Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Observing Degrowth and Biocultural Activism in Colombia”

The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Lucas Chacko and Cody Schmidt’s Signature Work project

Students: Lucas Chacko and Cody Schmidt

Mentor: Professor Robin Rodd

From a broad perspective, our project will focus on degrowth and biocultural movements in Colombia. We have a shared interest in such alternative forms of sustainable economics, particularly in the Global South with the region’s history of colonialism, extractivism, and exploitation by the Global North. Degrowth specifically focuses on challenging traditional conceptions of a country’s wealth and success, posing critical questions regarding the environmental degradation and social stratification that traditional economic relations create.  

Related to this is the idea of bioculturalism, focusing specifically on the intersection between the environment and society, and their subsequent coexistence. Colombia in particular has been a home to a number of social and political movements led by citizens advocating for environmental justice. Moreover, recent political developments in Colombia have placed such arguments and initiatives at the center of political conversation. We will spend one month in Colombia observing the ways in which this conversation takes place, with Chacko focusing on citizen mobilization and coordination, and Schmidt focusing on how current environmental policies are experienced.