Understanding Grassroots Environmental Peace (UGEP)
Vanessa Bible (Australia)
This course takes the view that Environmental Peacebuilding should have at its core the concept of “caring for country,” meaning looking after nature, our habitat, and the habitat of other species with whom we share this planet.* There are often conflicts over the extraction of natural resources (mining, logging, fishing, harvesting), water and land rights, and pollution of land, water, and air. To be responsible stewards, we must make every effort to look after our planet and biosphere for all human inhabitants, other species, and future generations.
As part of this course, the participants will explore the ‘Three Bs’ of environmental peace—Biocentric perspectives, Beyond borders thinking, and Being the change (we wish to see in the world). These offer a holistic framework that seeks to understand both the issue and potential solutions associated with environmental peace. The importance of Indigenous rights, culture and knowledge, environmental justice, and climate change, which are often ignored in planning projects that impact on the environment will also be considered.
In examining links between peacebuilding and the environment, participants will gain an understanding of the way in which human and environmental issues are intertwined—caring for nature is caring for humanity. Understanding this is essential to effective environmental peacebuilding. Learning will be through discussion and workshops, involving interaction in large and small groups, role plays, active learning exercises, and analyses of case studies.
* The term “caring for country” reflects the importance that Indigenous Australians place on traditional land management on lands unaltered by development or other land use, such as agriculture (https://www.integratesustainability.com.au/2018/01/18/caring-for-country/).
Vanessa “Ned” Bible is a Lecturer in Peace Studies and History at the University of New England, Australia. Vanessa has been lecturing in Peace Studies for eight years. She has also been involved in grassroots peace, environmental, and social justice organizations for 20 years. Vanessa has helped establish a number of local groups in her community, and she is currently the Convenor of People for Peace, an action group of Sustainable Living Armidale in Armidale, New South Wales.
Vanessa has a PhD in Peace Studies, as well as a Master of Environmental Advocacy, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History and Politics from the University of New England. She is currently undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Science in order to bring a more holistic understanding to her environmental peacebuilding approach. Her award-winning PhD focused on the importance of place, identity, and belonging in cultivating inclusive and community-based environmental peacebuilding. Vanessa is currently working on a book titled Environmental Peace in the Anthropocene, which is to be published with Routledge in 2023.