Abstract 1

“Anthropology, Culture and Environmentalism”

Kay Milton


While the article was successful in noting the contributions that Anthropology, and its study of human cultures can provide while looking to solve environmental problems, it did not provided examples of tangible results of applied solution derived as a consequence of this studies. The author provides two opposite cultural groups; ecosystem people and biosphere people, and she does a good job in marking with examples the differences of utilization and therefor impact in their respective environments, but it does not specify how the individual study of these two cultures can provide a concrete solution and if this would work for both groups. She provides some definitions and examples for the words “anthropology” and “culture” to give insight as to the relevance between the two terms and the study of human environment relations; however, she does not commit to a concise definition of culture, leaving its interpretation open to an extensive pool of collective definitions that can become overwhelming. The article helped me understand the scope of Anthropology’s studies, and its relevance to find solutions of environmental problems. However, I detected a lack on examples or tangible proof of any methods put in place to resolve environmental problems that are a direct result of the anthropologist studies of human culture. The article was clear on the message it wanted to convey; the usefulness of anthropology’s studies in human cultural behavior to solve environmental problems. However, it offer too many definitions and scenarios that made the article at times a bit overwhelming.


Abstract 2

“Smallholders, Householders”

Robert Netting


Netting focuses his attention on the agriculture productivity and sustainability of two agricultural spheres; smallholders and householders and compares them with large scale industries. The author presents that smallholders and householders are capable of producing not only biological sustainability but economic wealth as well, in spite of previous believes on the contrary. Netting’s explanation on the success of sustainability by smallholders focuses on the knowledge of their land, and the capability to adapt to the changes in their environment and householders on their different strategies of productions. For example, smallholders do not use as much renewable energy, instead they increase the labor to compensate. He determines that due to their extensive experience dealing with their land and environment, they are able to use their resources for production without risking the integrity of the environment and avoiding ecological damage. Netting attempts to show light on self-sufficiency from the part of smallholders and to point out that biological sustainability and profit can be obtain with hard work and knowledge without the need of large industrial intervention. He also states that the intervention of Industrialization does not necessary translates into success. The author’s article is very clear at conveying his argument, sufficient information was used to prove the point. Netting’s findings present the importance to seek the knowledge of social groups or small householders when trying to maintain sustainability. One can find that this argument resonate also with the topic addressing the effects of maquiladoras to the environment in Mexico. The maquiladora industry claims to use green products in order to limit the deterioration of the environment, however without the knowledge of the land how can they provide accurate results.


Abstract 3

“Gender and the Environment”

Dianne Rocheleau, Barbara Thomas-Slayter, and Esther Wangari

The authors Rocheleau et. al. presents the notion that gender roles have a direct effect on our environment. Rocheleau provides a new theory called Feminist Political Ecology which treats gender as the major contributor into determining who has access or control of the natural resources. Dianne Rocheleau and co-authors state that Feminist political ecology take 3 frameworks into consideration; gendered knowledge, gendered environmental rights and responsibilities, and gendered environmental politics and grassroots activism. The authors present a scenario in which it is deducted that the division on hierarchical roles between man and women, result in a lack of access to extensive resources. The article describes the notion that women have been culturally condition to be nurturers, therefore, would be more concern with the conservation of nature. The authors present an interest prospective on the effects good or bad experienced in the environment in which identifying women as closer to nature, thus making them better equipped to set forward preventive measures. The article grasp the issue of environmental concern and divides it by gender and the proximity that each has to nature according to culture norms. Mexico’s borders have been flooded with industrial maquiladoras which bring pollution to the area. Rocheleau et.al. theory would agree that foreign industrialization has taken advantage of Mexico’s patriarchal history, allowing for the lack of resources needed to fulfilled work demands for women. In Mexican culture men are viewed as head of household, capable of managing the demands of labor. On the other hand women are assumed weak, considered, thoughtful and unlikely candidates to make decisions seeking productivity benefits above rights.


Abstract 4

“So its Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?”

Sherry B. Ortner


In the article, So its Female to Male as Nature to Culture? The author, Sherry B. Ortner, analyzes her previously published article due to the extensive criticism it received. In the earlier piece, the author acknowledged that universal male dominance exists due to the link established between male and culture through production and women and nature through reproduction. Critics disagreed stating her concepts did not prove that male dominance was in fact universal; therefore, Ortner decided to revisit her concepts and analyze her stance in depth. The author approaches the task by arguing against her own previous paper citing male universal dominance. To validate her argument, Ortner analyzed other authors’ theories, such as Leacock’s that states that the absence of egalitarianism doesn’t mean it is nonexistent, and concludes that not all cultures believe that culture dominates over nature. She believes that it is not accurate to state that male dominance has, at its core, a male to female or culture to nature relationship. She also points out that males may hold more positions of power than women, however, is not always intentional and happens even in egalitarian cultures. The author conducts a comparative study, focusing on the Andaman Islanders, and the ones she compared them too, such as Wana of Central Sulawesi and the Meratus of Kalimantan. Ortner does a good job of addressing the critics concerns and successfully gives the readers a different way to look at the culture—nature from the dominant and egalitarian approach. In Mexican culture, and specifically in the economic level, maquiladoras that limit the work to women have unknowingly contribute to the rise of women as sole bread winners and in some cases head of house hold. Proving Ortner’s argument that arguing against universal male dominance.


Abtract 5

“Chronically Unstable Bodies: Reflections on Amazonian Corporalities”

Aparecida Vilaca


In the article, Chronically Unstable Bodies: Reflections on Amazonian Corporalities, Aparecida Vilaca argues that some individuals’ issue is that it is difficult to recognize, establish, and maintain a culture-nature divide. The author chooses to report on the beliefs and some of the practices of the Amazonian people, the “Wari’” in particular. To back up the argument she makes in her article, Vilaca’s study of the Wari’ reveals their belief in culture-nature as an interconnected and interchangeable phenomenon. For instance, their use of the word “Kwere” to describe many things; from the body of an animal which one would consider part of nature, to the actions of a woman that can be considered culture, while blurring the line between them with the use of one word for both terms. In the article, one can perceive that the Wari’s considered culture-nature interchangeable by observing Vilaca’s statement that notes that a Shaman may see a fellow Wari as animal prey and kill him, establishing a transformation from human to animal. The author does find evident that, considering the experiences of the Wari, we cannot speak of nature without taking into account culture; however, I believe we cannot understand the extent of the connection between them due to the different prospective of life and all things living that each person possess. The article helps to shed light into the different perspectives that can be taken into consideration while trying to understand and study the possible connection between human culture and the effects it has to the environment. The maquiladora industry for example, has dumped chemical waste and pollutants within close proximity to communities. As a foreign company, they fail to understand the human relation between the environment and its inhabitants. Therefore, environmental assessments that evaluate the health risk due to contamination within the area do not take into consideration human interaction with the environment.


Abstract 6

“Ethics Primer for University Students Intending to Become Natural Resource Managers and Administrators”

Richard J. McNeil


In the article, Ethics Primer for University Students Intending to Become Natural Resource Managers and Administrators, author Richard J. McNeil puts into prospective the way philosophers and non-philosophers can act or take a stand on issues depending on their own ethical theories; however, he notes that it’s difficult to decide on a specific standard theory to be applied to all situations due to the polarized nature of people’s stance of right and wrong behavior and the lack of knowledge on ethical concepts. To help educate, he provides us with various theories of ethical prospective such as Consequentialism (most good for the most people), Rule-based (responsibilities and duties), Right-based (moral rights), Institutionalism (because is the right thing to do), and Virtue ethics (right behavior based on virtues). He notes that although ethical theories are design to provide a framework by which we can reach ethical intelligent conclusions, it is hard to find one in particular that can uniformly apply to every situation. McNeil questions if we could choose a theory based solely on human morals or should we extend the community to include plants, animals, nature, etc. He cautions that dilemmas can arise when an individual is torn between two right possible actions, and demonstrates by asking what decision should an individual make if he encounters a dying pheasant whether it should be allowed die naturally or should one perform a mercy killing. McNeil’s article illustrates the importance of individuals to educate themselves on moral ethical theories and to be able to make educated and efficient management decisions. He does a good job on explaining every concept and presenting possible scenarios to drive the message home. The article can be extended to explain the lack of proficiency by which some of the industrial systems operate. When the decision to provide a standard ethical measures to all maquiladoras industries, it fails to function. The reason lays on the various sets of considerations that need to be take into account. Such as location, population, culture, and any variations due to region.


Abstract 7

“A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”

Donna Haraway


Through her manifesto, author Donna Haraway argues that it is difficult to separate culture and nature because it is hard to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. She proposes that we, human beings, are “cyborgs–the result of a machine and organism constantly merging or fictitious beings that drive our social and bodily reality.” The author presents how cyborgs have become a present force of manipulation in science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the twentieth century. To clarify her argument, she chooses a metaphorical approach by which she explains that the world of “cyborgs” consist on an effort to achieve ultimate control over the planet. Haraway introduces her second and most important argument: the control of male domination over women’s bodies and minds. Haraway manifesto is a revolt of the way humans have allowed “machines”, as she describes technology, to become an essential part of their lives rending them incompetent without them. Unfortunately, the author’s objective was lost in translation due to the extensive selection of metaphor. It was extremely hard to decipher the exact message allowing room for speculation depending on one’s own interpretation of the material she presented. A contrast of relevant metaphors followed by clearer explanations would have helped the reader understand her argument better. I believe that although Haraway failed to rely the message, she was able to incite very fruitful conversations and debates which gave way to the analysis of the effects of technology on human socialization. The maquiladora industry has become indispensable for the survival of Mexican workers, and even though their practices and unfair treatment leave a lot to be desired they continue to endure to live. Transforming industrialization and machinery an extension on their existence.


Abstract 8

“What Does Population have to do with It?”

Author Unknown


The article argues that Thomas Malthus’s prediction that the rapid population growth will eventually surpass the capability of the environment to produce sustenance for the population resulting in starvation is incorrect. Malthus’s theory fails to take into consideration a few aspects that would influence environmental food production: electricity, hormonal birth control, nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides, and mechanical agriculture (1). Unavailable when Malthus wrote his article in the 1700’s. The article provides various authors’ interpretation of studies that present other variables contributing to the starvation to population ratio other than growth; this includes: Mathematical Biologist Joel Cohen who writes how “Malthus has been wrong for nearly two centuries” (1), based on the fact that Malthus could of never predicted that all the technological advances (electricity, birth control, fertilizers, etc.) would actually help increase agricultural production. Another author’s thesis, Novel-Prize winning economist Amartya Sen, states that current cases of starvation are as a consequence of political and economic inequalities, not growth. The tragedy in Bengal, British India that killed over three million people due to starvation took place during the best year of production of rice and wheat–legitimizing the articles claim and the bases of the authors mentioned. It also points out the unmaterialized predictions made by American biologist Paul Elrich on his best seller, The Population Bomb , warning of impending mass starvation and urged population growth control helped bring attention to environmental and population issues in spite of its controversy. The article helps the reader see that to accurately measure the impact of human population in environmental sustainability, we would have to consider the social aspects that affect a human population and their relationship with the environment. The arrival of maquiladoras to the borders of Mexico, created a migration phenomenon of individuals that travel seeking work. The population in the area grew, however, with growth Mexico’s borders also begin to look for ways to improve their products. Due to the demand of increase traffic, new roads were created. Crops were treated to be able to grow faster in order to re-cultivate and produce. The authors findings can me backed by Mexico’s migration patterns and sustainability.


Abstract 9

“7 Billion And Counting”

David Bloom


In 7 Billion and Counting, David Bloom argues that there will be a rapid increase in population in the centuries to come noting that the population will grow seventy eight million by 2011; nevertheless, he is skeptical of the ability to accurately measure the data. The projections seem to vary depending on the variations considered: low, medium, and high fertility measures; urbanization levels; and the classification of developed or undeveloped regions. To help explain his point, he provides the reader with different findings like the medium-fertility projections provided by the Population Division of the Department of Economics and Social Affairs of the United Nations, which shows that population will increase to 10.1 billion by 2100; however, he acknowledges that the former estimations are questionable and new projections by the UN Population Division that take into consideration low and high fertility projections estimated a low of 6.2 billion and a high of 15.8 billion in 2100. The author allows us to see the fluctuation on population projections and some of the variables that may affect the findings. The author also informs us that by 2050 undeveloped countries such as China, India, and Nigeria will be the most populated. Developed countries such as the United States, Russia, and Japan will maintain a steady number in population. Bloom acknowledges that there can be variation within each region as well depending on what is described as urbanized. Although Bloom saturated the article with numerical data, making it less clear to decipher it did help to initiate a conversation about the possible causes and effects of population growth. Blooms article can be better explained by visiting some of the scenarios that Mexico’s maquiladora workers encounter, altering his argument of population growth and validating his skepticism. For example: consider this, due to toxins and contamination waste produce by maquiladoras, the health risk for women have increase. The health risk they encounter affects their ability to reproduce, hence population growth halters.


Abstract 10


Ravi Rajan

Ravi Rajan argues that environmental degradation is influenced by corporate wealth and their ability to buy their way into illegal practices without any concern for the environment or human life. To explain, Rajan discusses an incident in Bhopal, India: a multinational Union Carbide Company whose factory had a gas leak that resulted in the deaths of thousands and health problems to the survivors. The company’s indifference to high risk possibilities of a catastrophe due to unsafe conditions derived from greed and higher profit objectives. Wealthy corporations that look to increase profit do not worry about casualties, deeming them a side effect attributed to business and progress. One of Rajan’s arguments, is that wealth can be a tool to acquire policy changes that can benefit production profits and environmental devastation is not considered into the equation. The author seeks to understand how such a devastating disaster can be dismissed and forgotten with such ease and which factors prevented this event from becoming news coverage, resulting in a short lifecycle. The author believes this is possible, in part, due to a culture that has accepted corporate disconnection from human well-being. Harold Burson’s article explains that having a “corporation conscience” is not part of its executive’s job description and that such job is relinquished to the relations officer. Rajan’s presents Burson’s corporate approach to business in which he believes corporations cannot resort to good deeds while compensating for failures; the corporation’s responsibility is to expand company’s profits. Rajan’s message is clear and has provided numerous examples to base his argument. The article provides a glance into corporate practices and cultural norms conducive of this behavior. Unfortunately, this practices are all too common. For example, when foreign investments showed interest on Mexico, the government was all too willing to make the incentives as appealing as possible. Maquiladoras then were introduced into the country, and with them loose regulations that would allow for no accountability. Compliance was not a hard decision, when the foreign companies threaten with withdrawing their business if regulations weren’t favorable. Powerful companies writing their writing their own contracts.



Abstract 11

“The Concept and Method of Cultural Ecology”

Julian Steward


The author, Julian Steward, argues that cultural ecology is different from social and human ecology studies, relativistic, and neo-evolutionist conceptions. According to Steward, cultural ecology focuses on the way the changes in the environment cause a change on the particularities of cultures creating their evolution and helping them coexist with an ever-changing environment. Steward notes that for culture to successfully evolve, there would have to be a possibility for individual members to adapt to change. The author explains that although societies may have the same technological equipment their social patterns may not be the same; therefore, adapting to the environment differs due to the environment itself is different. He points out three procedures: first, analysis of interrelationship of productive technology and environment; second, behavior patterns of a particular area by way of technology; third, asserting the extent that pattern behaviors explores the effect of the environment on other aspects of culture. To back his argument Steward offers the example of the Eskimo and the Nevada Shoshoni, in which he notes that the way they hunt using bows, spears, traps, and other technological devices differs between this two groups in accordance with their size and social composition (individual hunt of an animal or as a group). Basically, their cultural environment is different by size and composition, therefore the way technological devices are needed is different. The author provides many definitions of cultural ecology, and proposes that society’s ability to adapt to changes is the origin of evolving cultures, It is not very clear if the changes of the environment have also merit on the evolution of culture. The article’s attempt to explain how evolving cultures come about has some correlation with my e-portfolio argument. The way society adapts to the changes forces them to evolve within their environment, however, the adaptations may not be similar. Such in the case of maquiladora workers, the cultural adaptations they underwent differed depending on their particular resources and locations. Even though their circumstances and technology devices were similar, the way each group adapted resulted on different levels of cultural evolution.


Abstract 12

“View from A Point: Ethnoecology as Situated Knowledge”

Virginia D. Nazarea


The author, Virginia Nazarea, highlights Harold Conklin’s literature and focuses more specifically on the seminar “the ethnological approach”. According to Nazarea, Conklin’s wrote the seminar to discredit the prevailing believe that deemed cultivation as a way making a living as archaic and un-useful. The author notes that with his seminar Conklin’s created confusion that led to numerous research papers and investigations. All of which aimed to study the relationship between natives and their environment, in order to seek merit to his argument. According to Nazarea, the various studies did not make believers out of their authors, which did not find local knowledge to be relevant. In her article Nazarea presents Conklin’s arguments that calls for understanding of local knowledge and the relationship with their environment. Nazarea’s argument focuses in two approaches to local understanding: the first, presented by Conklin which according to her places its attention on local knowledge; the second, by Breedlove Berlin “approach strives to demonstrate the primacy of perceptual universals in determining patterns of classification” (96). The author does a good job in presenting the argument noting the importance to consider local or native knowledge to the environment which is based on their personal living experiences. She presented that it is best to recognized native understanding of the environment and use it in conjunction with western systems, and that power and politics influence some of this systems. I believe that this read parallels the situation within maquiladoras that I argue in my portfolio, politics and power influence the systems put in place to preserve the environment, focusing only on scientific information (which could be bias) without taking into account the knowledge that locals have on the particular area.


Abstract 13

“False Forest History”

James Fairhead and Melissa Leach


The authors, James Fairhead and Melissa Leach, present a counter–argument of the adopted notions inherited through paperwork, such as policy documents from citing that there is deforestation in the Kissidogou region in southern Guinea, and that this is due to the carelessness and mismanagement of land of its own inhabitants. One of the studies that the authors present to explain the inherited normative, states that the degradation of the forest considered to have grown exponential was attributed mainly to the exploitation of resources from its inhabitants. The use of fire in hunting has been identified as one of the calyces of forest degradation, and they recognized that the systems put in place to counteract degradation have not been fruitful. Fairhead and Leach set to seek that the normative believed for years is flawed and they present a counter-narrative stating that natives of Kissidogou have set up preventive measures to prevent forest degradation such as the creation of a forest island around their village, and further analysis has shown that changes and modernization have not impacted the forest and in fact the forest have maintain stable. The authors present empirical evidence such as; participant observations, narratives from the locals, and interviews that help challenge standard normative. I believe the authors did a good job presenting counter arguments and the explanations were clear. I can relate the information of my portfolio by noting that the natives of Kissidogou and the natives from Mexico that surround the maquiladora area, are both made responsible for the decay of the resources citing blame on their social interaction with the environment.


Abstract 14

“The Benefits of the Commons”

Berkes, D. Feeny, B.D. McCay, and J.M. Acheson


The Benefits of the Commons, were authors, F. Berkes,D. Feeny, B.D. McCay and J. M. Acheson debunk Hardin’s argument which states that the over exploitation of the commons lays on the system of its inhabitants that compels them “to increase their heard without limit” (152 Harnish et al.). Hardin notes that the only route to deal with the problem was the privatization of commons or government control, and another social organization to avoid ruin for all due to misuse of land by some within the commons. However, Berkes and his co-author’s dismissed the idea by submitting findings of studies of communal property systems that Hardin failed to consider. The authors acknowledge that it is easy to assume that common’s degradation can only be managed if common property is privatized. However, the authors focus is to bring to light the research that contradicts Hardin’s theory. First, they define the resources under consideration; second, they perform a taxonomy of property rights regime, then they summarized the selected studies. The studies bring to light the workings of communal-property and privatization limits of commons that Hardin failed to take into account. For example, they present the findings of a study in James Bay, Quebec, where hunters share communal property. Within this community the Beaver was an important part of existence for food and fur, which made it in danger of depletion. To avoid this phenomenon a new community-based system was created were families themselves protected each, a portion of the territory, ensuring sustainability use. The authors do a great job of presenting their argument, it is very clear and the examples provided to counter act Hardin’s arguments are valid. This article can relate to the situation natives of Mexico experience, their communal property are forced into privatization by the government in the pretense of preserving the environment and resources only to find themselves in worse situations.


Abstract 15

“Economic Growth and the Environment”

Theodore Panayotou


In the article Economic Growth and the Environment the author, Theodore Panayotou, proposes that environmental degradation movement has a correlation with downward and upward wealth mobility, which may require the implementation of policies to manage them. Although the author focuses on the theory of environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), which states that environmental degradation may increase or decrease as a country develops. He also suggest two other theories; the first one is that environmental degradation increases as a country’s wealth increases, this scenario would call for the implementation of environmental regulations and limits in wealth growth. The second theory, environmental degradation decreases as a county’s wealth increases, policies that support economic growth lead to environmental improvement, and no changes are needed. Although Panayotou believes that the EKC might be the one that fits best to measure the relationship between economic wealth and environmental degradation, he notes that regulations are needed across the board even when economic growth is present, in efforts to avoid devastating consequences. The author’s theory may bare some truth in some instances; however, I believe that there are more aspects needed to be taken into consideration, such as the fact that many developing countries export pollutants by wat of industrialization to other under-developed countries. This could influence the outcomes. It’s fair to question his theory, and ask if in the case of “pollution exportation” via trade, are manipulation tactics by wealthier countries in efforts to curve their pollution. Panayotou seems to offer a theory based solely taking into consideration capital; however, I believe it to be flawed. The argument of my e-portfolio is a perfect example; as I noted, the reason that under-developed countries environmental pollution might be higher could be due to the exportation of pollution by wealthier countries. Mexico’ highest areas pollution are those were the construction of foreign industry such as Maquiladoras was introduced. This is an example of a scenario that Panayotou fails to consider.


Abstract 16

“Land Tenure and REDD: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

Ann M. Larson, Maria Brockhaus, William D. Sunderlin, Amy Duchelle, Andrea Babon, Therese Dokken,Thu Thuy Pham, I.A.P. Resosudarmo, Galia Selaya, Abdon Awono, and Thu-Ba Huynh


In the article, the authors, Ann M. Larson et. al., focus on finding the circumstances by which REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, the plus refers to the carbon trading added to the program) program can become a threat to locals and to local rights groups. The authors investigate REDD+ methods to learn the risk as well as opportunities that the program could bring regarding land tenure. The authors shed light into the tenure problems that all countries face, and how they are now being addressed. They focus in the countries of Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and only national scale data form Peru. The authors utilize information from Center from International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Global Comparative Study (GCS) of REDD+, and data from 2009-2012 to present the finding in this article. For example, one of the risk factors considered was the claim by rights groups citing “No rights No REDD” due to the failure to secure a commitment to indigenous rights and forest individuals. The possibility of this risk leads rights advocates to believe that the “biggest land grab of all time” (509) is not far. The authors also present the concern which claims that REDD+ could aid private and more powerful companies from appropriating the land. On the other hand they note that some indigenous groups benefits from the financial incentives provided by REDD+, and that REDD+ at least raised the issue of land tenure to the surface. The author’s findings showed that although REDD+ was able to help most groups secure tenure rights at a local level, it was unable to help create a broader national tenure reform. Mix reviews were the result of the interviews, while some had some favorable opinions about the program, they felt that there was much to do. But others were mostly dissatisfied with the inability to negotiate. Therefore, they deduct that any meaningful change wouldn’t be likely. However, they note that Brazil has achieved the implementation of a national tenure reform program will serves to provide insight. I found the article very insightful and with appropriate information. This article can serve as another example of how programs that are in place to protect the most vulnerable can be flawed. Such in the case of the maquiladora workers that I describe in my e-portfolio, the deplorable conditions in which they work have given raise to advocacy groups seeking human rights. However, some of this groups which are mostly non-profit, end up receiving support or grants from the same companies they protest. This create conflict of interest and dissolves the workers trust.


Abstract 17

“Bottle Water: the Pure Commodity in the Age of Branding”

Richard Wilks


Richard Wilk’s article presents two arguments. First, he argues that the successful transformation of water which he notes “falls from the sky for free” and the ability to convert this free resource into a commercial commodity has not diffused debates regarding inequality and human rights. The inability of many countries to access clean water and the fact that there still is a high death rate due to water-borne disease predicts a grim future without resolution. Wilk’s second argument revolves around the notion that the prosperous international commercialization of water, is as much due to the government’s failure to fulfil public obligations, as it is the marketing teams that promote them. To back his arguments, he present how marketing strategies were designed specifically to present the allusion of the natural world concealed in a bottle. For example, he explains that individuals have made natural living a life style or a sign of status. Therefore, marketing firms have pride themselves in presenting the product with pictures of rivers or streams, given the allusion it’s the waters source. He notes that even though is impossible to notice if bottle water is “purer” than tap water, consumers have allowed marketing strategies to convince them of their claim with their unethical practices. Wilk’s article describes how bottle water has become internationally popular due to mainstream media, an expensive commodity and a symbol of social status. Richard Wilk’s describes how the public’s fear of the unknown have played a big role on the success of water commercialization. According to Wilk’s the public tends to trust the allusion of safety or natural than to “risk” not knowing the source per say of tap water. The article was very easy to read, Wilk’s argument was easily detected and his examples help understand his point. The arguments in this article can relate to those that could be made in regards of the products assembled by maquiladora workers. Commercialization has made the products main stream and popular, however the public has no knowledge of working conditions that are behind the scene.


Abstract 18

“German Far-right Extremists tap into Green Movement for Support”

Kate Connolly


In the article German far-right extremists tap into green management for support the author, Kate Connolly, presents the argument that shows that the popular conception that paired eco-friendliness with nice left-leaning greens has ended. According to Connolly the right-wing extremists have discovered new interest on ecological movement, and decided to start publishing their own conservation magazines. Connolly notes that the right-wing’s new magazine contains regular articles such gardening tips, and articles citing the dangers of genetically modify products, all expected to be found in standard ecological magazines. However, among the pages of this magazines and between the articles, the author describes that right-wing ideology, and racist slurs are being introduced. The article notes that after the magazine was finished being reviewed by the Bavaria’s Domestic Intelligence, they described it to be a “camouflage publication” for the National Democratic Party (NPD) (Connolly np). The NPD is the supporter of the magazine. Connolly cites Gudrun Heinrich (of the University of Rostock) which eloquently summarizes the reality of the situation by noting, “…the term bio [organic] does not automatically mean equality and human dignity” (np). The right-wing realized that to reach a broader audience and recruit prospect new tactics were needed. Connolly describes how as a response to some criticism from political scientist that accused them of attempting to shift the ecological practices from the left. Right-wings like Hans-Gunter Laimor question the difference of his products from the products from an individual from the green party. The article describes comments from a member of the Centre for Democratic Culture, the member stated that the purpose of the magazine was to deter the association between the NPD and politics, to become more acceptable within the public and facilitate establishing connections. The author states that to help organic farmers minimize confusion and unknowingly allow fascist into their practices, the Department of Rural Enlightenment produces brochures. Unfortunately, Connolly concludes with the realization that rather the ideology is ethical or not, nothing can be done to prevent it. The article is very interesting, however she does not make her position clear. This article can relate to my e-portfolio due to the way unethical, discriminatory, fascist, or inhumane practices or propaganda can be made within Mexico’s maquiladoras sector and no action can be taken.


Abstract 19

“But I Know is true”

Melissa Checker


In the article But I Know is true, the author, Melissa Checker focuses on the issues of science, environment, and justice. Through this article, Checker argues that environmental science does not always translate into environmental justice, especially in areas were minorities and high levels of poverty is prevalent. To validate her argument the author recounts an environmental injustice committed against the residents, mostly minority living in Hyde Park area in Augusta, Georgia. The author notes that the core of the injustice, was the failure on the part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify a correlation between health decline and the high levels of contaminants. Checker notes that the residents of Hyde Park area, attributed the high levels of health deceases to environmental contaminants render by the unethical disposal of hazardous chemicals from Industries located in surrounding the area. The author notes that the environmental justice movement that aroused brought attention to the issue of hazardous material dumping in minority neighborhoods. She credits this new attention with the expansion of the definition of environment, which now included rights such: housing, education, or employment previously denied to them. The author describes how the failure from EPA to take many aspects into consideration when conducted the scientific testing; for example, the samples taken for testing were collected from the surface of the soil. However, throughout the years industrial companies have dumped new soil on top of contaminated old soil in attempts to “counteract” a reaction to the chemicals. This questions of the accuracy of the sample, rending a negative or low level of pollutants. She also notes that the samples were studied in different environment to that which was natural to them, given room for variables. Checker is efficient at putting justice and science into prospective, and brought to light the need to understand and learn how this two factors are affected cross-culturally if we are to improve them. In my portfolio I note how the Mexican government facilitates norms and permits and turns a blind eye to unethical practices by industries that set camp within the vicinity of impoverish neighborhoods. Understanding that the risk for push back by the habitants is unlikely due to lack of financial resources.





Abstract 20

“Neoliberal Conservation”

Jim Igoe and Dan Brockington


In the article Neoliberal Conservation the authors, Igoe and Brockington are careful to point out not only the problems that neoliberalism brought to the environment even at attempting conservation, but also made sure to contrast with a few of the benefits or contributions that neoliberalism brought. They first describe the purpose of neoliberal conservation, which promises to offer democracy to be able to abolish restrictive state practices that impede progress; the protection of rural communities and their rights, green business practices, and conservational consciousness for westerners. The authors note that to begin to undertake conservation we should be as knowledgeable in the social side of conservation as the ecological side. Igoe and Brockington provides a very level-headed argument against neoliberal conservation but acknowledge its few successes. Rather than flatly condemn neoliberalism as a whole, the authors acknowledge that there have been instances where a switch to neoliberal strategies has actually been effective in conservation. However, there have been many more cases where the opposite has been the case. The authors also point out that neoliberalism almost never automatically aids the environment or locals, which has been its claim all along. Rather than the privatization and commodification of the environment fostering a climate where everyone has opportunity to economically thrive, neoliberalism tends to create a climate of intense competition, creating inequalities. Focusing on the premises of the article we can tie the maquiladora industry by noting that neoliberal conservation is presented initially as the number one selling point while in acquiring permits for construction. The promise of democracy although promising very hard to achieve with Mexico’s known back door deals.


Abstract 21

“La Industria Maquiladora en Tijuana: Riesgo Ambiental y Calidad de Vida”

Elizabeth Mendez Mungaray


According to the author, Elizabeth Mendez Mungaray, environmental politics have provoked exponential growth of Industrial maquiladoras in Mexico that has resulted in very high levels of contamination for its inhabitants. Mungaray notes that “the rapid growth of the cities, supersedes the states capacity to provide the infrastructure capable of minimizing the risk and negative effects on the population environment” (np). She describes how the effects of pollution have caused greater environmental and health damages to the most vulnerable social groups, and states that this phenomenon should bring an urgency to establish better environmental studies and implement more effective and realistic solutions. To validate her argument, Mungaray performs a preliminary diagnostic of the changes on the environment and the quality of life that Maquiladoras have cost the population. Specifically to those located in Nueva Tijuana Noroeste, her study is comprise of three stages: first, highlighting some history on maquiladoras located along the border; second, noting specific environmental risk arousing due to their establishment; and lastly, conducting a field study within the industrial zone. She selected cases and interviewed individuals affected by pollutants and conducted an evaluation of the finding in order validate her claim. She acknowledges the reason why there is no urgency for such detail studies, is in part due to the complicated relationship of culture and nature within the country. Excessive human consumption, exponential population growth and the desire to be part of an industrialized world has made it difficult to keep up with the containment of contamination levels. The author is clear in her argument and has been successful in providing information on the subject. The article ties closely with my e-portfolio, which is based on the real consequences that the Maquiladora industry has brought to Mexico and its population. Mungaray’s article provides more information on the subject that helped expand my research. She has visited some of the categories my topic has touched, such as the health effects on the populations living within close proximity and the damage of chemical waste on natural resources, and argues some of the same points.


Abstract 22

“The Transfer of Core-based Hazardous Production Processes to the Export Processing Zones of the Periphery: The Maquiladora Centers of Northern Mexico”

  1. Scott Frey


In the journal, the author R. Scott Frey notes that Transnational Corporations (TNC’s) practice the transfer of waste into the peripheral zones of the world (such as Latin America) to maintain their own “carrying capacity”. Frey attributes this to the “free zones” of the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) put in place by peripheral countries to attract the export industry. These “free zones” offer few regulations on production practices, and bestow other concessions which motivated TNC’s to move production to countries where the margin of profit in greater, and accountability is lax due to lacking regulatory practices. The author’s objective is to provide a “provisional mapping” (318) of the contour regarding this environmental issues. To do so, he examines the known claims regarding the causes, consequences, and political responses due to the transfer of hazardous industries to maquiladoras located along the Mexican border. He weighs in cost and benefits of such practices, and reviews studies provided by Chief Lawrence Summers the Chief Economist of the World Bank which differ from those of Grossman and Krueger, Princeton Economist. His examination consist of 5 stages which help him evaluate the cost and benefits of industrial maquiladoras. First, description of Mexico’s and US border area; second, political and economic factors driving the hazardous material transfer to these border locations; third, health, safety, environmental risk, and contributing factors increased due to the location of the maquiladoras; forth, an attempt to “critically evaluate the increasingly privileged neoliberal contention” (318) claiming that the process that this TNC’s performed is in fact beneficial to both, the transnational country and the export country. The fifth and final stage encompasses a meticulous examination of the emerging political responses to this issues. Although Frey’s journal does not offer a viable solution to the problem, he does a good job describing some of the environmental issues industries can produce. As well as the difficulties to counter act the environmental effects that may arouse due to the inability to compromise to acknowledge there is an issue. This journal help me provide a synthesized description of some free trade treaties such NAFTA and to understand how the procedures of waste dump are evaluated.


Abstract 23

“Región Ambiental Dos Casos Paradigmáticos: La Frontera México-Estados Unidos y el Proyecto Cascadia”

Miriam Alfie Cohen


In the article the author, Miriam Alfie Cohen intents to show how from the time the globalization project was put into effect, various kinds of environmental regions have been generated in North America. The author describes in detail the environmental characteristics presented by the regions of the North American border as well as the environmental features of the Cascadia Project. Cohen argues that a close look into how this two areas would give way to conduct analysis concentrated on the principal points of environmental degradation and sustainability while improving economic growth. It would also serve as a guide to recognize the environmental challenges and how each region chooses to undertake them. In order to back her argument the author examines how various factors affect the environment in the Mexican border; such as the relationship between culture-nation of the region, the introduction of technologic advances, consumerism, population growth, and the need for economic relive that encouraged industrialization. She also examines the contrasting guidelines by which the Cascadia Project has manage to establish, the eco-cultural movement that allows for the maintenance and protection of the natural resources. The Cascadia project has manage to keep the business and investment relationship between Canada and United States while achieving environmental protection. She describes how it is imperative to understand how all of these factors could lead to the implementation of realistic and effective counter action plans. The author notes how the establishment of maquiladoras along the border of the Mexico have been the main producer of pollutants in the region, leading to environmental decay, and she calls for cooperation between nations to be able to achieve it. The author has successfully established a very detail account of the factors involving both contrasting cases. I believe that her article has backed some of the arguments I establish in my e-portfolio in regards to the maquiladora’s contribution to environmental decay and pollution and has help fill in details not covered by some of the other articles.


Abstract 24

“La Construccion de un “Entorno” Institucional de Apoyo a la Industria Maquiladora en la Frontera Norte de Mexico”

Diego Hugo Villavicencio; Monica Casalet


In the essay “La Construccion de un “Entorno” Institucional de Apoyo a la Industria Maquiladora en la Frontera Norte de Mexico” the authors, Diego Villavicencio and Monica Casalet provide an analysis of the process of some elements of the construction of Institutional environment along the border Industry zone from the State of Chihuahua’s dynamics and ways to promote competitive development of maquiladoras. To do so they would will first establish a conceptual discussion of what the “environment” constitutes. Secondly they present empiric finding about the “environment” construction from the Northern border from the examples form the state of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. The authors warn that the characterization made about the “environment” is to be taken as an exploratory hypothesis in regards to a recent construction of a space they have recognized to have innovative potential in response to technological advancement and new markets. Essentially the authors objective is to understand and find the different factors that give way for profitable markets and the successful expansion of globalization, which was accomplished by analyzing the process that comprise its construction. While the authors provide and extensive array of tables explaining the functions of some of the processes involved, I found that their objective was at times a bit confusing. However, a lot of important points were made clear enough to understand them. The essay give me a contrasting way of looking at the Maquiladora Industry and its effects. The authors will help balance some of the points I highlight in my e-portfolio, and can help explain how government institutions turn a blind eye to many of the environmental concerns in the name of progress.


Abstract 25

“Gender as a Vehicle for Subordination of Women Maquiladora Workers in Mexico”

Kathryn Kopinak


In the article the author, Kathryn Kopinak, analyses literature that shows a division on maquiladora’s role in regards to women workers, in order to find if arguments that claim that capital takes advantage of Mexico’s patriarchy to exploit women have merit. Kopinak recognizes two distinct arguments, the first argument is that of “critics” which agree with the premises that foreign capital takes advantage of Mexican Patriarchy to exploit women; the second argument is that of “apologists” which countered that the ability to provide women with employment has actually help them by extending opportunities to increase their power and status to be able to improve their economic status. The author analysis each of the arguments by comparing the working practices regarding women between maquiladoras established in Nogales which was considered the more stable and with larger working population according to US, and maquiladoras across other Mexican states. Kopinak notes that the claims made by “critics” include one that accuses maquiladoras of limiting employment to young women. She writes that the rationality behind it comes down to profit, women are employed in unskilled positions that offer low wages resulting in larger production and profit. However, the author notes that the maquiladora industry claim that gender in no longer important. They claim that Nogales Maquila’s have a lower female worker ration than men compared to maquiladoras across the state. Kopinak’s performed a study in which she drew samples of advertisement for maquiladora personnel, analyzed collected data, and more detail information in 10 maquiladora transport equipment and concluded that the findings supported the “critics” claims that capital takes advantage of Mexican patriarchy to exploit women. She found a blatant example in the advertisement for employees, which stress physical attractiveness for secretaries, and the ability to advertise for employees by sex. The author was clear on her objective and provided with information to validate the arguments. However, she seemed to be a bit bias in her analysis, since it seems that she herself was a critic. This article can help me in my e-portfolio by providing detail analyses of the argument I make, as well as some of the counter arguments made by those whom saw the maquiladora industry as a path to economic freedom for women.