local political repre­sentatives.

Colombia is parti­cularly suited for this research because of its protracted internal armed conflict, which in the departa­mentos of Santander and Norte de Santander also has a history of disputes over resource extraction. Mines and export industries have existed in this part of Colombia for over 200 years. Today, from the Páramo Santurbán to the Magdalena River, there are several large mining projects that directly affect various groups, from multi­national companies to peasants.