Pollution Is Colonialism

224 pages

English language

Published May 7, 2021 by Duke University Press.


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4 stars (3 reviews)

In Pollution Is Colonialism Max Liboiron presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as practices that can align with or against colonialism. They point out that even when researchers are working toward benevolent goals, environmental science and activism are often premised on a colonial worldview and access to land. Focusing on plastic pollution, the book models an anticolonial scientific practice aligned with Indigenous, particularly Métis, concepts of land, ethics, and relations. Liboiron draws on their work in the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR)—an anticolonial science laboratory in Newfoundland, Canada—to illuminate how pollution is not a symptom of capitalism but a violent enactment of colonial land relations that claim access to Indigenous land. Liboiron's creative, lively, and passionate text refuses theories of pollution that make Indigenous land available for settler and colonial goals. In this way, their methodology demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible but is …

2 editions

Toward Anticolonial Science

4 stars

Max Liboiron presents the work of their research group CLEAR, in Newfoundland, with a focus on research into plastic pollution in the bodies of fish. This begins a complex journey through a history of how acceptable levels of pollution were first estimated, to how current research still uses this history despite its inaccuracy, to how this research can be improved, including ideas, thoughts and perspectives from many (not only colonial) scientific perspectives.

Liboiron is a storyteller and an adept researcher, picking the right moments to highlight issues that help emphasise the value of CLEAR's research. They are also a very witty writer, which helps take the sting from the heavier academic sections. The resultant book is hopeful but critical, and the critique is aimed at many areas, including colonial science and environmental action, among other areas. In the end, the long introduction is not really necessary, as the three strong …

Practical and generous

5 stars

I'm really glad I read this before going into a PhD program in an environmental sciences school. Max does a wonderful job of laying out the colonial assumptions baked into a lot of even well-intentioned environmental science and examples of how her lab at Memorial University works to challenge those assumptions while still engaging in rigorous, peer-reviewed research. One of the most accessible academic books I've read in a while.

avatar for tanaisie@wyrms.de

rated it

4 stars