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1c. Pre-Conference - Colonial Context

START:Aug 24, 2017DUE:Nov 30, 2017STATUS:Open


Climate change is the result of many human activities that release gases that concentrate in and change the composition of the atmosphere. These human activities are deeply related to environmental degradation (contamination). In the next few lessons you will run frequently into the intersection of climate change and environmental degradation. Please, always reflect on how the material is related to climate change first and strive to make climate change the focus of your conversations.

Key concepts: contributors to climate change: colonization, consumption, land, resources, and industrialization

  • Climate change and power imbalance associated with colonization: economic, political, social, cultural imposition

Europe built its historically powerful presence in the world through the extermination and displacement of Indigenous peoples from their native lands, the extraction of resources from colonies, and the exploitation of slave labour. In most countries Indigenous peoples never received their land back or their rights to reconstruct their traditional forms of government.

History of mining in Australia:

  • Climate change and overconsumption and resource exploitation

Countries whose economies emerged and grew as a result of colonialism are still powerful and have a lot of privilege in the political and economic international arena. These countries and their companies are still present in previously colonized countries and still compel economic and political decisions within those countries.

Watch the first 5:08 minutes of the following video. You are welcome to watch the full video if time permits. Papua New Guinea forest:

  • Disproportionate effects of climate change due to colonization

Due to colonization, climate change affects Indigenous peoples on a number of levels.

Effects of climate change on Indigenous peoples: Pages 3-14 of Abate, R. S., & Kronk Warner, E. A. (2013). Commonality among unique indigenous communities: An introduction to climate change and its impacts on indigenous peoples:

Take some time to explore this mapping tool to see how climate change affects food insecurity for various populations:

Indigenous struggles in Latin America:

Mexico windmills:


Blog post:

Thinking back to your carbon footprint, consider how the footprint, power imbalances, and the effects of climate change are connected.

  • How does your footprint reflect the economy of your country, including its colonial relations?
  • How are the effects of climate change related with power imbalances among countries or within countries?

When complete, please post your blog here.


Although students are encouraged to work in groups to write their blog, each student is encouraged to post on at least two of their peers' blogs. (When posting your blogs, be sure to list the title as Country: Blog Name. For example, Canada: My Ecological Footprint)

Blog posts and commentary that students make will be used in the final product. Be sure to have clear, concise, and well thought out responses to one another and to the questions being asked.

Continue to 2a. Pre-Bilateral - Climate Change is Our Shared Problem »

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