3rd World Congress of Environmental History

Individual Submission Summary

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There is not so much country for so many disputes, XVIIIth-XXth Century. Extractivisms and Asymmetric Appropriation of Common Territories in Baja California Sur, Mexico

Wed, July 24, 11:00am to 12:30pm, Centro de Filosofia e Ciencias Humanas (CFH), Sala 323 do CFH


Fifteen years ago we began to study the oases of the peninsula of Baja California. Thus, in 2006, we founded the Interdisciplinary Network for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the South Californian Oasis (RIDISOS) formed by researchers and thesis students from various institutions and countries. We proposed that oases are complex socio-ecological systems (SSE), a product of intense human work that drastically modified wetlands to convert them into agroforestry spaces where the use of the humid zone (for intensive agricultural production) and that of the dry land (for the practice of extensive livestock farming) are complementary.
For two years we have been working - also as a transdisciplinary network - on the long-term environmental history of the Gulf of California. Our intention is to demonstrate that since the sixteenth century the processes of asymmetric appropriation of the marine-coastal environment and its resources is a historical constant, since although the perception of these has changed, the colonial processes of looting and dispossession have prevailed. However, although incipient, there are actors who recognize this asymmetry and decide to break with it. Our intention, in terms of the applicability of this environmental history, is to make visible those processes in order to reinforce them and show that the decolonial possibility of breaking the asymmetry is a utopistic process (Wallestein) and not a utopia. In this moment, our project is paying special attention to the impact of minning and extractivism actions during long time, from oyster to cupper mining at the beginning of XXth century to the spreading tourism with special socioenvironmental impactos of local people living standard. I have defined a period sequence of the impact provoked from a “sacking economy” in the peninsula.