“At a time when Indigenous land defenders are fighting for cultural resurgence and the application of traditional knowledge to combat the climate crisis, they are often cast as the monolithic, mystical, degrowth opposition to the secular modernity of white leftists and their fully automated socialist future. In reality, solutions to ecological and social problems that were historically or are presently used by non-European cultures are compatible with modern technology, often in consensus with cutting-edge scientific findings, and more necessary than ever.”
What I appreciate most about this essay by a Metis science educator and community organizer is its attention to the interweaving of the social and ecological dimensions of environmental transformation, both destructive and regenerative. Delisle writes:
“We could use our technological advancements and industrial scale, guided by Indigenous knowledge, to reintroduce the bison herds onto the Prairies at the same time that we install wind turbines to power the cultivation of food that nourishes people with minimal land use or waste. We can rapidly reforest areas that were clear cut for industrial agriculture or pipelines, and revive animal populations in traditional food forests. We can use low-carbon infrastructure to cultivate mollusks that clean polluted waters, feed people, and create habitat for other species all at the same time. We can create new social norms and cultural institutions that centre children, the elderly, and our interdependence with life on Earth.”
In this essay, the task of decolonizing environmental and ecological practice comes through as both a critical and constructive task. It isn’t enough to chart the colonial origins of the management strategies that are taken for granted so often as the foundation for good environmental governance. Practical alternatives are also essential, and here, the experiments she charts are illuminating windows.