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The Laudato Si’ Research Institute has been set up as a higher education institution dedicated to cutting-edge multidisciplinary research for societal transformation on the most pressing ecological and social issues of our day, and in the light of the integral ecology paradigm set out in Laudato Si’. But what is the integral ecology paradigm? What are its key concepts? What are its practical implications? What are the processes of this integral ecological transformation that individuals and institutions have to undergo in order to respond to the cry of the earth and of the poor?

To answer the above questions, the LSRI has established two publication series. The LSRI Briefing Notes Series are short papers (between 2,000 and 4,000 words) which seek to clarify a key concept of the integral ecology paradigm, analyse a key issue within that paradigm, or explore some policy or practical implications of its analysis. The LSRI Research Papers Series are longer papers (between 5,000-10,000 words). Each seeks to address a major contemporary socio-ecological challenge from a transdisciplinary perspective, and to offer different angles of analysis and applications of the integral ecology paradigm in various geographical contexts, and different areas of policy and practice. 

Research Papers

coverDestruction and the Complex Politics of Urgency: Responding to Contemporary Resource Extraction in the Shadow of COVID
Tony Bebbington
Organisations: Ford Foundation, Clark University
Themes: Mining, Latin America, Covid-19, Climate
Natural resource extraction always threatens destruction. This destruction may be material: of landscapes, of mountain tops, of water courses. It may be social: of livelihoods, of territorial self-governance, of behavioural norms, of civil and human rights. And it may be ontological: of spirits, of sacred forms, of worlds otherwise. While the fear of destruction elicits protest and resistance, expectations of development made possible by this destruction also elicit mobilizations in favour of resource extraction. While all development involves destruction, resource extraction is especially challenging because it makes so palpably clear the willingness of society to destroy life, nature, peoples, and worlds in the pursuit of “development” and the “modern.” This paper reflects on what constitutes an adequate response to these pressures to accelerate extractive forms of development in a context in which elites and other sectors of society accept destruction and the erosion of civil liberties as a necessary, sometimes desirable, part of development. Such circumstances give rise to many difficult questions: is it enough to wait for behavioural and policy change to emerge from new narratives promoted by documents such as Laudato Si’ or the campaigning of movements?; what is an adequate theological, philanthropic, and intellectual response to the processes of rapid destruction that are justified, sometimes with popular support, as necessary forms of development? Ultimately these are questions about solidarity and ecology.

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Briefing Notes

Coming soon