Unearthing the Decolonial Environmental Mentality: The case of Jamaica

Authors: April Baptiste*, Colgate University
Topics: Environmental Perception, Environment
Keywords: decolonial environmentalism, Caribbean, environmental worldview, SIDs
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 25
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Environmentalism has been defined in multiple ways across the literature from a global perspective both as an ideology and as a movement. However, the definitions of environmentalism have been either vaguely defined or broad with the most common characterization being that of conservation and preservation being at the heart of environmentalism. While there are considerable research on environmentalism in the industrialized world context, there is still limited research in developing regions with a dearth of research in the Caribbean, hence the rationale for this research. The physical environments of former colonial states have always been subjected to exploitation, yet the way in which this resource has been used by local populations have not been characterized. This paper begins to examine the ways in which local populations of former colonized states view environmentalism. Taking a case study approach, Jamaica is used as the beginning point of reference. Using interviews from self-identified environmental non-governmental organizations, results indicate that there is, what is uniquely referred to in this paper, a decolonial environmental mentality (DEM) that exists among environmental activists. This mentality is grounded in a number of principles that are tied to the way in which the decolonization process continues to proceed in the Caribbean region. The paper postulates that this DEM framework has elasticity and should be applied to other postcolonial societies to determine its salience.

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