Forest Gardens and Ancestral Health in the Urbanising Ecuadorian Amazon

I have given a variation of talks on the same central lessons that I have learned while working with indigenous peoples in the Amazon, particularly the Amazon as a horticultural artefact and, in this talk, the problems that urbanization entails for the practice and livelihoods of shamans. Here is a video of a version delivered at the 2019 World Ayahuasca Conference in Girona, where I was a little nervous in the vast theatre, … …

Awakkuna: Knitting for conservation in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Title: Awakkuna: Knitting for conservation in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Abstract: Crafting certain essentials of everyday and celebratory life (baskets, clay pots, carrying and fishing nets, tools, jewellery and ornamentation) has been—and in certain cases still is—a fundamental aspect of Napo Runa (Amazonian Kichwa of the Upper Napo River, Ecuador) subsistence and conviviality. Making ‘artesanias’ for sale has, for many families, become a key aspect in a bundle of livelihood strategies which confirms cultural … …

‘More-than-sustainable’ cultural forests of Amazonian pasts

Title: ‘More-than-sustainable’ cultural forests of Amazonian pasts: The other side of the anthropocene and the future human habitat. Abstract: The anthropocene, despite contested meanings and definitions, tends to imply a ‘negative impact human social metabolism’. On the basis of a nascent action research project on ancestral chakras (traditional forest garden systems) in the Ecuadorian Amazon with Napo Runa (lowland Kichwa) communities, I explore ‘the other side of the anthropocene’ in the praxis of … …

Vulnerable Amazonian communities?

On May 7, 2020, I appeared briefly on ABC’s RN Drive with Patricia Karvelas. She asked me about the situation for indigenous people in the Amazon with regards to the pandemic. It is difficult to talk about ‘vulnerable Amazonian communities’. Firstly, the Amazon is huge and diverse. There are people living in isolation from civilisation deep in the forest; there are indigenous people living in cities; and everything in between. Secondly, like anywhere … …

Biosocialism for the Amazon? Ikiam, the state and subsistence struggles in postneoliberal Ecuador

Title: Biosocialism for the Amazon? Ikiam, the state and subsistence struggles in postneoliberal Ecuador Abstract: As the largest connected system of rainforests on Earth, the role of the Amazon in stabilising global ecological processes and mitigating climate chaos is widely seen as critical and its protection has taken on new urgency. Yielding crucial commodities, the Amazon region also represents, however, important state income. Governing the region efficiently and effectively is thus paramount to … …

Green transition friction in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Title: Green transition friction in the Ecuadorian Amazon This is a talk (or guest lecture) I was invited to give at Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales as part of their MSc Sustainability and Behaviour Change in January 2020. It is primarily based on field work done during two fellowships between 2016 and 2019 and draws on my research and collaborations with Amazonian peoples since 2005: Independent Social Research Foundation Fellow, Oxford … …

A more powerful narrative in support of agroecology

This talk I was invited to give at ‘Gearing up for agroecology: transforming publicly-funded research and innovation for the public good?’, a panel at Oxford Real Farming Conference in January 2020. Speakers: Helena Paul, EcoNexusNina Moeller, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Re silience (CAWR), Coventry UniversityAdam Payne, Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA)Patrick Mulvany, Food Ethics Council Join us to explore how to transform publicly-funded research for agroecology and help broaden the coalition – initiated at … …

Radical transformation of not just our food systems, but of the whole of our world

This is a short talk I was invited to give on a panel at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in 2019 with the title ‘RECLAIMING RESEARCH FOR REAL FOOD & FARMING: resetting the agenda for the public good‘. In the talk I bring together some elements of my work on (the lack of) agroecological funding (shorter version in The Conversation) and the Amazon, where I have worked with Kichwa and Shipibo people since … …

The Amazon as horticultural artefact and why it matters

This is a Lightning Talk I was invited to give at ‘Science Uncovered‘: Friday 28 September is European Researcher’s night, and for the fourth time Manchester Museum will be hosting Science Uncovered Manchester – a special late opening showcasing Manchester’s finest researchers and their work for an adult audience. There’ll be research on show, music, drinks and a lively atmosphere. Our participation in Science Uncovered event is funded by the Natural History Museum, … …