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EXALT Podcast

EXALT Podcast

By EXALT Initiative
Resource extraction impacts our daily lives and has helped push the climate to the brink, but there are people around the world living and fighting for alternative ways forward. Join hosts Christopher Chagnon and Sophia Hagolani-Albov and their guests on the last Friday of each month for a discussion of the impacts of extractivisms, alternative ways forward, and stories from people living the struggle every day. If you are someone interested in how our environment and societies have come to their current state or learning about different ways we can move forward, this is the podcast for you.
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BONUS Year 1 Retrospective (and Outtakes)
October 2020 is the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of the EXALT Podcast! So, we decided to commemorate it with a quick bonus episode. We sit down and look back on how we got here, the great guests we've had, what's coming ahead for year/season two, and a few outtakes from our first year.
15:19
October 30, 2020
Markus Kröger - What is the best way to push for change?
This month we talk to Markus Kröger, Associate Professor in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, an Academy of Finland research fellow, and one of the founding members of the EXALT Initiative. His work looks at political/economic analysis to explain the where we are in the development of systems, and where we are going. He has focused on industrial forestry, and the conflicts related to the expansions of these plantations. He has done work in many countries including Brazil, India, and the Arctic. His more recent work has focused on resistance to iron ore mining in Brazil and India. This work is shared in Iron Will: Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India, Markus’ forthcoming book from University of Michigan Press. In this book he compares the dynamics across cases where the mining expanded, where it discontinued, cases of armed resistance and cases of peaceful resistance. He looked at the causal condition complexes that explain the causal path from the start of activism to the different investment outcomes. He identified 5 key strategies and explored the strategies that did not work so well in resistance movements. Markus shares with us some of his stories from being on the ground as a participant observer on the front lines of mining resistance. Links: Markus’ forthcoming book Iron Will: Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India Markus’ earlier book Contentious Agency and Natural Resource Politics Markus’ profile page at University of Helsinki, including a listing of his academic articles.
35:43
October 30, 2020
Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejias - How much of your life has Big Data colonized and extracted to the cloud?
This month we talk with Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejias. Nick is a professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory in the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics. Ulises is a professor of Communication Studies and the director of the Institute for Global Engagement at SUNY Oswego. They recently co-authored a book called ‘The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism.’ This book explores the role that data and data production plays in the modern world and the concept of data colonialism. Data colonialism is a form of appropriation of human life set up so data can be continuously extracted profit that benefits companies operating in the capitalist system. They are not using the word colonialism metaphorically – this is an emergent order based on the same extractivist logic that has enabled the colonial project over the last 500 years. We discuss how data colonialism operates on multiple levels and has effects further reaching than most imagine. We discuss how we (humans) are simultaneously producing the data through our actions (e.g. swiping our smartphone, cruising social media, or even in some cases through opening our fridge) and falling victim to the consequences of big business owning our data en masse. Here is more information about their book: https://colonizedbydata.com Tweet at Nick: @couldrynick Projects: Here is the home page for the Tierra Común network (jointly founded with Paola Ricaurte): https://www.tierracomun.net The wiki page for the Non-Aligned Technologies Movement: https://nonalignedtech.net Other: Sorry We Missed You - film directed by Ken Loach: https://sorrywemissedyou.co.uk/ EXALT Symposium October 2020: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/exalt-2020/exalt-symposium-2020 
50:26
September 25, 2020
Anja Nygren - How Does Extractivism Impact Frontier Families Over Generations?
This month we are joined by Anja Nygren a professor in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki. She is also a docent of political ecology at University of Tampere in Finland. She has done intensive empirical frontline research in many countries, including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico. We discuss her first hand experiences seeing the ravages of extractivism on the lives of average people and the environment over her experience living and working in Central America. Anja’s interests lie in social/environmental justice, access to resources, and environmental conflict. She pairs macro scale data, for example satellite data tracking land change, with ethnographic inquiry that captures the lived experience and the impact on livelihoods. Her work intersects with extractivism through oil and the long-term effects of extractive activities on the land and the extraction and resource grabbing which happens at frontiers. She is very interested in the different dimensions of extractivism, especially looking at some of broader definitions of extractivism for example the effects of agroextractivism, green-grabbing, and even the mental or intellectual extractivism that happens in eco-tourism and the pharmacological industry. The role of profit-making is a defining feature of these extractivisms at frontiers. Anja shares with us the different types of frontiers and the different ways extractivism can play out at these frontiers, including commodity, commoditizing, and resource frontiers.  If you are interested in this subject and would like to learn more, Anja welcomes you to contact her. She is happy to send people her publications, recommendations for other reading, and help in connecting to broader networks.  Please visit Anja’s research profile at University of Helsinki, there are links to over 80 publications (the majority of which are open access!) https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/anja-nygren
45:18
August 28, 2020
Gutu Olana Wayessa - Why do people need to be consulted about big projects in their back yards?
This month we had a conversation with Gutu Olana Wayessa a University Lecturer in Development Studies at University of Helsinki. He is a member of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and the Helsinki Inequality Initiative (INEQ). His scholarly work has looked at resettlement and displacement, and livelihood implications of government sponsored movement from place to place. More recently he has been interested in social movements and scholarly activism. His recent research examines large-scale land leasing in Oromo Region, Ethiopia. Land has been one of the few questions that has shaped the political economy of the country for the last fifty years. In Ethiopia the land belongs to the state and the people, but in practice the people using the land can be nominal in the face of large-scale land leasing. The lands are often characterized as “under-utilized” on paper, but often they are in alternative or customary uses. These are usually long-term, large scale, international companies that are participating in these land deals, and the people using the land are not able to effectively assert their rights to the land. Often these foreign investors are trying to develop industrial agricultural projects on the land that are ill-suited to the land and the land ends up degraded and unusable for the alternative and customary use. Gutu walks us through the case studies from one of his recent articles, which are a living example of the impacts and effects of agricultural extractivism happening on these leased lands.    Shortly after the recording of this conversation, Oromo activist and pop singer Hachalu Hundessa, whose songs were anthems of anti-government protests, was assassinated. This sparked off waves of protests in which at least 166 people have been killed. It is angering and upsetting to learn that such an important figure to Ethiopian and Oromo culture and politics was killed, and of the ongoing violence by the state against the people protesting this injustice.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53238206 If you would like to learn more about these topics, Gutu invites anyone who is interested to send him an e-mail (gutuolana (at) gmail .com) or through his University of Helsinki e-mail (firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi). Please find his profile through the University of Helsinki portal https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/persons/gutu-wayessa
52:47
July 31, 2020
Will LaFleur - What kind of connection do you have with your food?
This episode we are joined by Will LaFleur, a doctoral researcher at University of Helsinki in the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change. Will is also a student affiliate of the Helsinki Institute for Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and a member of the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT). This episode builds on our May episode on Food Systems with Rachel Mazac (if you have not heard that episode, please click here to check it out!) Will leads us through a food centered conversation and helps us learn about sense-making and its relation to food. In particular we talk about a lot about taste and its relation to the experience of food. Will shares with us his experiences in Arizona, Japan, and now Finland. He shares with us his personal experiences with food and the senses and his post-positivist views on approaching research. We discuss the difference between food as fuel and food as social experience that occupies a special time and position in ones’ life. Will shared with us some insight into the everyday practices that bring one away from the industrial practices of the dominant food system. Find him on Twitter @scent_ala_fleur Resources shared by Will: Commensality, society and culture by Claude Fischler https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0539018411413963 (check Google Scholar for PDF version) Book recommendation: Food and culture: A reader, specifically recommending the chapter by Jack Goody, Industrial Food Towards the Development of a World Cuisine. Another book recommendation: Katz, S.E., 2016. Wild fermentation: The flavor, nutrition, and craft of live-culture foods. Chelsea Green Publishing. Burning Questions Conference: https://www.burningq.com/ REKO Finland short introduction (video)
41:40
June 26, 2020
Rachel Mazac - How does your dinner impact the world?
This month we dive deep into the tangled web that is the food system. We talked with Rachel Mazac, MSc, who is a doctoral researcher in the Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences Doctoral Programme (DENVI) at University of Helsinki. Rachel led us through some of the depth and complexity of the food system. In particular, we discussed some of the externalities that affect the functioning of the food system and how extractivism plays a huge role in the makeup of our modern foodscapes. In addition, she highlighted some of the alternatives to the globalized industrial food system. In particular we talked about the future of food systems and the role diet can play in the Anthropocene. One of the main takeaways from this month’s episode is the need for developing a deep understanding of context when striving for sustainable solutions to the problems in the global food system. In addition, please note that due to the pandemic and shelter in place orders we are not recording on our normal equipment and there are some fluctuations in the sound quality. Thanks 2020! · Rachel’s webpage: https://rachelmazac.weebly.com/ · Rachel’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/cazamazac · The Future Sustainable Food Systems Research Group at the University of Helsinki:      o Webpage - https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/future-sustainable-food-systems      o Twitter - https://twitter.com/futuresustfoods · The Agroecology Research Group at the University of Helsinki: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/agroecology
55:16
May 29, 2020
Maija Lassila - Extractivism Research and Breaking Away from the Written Word
Maija Lassila is an artist and a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki in Development Studies. This conversation explores the relations between humans and nature and the understanding of what is nature. We broke down assumptions about what is nature and our role as humans within nature, especially looking at this relationship from different cultural perspectives. We also explored different types of knowledges and specifically the knowledges related to the creation of art and research. Especially looking at art as an entry to different ways of existing with the world and resonating with the world and the common consciousness which can be accessed through painting. The conversation also touched on the use of art based methods to access viewing the world in non-human time scales. Art is an alternative and a way to transmit knowledges and lived experiences around the impacts of extractivisms and the role of alternatives. Links: Maija’s Art Webpage - http://maijalassila.com/portfolio/ Maija’s Research Page - https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/fi/persons/maija-lassila Photographer Will Wilson - https://willwilson.photoshelter.com/index Vaara Kollektiivi - http://www.vaarakollektiivi.fi/node/127 Suohpanterror Artists Collective - https://suohpanterror.com/?page_id=558 Pluriversal Radio - http://pluriversal.radio/radio/ If you are interested to view Maija’s short film please send her an e-mail, her address is on her artistic webpage.
37:42
April 24, 2020
Tom Marafa - Extractivism and Sense of Place in Ohio
This episode we are joined by Dr. Tom Maraffa a retired professor from Youngstown State University which is a public university in Youngstown, Ohio. We explore Extractivism and sense of place from small town USA and how extractive activities have influenced the history and lived experience in Columbiana County in Ohio. This county serves as a case study of a place that has undergone change as extractive activities and the global economy have evolved around it. Many of the local companies that were foundational to this area have been absorbed by international companies, reducing them to easily movable pieces in a game of globalization. The people and counties left behind were forced to find alternatives . However, sometimes the alternatives are other forms of extractive activities, for example, moving from coal mining to natural gas. It is easy to cast judgement on areas where these types of extractive activities are taking place, however, we explore the role of place and place attachment and the value systems which might be at play in Columbiana County. We think about the role of people who feel “placelessness” v. “placed” and the impact these worldviews have on an area and the bigger picture of the world to which they connect. Links shared by Dr. Maraffa (please note some of the newspaper links do not work in Europe due to GDPR). Chris Arnade—Front Row/Back Row (exploring “placedness” and “placelessness”) https://www.firstthings.com/article/2019/06/back-row-america https://medium.com/@Chris_arnade/divided-by-meaning-1ab510759ee7 Stories about Columbiana County to contextualize the place. https://www.salemnews.net/news/local-news/2019/05/south-field-energy-breaks-ground-on-multi-million-dollar-project/ http://archive.businessjournaldaily.com/company-news/kensington-gas-processing-plant-begins-operations-2013-7-30 https://www.cleveland.com/business/2012/12/1_bilion_ohio_natural_gas_proc.html https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/leetonia-beehive-coke-ovens https://architecturalafterlife.com/2019/07/09/beehive-coke-ovens/ https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/East_Liverpool,_Ohio Extractive activities and the community in Ohio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPKphjRwmng https://www.reviewonline.com/news/community-news/2019/02/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-cracker-plant/
46:49
March 27, 2020
Katy Machoa and Paola Minoia (English) - Eco-cultural pluralism, Extractivism, and the Kichwa people of Ecuadorian Amazonia
This podcast episode is groundbreaking for the EXALT Podcast. It is our first episode with two guests, but also our first multi-lingual podcast – whether you are listening to the English version, the Spanish version, or the original – we hope that you enjoy! This is the English version with the translation imposed over the original Spanish segments. We talked today with Katy Machoa and Paola Minoia. Katy is a Clinical Psychologist from the Kichwa Community of Shamato, part of the Amazonian Kichwa nationality. Paola is a Senior university lecturer in development studies in the Faculty of Social Science, and an adjunct professor in development geography at the Faculty of Sciences, both at the University of Helsinki. We talked to these guests together because they are co-collaborators on an Academy of Finland funded project based in Ecuador on called Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. “This project expands on Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure quality education for all through an attempt to promote recognition of eco-cultural pluralism and inclusion of indigenous pedagogies and knowledges as part of quality education in Ecuadorian Amazonia.” If you are interested in learning more about this interesting and important project please visit their project website and blog https://blogs.helsinki.fi/ecocultures-ecuador/. In this conversation we talked about Katy’s lived experiences in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Through this conversation we talk about indigenous communities, the trajectory of “development” in this region, the types of extraction which are happening in these lands, and the role of epistemological plurality in creating space for indigenous knowledge. The resources which Katy highlighted in the episode: https://conaie.org/ https://confeniae.net/
25:41
February 28, 2020
Katy Machoa and Paola Minoia (Español) - Eco-cultural pluralism, Extractivism, and the Kichwa people of Ecuadorain Amazonia
This podcast episode is groundbreaking for the EXALT Podcast. It is our first episode with two guests, but also our first multi-lingual podcast – whether you are listening to the English version, the Spanish version, or the original – we hope that you enjoy! Esta es la versión en español, sin traducción al inglés. We talked today with Katy Machoa and Paola Minoia. Katy is a Clinical Psychologist from the Kichwa Community of Shamato, part of the Amazonian Kichwa nationality. Paola is a Senior university lecturer in development studies in the Faculty of Social Science, and an adjunct professor in development geography at the Faculty of Sciences, both at the University of Helsinki. We talked to these guests together because they are co-collaborators on an Academy of Finland funded project based in Ecuador on called Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. “This project expands on Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure quality education for all through an attempt to promote recognition of eco-cultural pluralism and inclusion of indigenous pedagogies and knowledges as part of quality education in Ecuadorian Amazonia.” If you are interested in learning more about this interesting and important project please visit their project website and blog https://blogs.helsinki.fi/ecocultures-ecuador/. In this conversation we talked about Katy’s lived experiences in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Through this conversation we talk about indigenous communities, the trajectory of “development” in this region, the types of extraction which are happening in these lands, and the role of epistemological plurality in creating space for indigenous knowledge. The resources which Katy highlighted in the episode: https://conaie.org/ https://confeniae.net/
29:35
February 28, 2020
Katy Machoa and Paola Minoia (Original) - Eco-cultural pluralism, Extractivism, and the Kichwa people of Ecuadorian Amazonia
This podcast episode is groundbreaking for the EXALT Podcast. It is our first episode with two guests, but also our first multi-lingual podcast – whether you are listening to the English version, the Spanish version, or the original – we hope that you enjoy! This is the original version with the full Spanish responses immediately followed by the translation. We talked today with Katy Machoa and Paola Minoia. Katy is a Clinical Psychologist from the Kichwa Community of Shamato, part of the Amazonian Kichwa nationality. Paola is a Senior university lecturer in development studies in the Faculty of Social Science, and an adjunct professor in development geography at the Faculty of Sciences, both at the University of Helsinki. We talked to these guests together because they are co-collaborators on an Academy of Finland funded project based in Ecuador on called Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. “This project expands on Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure quality education for all through an attempt to promote recognition of eco-cultural pluralism and inclusion of indigenous pedagogies and knowledges as part of quality education in Ecuadorian Amazonia.” If you are interested in learning more about this interesting and important project please visit their project website and blog https://blogs.helsinki.fi/ecocultures-ecuador/. In this conversation we talked about Katy’s lived experiences in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Through this conversation we talk about indigenous communities, the trajectory of “development” in this region, the types of extraction which are happening in these lands, and the role of epistemological plurality in creating space for indigenous knowledge. The resources which Katy highlighted in the episode: https://conaie.org/ https://confeniae.net/
44:27
February 28, 2020
Sanna Komi - Conservation and Extractivism: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Sanna Komi is a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki in Development Studies. Her research is part of the CONVIVA project which explores the concept of convivial conservation which offers an alternative to the model of conservation through capitalism. Sanna’s work within this project is specifically connected to wolf conservation in Finland and the attitudes towards wolf conservation. In general, her work concentrates on moving beyond the nature/society dichotomy and the model of conservation by commodification (i.e. conservation coming from a neoliberal point of view that seeks to extract something from nature by conserving it.) In this conversation we talk about apex predators, capitalism, values, and the role of extractivism in conservation. Links: Convivial Conservation: https://convivialconservation.com/ Büscher, Bram, and Robert Fletcher. "Towards convivial conservation." Conservation & Society 17, no. 3 (2019): 283-296. http://www.conservationandsociety.org/article.asp?issn=0972-4923;year=2019;volume=17;issue=3;spage=283;epage=296;aulast=B Luonto-Liitto (The Finnish Nature League): http://www.luontoliitto.fi/en Luonto-Liitton Susiryhmä (The Wolf Action Group from the Finnish Nature League): http://www.luontoliitto.fi/susiryhma/in-english The webpages of the Finnish Game Institute: https://riista.fi/ (homepage – in Finnish); https://riista.fi/riistatalous/riistakannat/hoitosuunnitelmat/susikanta/ (wolf opinion page – in Finnish); other resources available in English via the search function at https://riista.fi/en/
30:53
January 31, 2020
Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes - Exploring the Pluriverse
This month we are joined by Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, postdoctoral researcher from Hanken School of Economics. Together we take a deep dive into the pluriverse and how Maria has explored this concept in her research. This conversation covers ideas of decoloniality, degrowth, and turning a critical eye to some of the established notions of how research is conducted. Maria shares her experiences in conducting research in Latin America and the Finnish countryside. The conversation comes around to the deep importance of finding like-minded people in your community as a step toward change. If you want to find out more about Maria and her work here is a link to her researcher profile.  Here are two of her most recent articles: Ehrnström-Fuentes, M & Leipämaa-Leskinen, H 2019, 'Boundary Negotiations in a Self-Organized Grassroots-Led Food Network: The Case of REKO in Finland', Sustainability, vol. 11, no. 15, 4137, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154137 Ehrnström-Fuentes, M 2019, 'Confronting extractivism: the role of local struggles in the (un)making of place', Critical Perspectives on International Business. https://doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-01-2018-0016 And a link to her doctoral thesis Legitimacy in the Pluriverse: Towards an Expanded View on Corporate-Community Relations in the Global Forestry Industry
32:06
December 27, 2019
Aili Pyhälä - Activism, alternatives, and academia
This episode we sit down with Dr. Aili Pyhälä, lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki. She takes inside her more than 20 years of work as an activist and a researcher in indigenous and other communities facing the threat of extractivist practice. She shares with us her stories and lived experiences from the field. We explore the gray area between extractivisms and alternatives and look at extractivism as an alternative when it is in the right hands. She also shares with us her thoughts on decolonizing academia and how research projects can and should be designed. Read more about Aili’s academic work https://www.helsinki.fi/en/people/people-finder/aili-pyhala-9131642 The organizations Aili highlighted: · The ICCA Consortium - https://www.iccaconsortium.org/ · Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA) - http://cicada.world/ · Global Ecovillage Network - https://ecovillage.org/
42:30
November 29, 2019
Barry Gills (3) - A call to action
In the third and final part of our conversation with Professor Barry Gills from University of Helsinki and one of the founders of the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives (EXALT) initiative, we talk about the need for action on a personal and political level to face the challenges presented by the climate emergency, trying to find balance between the comforts of modern society and environmental conscientiousness, the impact and evolution of community in the digital age, and examples of alternatives.   If you are interested to read more about the academic conversations we explore in this episode, please check out Globalizations, which is the journal that Prof. Gills founded and is the current editor-in-chief.
27:07
October 23, 2019
Barry Gills (2) - Three concepts to live by
In the second part of our conversation with Professor Barry Gills from University of Helsinki and one of the founders of the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives (EXALT) initiative, we discuss local and indigenous approaches to solving problems, the issue of "externalities" in economics (a cost of producing something that is taken from external parties that did not choose to incur that cost - for example, a lithium mine might severely poison a body of water, creating knock-on effects for local people and wildlife, those costs are not factored into the cost of a lithium battery), and vulnerability and global justice as they relate to global scale extractivist practice. Finally, we explore three concepts to live by - be radical, be responsible, be restorative. If you are interested to read more about the academic conversations we explore in this episode, please check out Globalizations, which is the journal that Prof. Gills founded and is the current editor-in-chief.
35:04
October 23, 2019
Barry Gills (1) - What are extractivisms and alternatives?
Professor Barry Gills from University of Helsinki joins us for a conversation about the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives (EXALT) initiative, the meaning of extractivism and the role of alternatives, the conceptualization of nature, values as connected to modernity, and the crisis of our global civilization. We have divided this conversation into three parts. This is a rich intellectual journey and serves as a robust introduction to the thinking which inspired the EXALT Initiative. If you are interested to read more about the academic conversations we explore in this episode, please check out Globalizations, which is the journal that Prof. Gills founded and is the current editor-in-chief.
27:27
October 23, 2019
Introduction
In this episode hosts Sophia Hagolani-Albov and Christopher Chagnon introduce themselves, the Extractivisms and Alternatives (EXALT) Initiative, and where the podcast is going to go in upcoming episodes.
10:21
October 20, 2019