Saving the planet with green capitalism? Or re-signifying our existence with Mother Earth? The Mapuche-Valdivian case against the wind farm Pililín in the South of Chile

Carolina Sánchez De Jaegher, University College Roosevelt, the Netherlands:

Green capitalism is the force behind the actions that aim to reduce carbon emissions and the effects of climate change in this century. A milestone in this regard was the agreement to contain the rise in global average temperatures signed in the COP21 in Paris in 2015 by 195 member states. Under the framework of this agreement, the Chilean government developed its long-term plan “Energía 2050”, which has led to an explosion of green energy projects, with wind parks leading all other project types in the south of the country. This article examines the impact of “green projects” on indigenous territorial and spiritual practices, looking at the resistance that Mapuche communities and Chilean civil society are posing to the installation of wind turbines in the southern city of Valdivia. The focus of this is on the legal mechanisms used by the government to open the doors for green capitalism and the narratives that emerge from the commercialization of environmental crisis. The article’s main argument is that although clean energies seem to have the worldwide consent as the main measures for the transition to a world without oil, their neo-liberal imaginaries pose a serious threat to indigenous peoples’ right to a life in accordance with their original rites and values; at the same time, these imaginaries trigger a resistance that challenges the utilitarian vision of the environment and the need to protect it with practices that acknowledge other worlds in which nature is a subject of rights.

Download a .pdf of the complete article here.