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In times of international instability and uncertainty, all eyes turn towards securing the basic necessities for a safe and stable human life: accessible food systems, shelter, water, and state security that facilitates human security. When considering the resources of today’s world, however, experts see trouble brewing on our horizon. From a changing climatic system to political turmoil, massive agricultural systems, weather and migration patterns, and essential physical infrastructures, longstanding and consistent resource systems and supplies now teeter on the brink of collapse. In recent months, as video footage of consumers frantic to acquire basic household goods such as vegetables, produce, and bathroom tissue illustrate, disruptions to basic food systems and global supply chains send deep reverberations through even the most advanced Western economies, destabilizing social and political norms once assumed to be universal or immutable. Nowhere are these impacts felt more today than by the marginalized members of a state, where power imbalances of gender, race, language, and religion, exacerbate existing inequalities, divisions, and social tensions.
This Global insights panel critically examines and questions the use and disappearance of the essential resources needed to sustain modern ways of life, probing into their scarcity, sustainability, and security, going forth. Can we continue as ‘normal’, or will we be faced with drastic change?
Andrea M. Collins is Assistant Professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo and a Faculty Member at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her research focuses on gender, land and food politics in the global political economy. Her research work has been published in Journal of Peasant Studies, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Journal of Agrarian Change, and Globalizations.
Garrett Graddy-Lovelace researches and teaches agricultural and environmental policy and agrarian politics at American University’s School of International Service in Washington DC (Piscataway traditional territory). Drawing on community-based research-action, she studies agrobiodiversity conservation, antiracist land tenure and use decision-making, Cuban agrarian cooperatives, supply management and price support policies, agroecology and food sovereignty movements, farmer to farmer agricultural extension, and other topics related to the domestic and international impact of US agricultural governance. She has three special issues out this year (on the Farm Bill in Renewable Agriculture & Food System, on Authoritarian Populism and Emancipatory Rural Politics in Journal of Rural Studies, and on learning from Black Freedom Farmers Movement in Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems & Community Development) and a forthcoming book with MIT (The Power of Seeds & Politics of Agricultural Biodiversity), related to an NSF SESYNC Pursuit “Agrobiodiverse Pathways to Nourishment.” She has a PhD in Geography from University of Kentucky, a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a BA from Yale.
Tim Wegenast is an Interim Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz, Germany. His work lies at the intersection of development economics, international political economy, and peace and conflict studies. In the last years, he has done extensive research on how the use and governance of natural resources (including minerals, oil and agricultural land) affects local livelihoods and social conflict.
Moderated by Ann Fitz-Gerald, BSIA Director.