Utopian Practices in Action For Urban Socio-Ecological Justice
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Noa Cykman and Elisa Privitera (Lizzy), UC Santa Barbara
“If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.” Carl Sagan
How can local ongoing experiences inspired by socio-ecological utopian principles provide insights to address the current global cascading crises, to assess the kinds of movements that we have or need now, and to trigger a radical change for a more just future?
In order to discuss possible answers to these questions, we invited presenters to share and dialogue about inclusive urban regeneration practices—those that challenge our unjust socio-ecosystem/reality, and generate imaginaries of alternative futures.
We welcome experiences that dance around and with agroecology, food justice, ecosystem restoration, community building, squats, commons, cooperatives, seedings and transitions in energy, water, soil, the nourishing and multiplication of life in beneficial cycles.
On this panel, you will find the stories of: i) an Agroecological City Councilor Mandate operating in Brazil; ii) houseless people planting gardens with the Agro-Street (AgroRua) collective, in Brazil; iii) the conservation and restoration of Ecuadorian forest ecosystems through participatory research and community-centered projects, led by the Fundación Cambugán – Mushuk Tukuy Agroecolocial Network; iv) the occupation/formal squats of over 30 abandoned real-estate in Brussels, Belgium, by the Communa organization; v) the Eco Vista Food Forest that’s planting food security, social justice, and ecological regeneration in Isla Vista, CA, United States, f) the Monarch butterflies who are returning and multiplying on occupied lands where agroecological farming is restoring ecosystems, in the Bay Area, CA, United States; vi) wetlands that are offering sanctuaries for birds and seeding sustainable agriculture in Sicily, Italy, with the work of the Geloi collective; and vii) the research on energy transition and envisioned futures of Netherlands citizens.
By bringing together the stories of these collectives and communities dedicated to promoting a transition from socio-ecological collapse to justice, sustainability, solidarity, resilience, affect, and care, we wish to open a space for sharing practices of utopias of justice and joy. Utopias that feed our actions with the strength to break through concrete and seed new shapes for our relations and livelihoods.
Utopia? We think of utopia as the association between a critical vision of the status quo, and an imaginative projection of better worlds. Widening our vision, utopia inspires and informs present action. We are here to hear and dialogue with practitioners of utopia about the utopian visions populating our horizons, and about how concrete, ongoing, daily practices are unfolding in relation to those desires.
Since urban spaces typically host deep inequalities and systemic violence, among humans as well as in relation to other species, to the ecosystem, and to the planet as a whole, we brought into conversation a variety of social practices oriented by an alternative vision for the city and all its dwellers – humans and more than humans. We want to hear and learn from in-progress utopias working toward making cities inclusive, healthy, and prosperous: integrated ecosystems.
Please, feel more than welcome to join our conversation with your comments, questions, ideas, provocations.
Noa Cykman, Elisa Privitera (Lizzy), Jussara D’Agostim, Margot Jeanne, and Cole Rainey
Marcos José Abreu, Florianópolis City Council, head of the “Agroecological City Councelor Mandate”
Margot Jeanne Cohen, Carmen Mariscal, and Ana Mariscal
Maxime Zaït, co-founder of Communa and STUN
Tony Barbero, Ash Valenti, and Noa Cykman, UC Santa Barbara
Cole Rainey, (Berkeley Agroecology Lab, Berkeley Student Farms, and Gill Tract Community Farm)
Mariane Gonçalves and Bianca Milano
Simone Haarbosch, Maria Kaufmann, and Sietske Veenman, Radboud University
Jussara Dagostim, Federal Institute of Santa Catarina (IFSC)