From Frack's Folly to Fine Food: ExtrACTION and Environment in Portland and Beyond

Jeanne SimonelliJeanne Simonelli

“I try to leave every conference thinking about what I’ll organize next year while the excitement and interests of others are still fresh in my mind,“  says ExtrACTION’s Anna Willow.  She’s right.  We had some truly fine sessions this year, beginning on Portland Day with the Folly of Frack (see below), and ending with a wine and cheese reception.  The organized sessions, including Shirley Fiske and Kerri Bondo’s Environmental Justice in Turbulent Timesand Anna Willows three part Anthropology OF/AS/AND Activismincluded great presentations and even greater open discussion.  Also exceptional were the sessions created from volunteered papers. Gretchen Hermann chaired “Law, Policy and Regulation” where the presentations stimulated intriguing and thoughtful discussion from both participants and the audience.  Since all of the sessions were in the same room, attendees reported that the topics flowed on from the first to last session each day.

One repeating issue was that there is a lot of overlap in what the various TIGS cover, and its hard to make a decision about what to attend.  In a conference with 5 days and 2000 attendees, this is not unusual.  At a joint session organized by Elisabeth Moolenaar, members of ExtrACTION and Risk and Disaster compared notes.  Among the sessions we’d like to see for next year is one jointly sponsored by the two groups.  

We’ll be meeting in Albuquerque next spring.  As the belly of the western extraction beast, New Mexico presents topics that link land, water, Native American, economic and other issues.  We encourage you to organize sessions around these topics, or just submit volunteered papers and select ExtrACTION for review.  Because the TIGs assist the program chair in organizing and scheduling sessions, you can be sure that your paper will be placed with like submissions. We are excited about New Mexico Day, which is usually the first day of the meetings, and already anticipate a “Toxic Tour” that examines issues of uranium mining on Pueblo lands.

The annual meetings are not the only way that TIG members communicate.  We have a list serve that broadcasts news as it happens, among other roles.  If you would like to be added, please email Jeanne Simonelli at simonejm@wfu.eduand we’ll be sure it gets done. At our business meeting we discussed whether our TIG would benefit from some type of social media engagement and, if so, what type (Facebook page, Twitter, other).  We also talked about finding ways to bring new people to our TIG and about the possibility of sponsoring a workshop at next year’s meeting.  Please get in touch if you have ideas or would like to help!

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