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Participation as Resistance

GNHRE (The Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment)

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  • advocacy,
  • artisanal fisheries,
  • coastal communities
Target Group
  • Students
  • English

The webinar investigates the ways in which communities are taking back their right to participation in the face of corrupt and illegitimate consultative practices.

Course Description:

The human right to participation, and in particular rights to information and consultation, have come to play incredibly important roles in environmental decision-making. Particularly in regard to decisions that affect marginalised and vulnerable communities, participation processes are meant to ensure inclusive and sound decision-making. In practice, however, participation processes are often used as a means of avoiding environmental obligations and minimising social resistance to development projects. In this class, we will investigate the ways in which communities are taking back their right to participation in the face of corrupt and illegitimate consultative practices. This class explores the ways in which participation can be a form of protest, aimed not at legitimating environmentally unsound decisions but rather at resisting, subverting and replacing problematic practices.

Recommended Reading:

Bratspies, Rebecca M., Renewable Rikers: A Plan for Restorative Environmental Justice (July 24, 2020). Loyola Law Review, New Orleans, Vol. 66, 2021, Available at SSRN: or

Townsend, L. and Townsend, D.L. (2020), Consultation, Consent, and the Silencing of Indigenous Communities. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 37: 781-798.

Information about the Empatheatre programme can be found here:

Kira Erwin (2020) Storytelling as a political act: towards a politics of complexity and counter-hegemonic narratives, Critical African Studies



Dina Lupin is a researcher in the project “Giving groups a proper say”, supported by the Austrian Science Fund and hosted at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna. Dina is also a consultant specialising in environmental law, Indigenous peoples’ rights, gender and legal theory. Dina‘s current research is on silencing and epistemic injustice in the context of consultation processes with Indigenous peoples and her latest article on this subject can be found here. In 2020, Dina’s book, “Human Dignity and the Adjudication of Environmental Rights” was published with Edward Elgar Press. Dina is also the Deputy Director of the GNHRE.

Rebecca Bratspies is a Professor of Law at the CUNY School of Law and Director of the CUNY Center for Urban Environmental  Reform. Her scholarly research focuses the relationship between citizens and their government, particularly the regulatory state. She has published widely on questions of human rights, environmental democracy, and food justice. Her environmental justice comic books (Mayah’s Lot, and Bina’s Plant) have been used in classrooms around the country, adopted by state environmental agencies, and made into a video. Professor Bratspies serves on EPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Protection Advisory Committee, and is a member-scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform, and with the Environmental Law Collective. She blogs with The Nature of Cities. She has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, and as an advisor to the CGIAR. She is past Chair of the American Association of Law Schools Section on the Environment. Cryptocurrency is a new interest.

Dr. Dylan McGarry is an environmental educational sociologist and artist from Durban, South Africa. He is a Senior researcher at the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) at the University currently known as Rhodes. As well as a co-director of the Global One Ocean Hub research network. Dylan is the co-founder of Empatheatre, and a passionate artist and story-teller. He explores practice-based research into connective aesthetics, transgressive social learning, decolonisation, queer-eco pedagogy, immersive empathy and responding to ecological apartheid in South Africa. His artwork and social praxis (which is closely related to his research) is particularly focused on empathy, and he primarily works with imagination, listening and intuition as actual sculptural materials in social settings to offer new ways to encourage personal, relational and collective agency.


Dr Uzuazo Etemire is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and the Acting Head of the Faculty’s Department of Jurisprudence and International Law. After qualifying as a lawyer in Nigeria, he acquired his Masters and PhD in environmental law degrees from the University of Nottingham, England, and the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, respectively. Etemire is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, United Kingdom, and an Alumnus of The Hague Academy of International Law, The Netherlands. His primary research interest lies broadly in the field of environmental law and governance, with a special bias for environmental democratic or procedural rights. Among several publications in this field, he is the author of the book titled, Law and Practice on Public Participation in Environmental Matters: The Nigerian Example in Transnational Comparative Perspective (London/New York: Routledge, 2015). Lastly, Etemire was a Visiting Scholar in 2017 at the University of Barcelona, Spain, where he conducted and published a detailed research into the implications of BREXIT for environmental democratic rights in the United Kingdom.

Prof Elisa Morgera (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow) specializes in international biodiversity law and its linkages with human rights, notably the rights of indigenous peoples and small-scale fishing communities, everyone’s right to health and science, and business responsibility to respect human rights. She is the director of the One Ocean Hub, a global inter-disciplinary research collaboration of research institutions in the UK, Africa, South Pacific and the Caribbean, as well as UN agencies and other international partners. The One Ocean Hub is pioneering research on human rights and the marine environment with a view to better connecting marine and social sciences, and the arts, to support fair and inclusive decision-making for a healthy ocean whereby people and planet flourish.