Green commodities may be environmentally friendly at their destination, but are they environmentally friendly at their source?


Black powder
Black powder against white background Image: Adrien Olichon
© Adrien Olichon

Lesley Green explores the impact of extracting titanium dioxide, used to produce lighter spectacles, more fuel-efficient airplane parts, whiter paper and food, on the coastal settlements of Xolobeni and Lutzville. Both villages are embroiled in a struggle with the same Australian mining company as they try to sustain a living from the land. Green unravels the categorical jiu jitsu of the South African Anthropocene - where the economy is limited to finance; the hope of political liberation becomes a belief in trickle-downs from market neoliberalism, and environmentalists, in opposing extractivism, become White capitalists opposing Black economic empowerment. Is Green, she asks, the new White?

6.00pm: Welcome drink and refreshments.

6.30pm: Talk and Q&A

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Lesley Green
Lesley Green profile picture Image: Lesley Green
© Lesley Green

Lesley Green

Lesley Green is Professor of Anthropology and founding Director of Environmental Humanities South at the University of Cape Town. A Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2018, former Rockefeller Humanities Fellow at the Smithsonian and Mandela Fellow at Harvard, her research focuses on science and democracy in a time of climate change in South Africa.

Professor Green is the author of Rock | Water | Life: Ecology and Humanities for a Decolonising South Africa (2019), editor of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (2013) and co-author of Knowing the Day, Knowing the World: Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology (2013).


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What is the HumanNature Series?

In this landmark series of talks, we are proud to host a stellar line up of leading Australian and international scholars. They will share with us their insights from history, literature, philosophy, anthropology and art to examine the significant interplay between the humanities and the environmental crisis we face today, including climate change, biodiversity loss and a wide range of other issues.




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