Chris N. Lesser
- Sembrando Sentido
Forests for the English to See: Looking for the Effects of Environmental Legislation in Modern Brazil
Sanctioning practices ostensibly beneficial to the environment while criminalizing others that apparently degrade it, Brazil’s post-1988 legislation has indelibly shaped the meaning of environmental care. Yet Brazil’s most progressive environmental laws have also served to authorize social and environmental violence. Employing archival, archaeological, and ethnographic research, this project demonstrates that empirical effects of environmental law have often diverged from statutory assumptions. Laws have prescribed “preservation” that in effect opens a path to dispossession of diverse socio-ecologies by land speculation and commercial agriculture. Rather than instances of poorly designed, or perhaps disingenuous, legislation, these contradictory outcomes reveal the limitations of juridical efforts to reverse the kinds of socio-ecological harm often associated with deforestation. This project explores how current forms of ecological authority have perpetuated, and in fact naturalized, environmental violence, and looks for other socio-ecological relationships capable of effecting repair for damaged environments.
Appointed as Research Manager, Sembrando Sentido
Sembrando Sentido is a non-profit organization that seeks to harvest knowledge, tools and inspiration to strengthen efforts for more transparent, fair, inclusive and efficient government practices in Puerto Rico. The organization drives government reform by making Puerto Rico’s government data truly open and building knowledge and power in our communities to improve, monitor and safeguard the use of public resources. The Research Manager for Transformative Civic Empowerment will i) collaborate with organizations in the insertion of Puerto Rico into key indexes and research around civic empowerment, democracy, and governance, and ii) use qualitative and quantitative research methods to design and carry-out innovative research that can help address unique factors inherent in present colonial structures, and that affect or limit civic empowerment for social and economic justice. This research will help stakeholders monitor progress on governance and democracy efforts in Puerto Rico and raise awareness around persisting challenges.