The final assault on nature: how the environmental crisis reinforces the civilizational crisis in Colombia

Ringo Ossewaarde, Samuel Steinhorst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Drawing on fieldwork, this article investigates the interplay between the environmental and civilizational crisis at the dawn of the Anthropocene. We explain how in the lower Cauca region in Colombia, possibilities of overcoming the environmental crisis are crushed by power constellations that delegitimize traditional ecological alternatives to extractive systems of governance and production. These alternatives are Indigenous and peasant knowledges and practices, which emerge from ontologies preceding and or later resisting European conquest and exploitation. Ecological alternatives may delineate paths to overcome the mastery of nature and subsequent environmental crisis, but they are under threat. Indeed, by privatizing and destroying ecosystems and violently displacing subsistence communities, extractivism is effectively eradicating entire cultures, valuable ecological knowledge, and perpetuating human suffering on a massive scale.
We seek to explain how this process unfolds and also to identify possibilities for intervention and the empowerment of traditional ecological alternatives in the lower Cauca region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-532
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • ecological alternatives
  • environmental and civilizational crisis
  • extractivism
  • ndigenous and campesino communities
  • traditional ecological knowledge
  • Anthropocene


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