Hi Sarah, and welcome. Thank you so much for joining me today to chart about your work in Chile with Small Hydro-power Development. Thank you for being here. Thank you for having me. I'm really delighted to bring you into our energy justice course because you are developing coursework in energy justice yourself. You've been working with indigenous peoples in Chile and a number of the dimensions of those cases I think are really wonderful for us to learn more about how we can recognize, and address or intervene with energy justice. I'm looking forward to our conversation about those. Let's go ahead and get started though if we can with a little bit of background. You are by training, a cultural Geographer and a political ecologist. How did you come to work in this area of energy? I would say that I've always had an interest in environmental issues, and early on in energy issues. I studied environmental studies as an undergraduate, then worked in different fields for a number of years, but including a little bit or carbon offsets, where I was also approaching the energy industry from that perspective. Then when I went to graduate school, I returned to the interests. I've always been interested in the water energy nexus and water and energy. As someone who also has an interest for water, through that lens, I see that water and energy are always connected, when you look at cases, when you look at questions of justice. That's really been a driving theme in my work as I did a Masters and PhD in Geography. Political ecology, it's a field that looks at how global processes affect local, cultural, and political relationships to the environment. As someone studying environmental issues with a critical lens, it's just an area of study that I've overlapped with. A lot of scholars that I'm citing and following, are working in the field of political ecology as well. Great. Thank you. Now if I could ask you, and I know this is going to be a hard question. But if I could ask you to give us a brief overview of the work featuring small hydro-power as an example, that you've been developing with the Mapuche people in Chile. To set the stage for what's going on in energy and small hydro-power there and why it is having some important social dynamics. Sure. I will start out by saying that I didn't go into this research, thinking Oh, I'm an energy justice scholar. That that was a driving paradigm as I entered my research. It's more than that as this emerging work of activists, of community members and academics and policymakers in the US as well as other places. England has a lot of energy justice and other [inaudible] I have done some readings from scholars there. I've aligned with energy, justice work as I've come out of working with the Mapuche for many years. I've been working there for eight years doing collaborative community-based research with Mapuche ancestral leaders, and communities. Mapuche Huilliche are the particular Pueblo or group of people within the Mapuche who I've collaborated with. That work started with an interest in hydro-power development. Now, hydro-power development in Chile is a really important industry. Chile has been using hydro-power sensor developed, an industrial energy grid. As it started developing as a nation, it's been highly reliant on hydro-power due to its Geography, which is a long thin country between the anti mountains in the Pacific Ocean. There's a lot of steep rivers that can be used to generate electricity. As I went to Chile in 2014, in scope beyond my dissertation research, there was a conflict or a set of conflicts happening throughout Mapuche territory, as well as extending beyond what is now Mapuche territory. Around small hydro-power development, which was a new technology in the sense that it was being developed as part of the transition to renewable energy, the low carbon economy that was being pushed by international climate change policy, and National Mitigation Commitments. That is how I came to study small hydro-power. What I've learned about this is that, in working in concert with Mapuche people is that small hydro-power is not a good or bad technology inherently. But the questions of justice come in in terms of what are the sites and places that are being affected by this energy development? What are the rules that govern this type of development? Do they favored or the laws, else are they being used by certain people to take advantage of that development over others? Is there a fair due process for decision-making and local involvement or not? Those are the questions I came to ask, those are absolutely the same questions being asked in Energy Justice Research. Then another dimension that I believe is clear when working with an indigenous people. In my experience in studying elsewhere, what other scholars are saying, particularly indigenous scholars, is it's really important to consider the history of colonization and settlement of an indigenous land and territory. The questions that Salon de Bakker, among other people references; I'm just going to turn to my slides to look at this; She talks about the different Salon de Bakker What I think are really important when talking about indigenous lands and territories, not only distributive justice and procedural justice, which I know you're talking about in this class, but also importantly recognition justice and restorative justice. Restorative justice is really important because the history of land dispossession, of territorial loss, and of how indigenous rights have been recognized or not, is incredibly important in any type of development happening, including energy development. Energy justice includes the past questions of equity and justice in relation to how lands have been lost. It's impossible to talk about a just or sustainable energy transitional indigenous lands without considering the historical questions of loss and if rights have been honored or not. Then recognition justice is really important today in terms of decision-making particularly for Indigenous people because free prior and informed consent is a legal tool that is protected by International Indigenous Rights, and it's been codified in many countries including Chile which has ratified the ILO, International Labor Organization's Convention 169 for indigenous rights. Recognition justice, how are Indigenous people being recognized in this process, who is being recognized, who is being left out, and how does that process work? Is a very important question for energy justice involving Indigenous people. Sarah, could you talk to me a little bit more about the notion of restorative justice and what that means to you as an emerging scholar in this area. I would say that I am working with the Mapuche for so many years. I think I've come back to working in the United States and I listen differently from my experience. As I've been, particularly in teaching about cultures of energy last term, I did a lot more research on the US and watched a lot of videos, and read a lot about energy justice. One thing I heard and I heard my students observe is how important healing is as a component of energy justice, particularly in communities that have experienced generations of exclusion, particularly environmental racism like contamination from the oil and gas industries among other sectors. At the community level, hearing how important it is that communities propose and enact their own forms of healing. That is, both in terms of how they relate to each other, but also healing the land and being able to use forms of bioremediation, being able to use forms of social facilitation, and healing community traumas as part of that justice framework. That's something that has really been visible to me as I've learned more and read from BIPOC communities and scholars in the US as well as elsewhere in relation to energy justice, but also environmental justice more broadly. Absolutely and I really appreciate that you acknowledged that you've helped to frame both the special nature of the indigenous questions that are raised here, but I also appreciate that you noted that the particular technology that's in place here isn't necessarily a good or bad thing, so there's no evil in a particular technology. It really is in the decision-making and the processes around which we use and utilize it that we are raising issues of, is this fair or not? Can you describe a little bit more about some of the specifics of the case? A couple of examples of what's being experienced in Chile and with the people that you've been studying where they are raising their red flags of concern. Sure. As I mentioned earlier, the laws are very important toward how justice is being carried out or not in relation to energy development. Concretely, the water, electricity, and environmental laws, along with how indigenous rights are codified or written into law, are allowing private consultancy firms developing hydro-power for private companies to fragment social relationships between Mapuche communities, fragment important areas of biodiverse mountain habitat, temperate rain forest, and to create a lot of harm even in the early phases of scoping for these projects. How so? Why does that happen? Yeah. Because it is a market-based system. I know there are debates internationally about the role of markets in environmental governance and in handling natural resources. Here in the case of Chile, from 1973 on but focusing the 1980s, under the Chilean dictatorship, they developed a neo-liberal model, which means it was a very orthodox implementation of market-based governance of natural resources. They are not what we would call in the US, the checks and balances to protect local communities from extreme private development. In Chile, that looks like a lot of speculation. In the case of small hydropower, we see water, non consumptive water rights. They have to be I'm thinking of it in Spanish to give you the work, but they have to be assigned to a person that requested if they're available. They've been assigned all throughout Southern Chile in Mapuche territory where they have ancestrally and customarily used these waters. Private companies are coming and from a far from Santiago, from a computer saying, "Oh, this right is available, according to how we understand water availability and the server stream." Then they get down there and those are the ancestral customary waters Mapuche people. They do a fair amount of harm in many cases before they've even develop the project. Why did they do this? Because if they develop the project further and they get an approved environmental impact assessment, many times they're selling the water rights with these environmental impact assessments to other companies to develop. They don't even necessarily know that these products are feasible to be developed to the connection to the grid, due to the physical geography, to the actual water availability with climate change and other water uses. There's a lot of losses for the private sector as well in this type of development. It's the model in this case, and the existing uses and values and ways the Mapuche people connect to water and land that make this such a conflictive and unjust setting. How have the Mapuche people, how have local, I mean, if there's any local governance structures or other organizations, how have folks tried to address the situation on that local community level? Well, there's multiple responses. If it's okay if I also speak to the regional and national level because I think that's important. Sure. Chile right now is in the process of creating a new constitution. How that plays out through a constitutional convention of elected people and there are a number of Independence who are outside of political parties. They're in this historic process. In the case of Chile, the possibilities for justice and strategies from different levels, from local to regional. A lot of focus in Santiago and organizing the urban capital has been related to change in the constitution because people see that there are structural issues that need to be addressed through new laws. I think that's important, especially it's a very important moment in Chile. In a growing tension and frustration among people in relation to social environmental conflicts throughout Chile, that the new Constitution is something that's being spoken about at the grassroots level throughout Chile. It's a very important process, social process there and legal process that they're living through right now. That being said, when I was doing my research, I still continue doing work in correlation hydropower, but also other issues related to water and energy today. But what I focused my research from 2015 through 2017 on hydropower and I continue to do [inaudible] during that time period, Mapuche people were doing organizing, especially ancestral leaders like [inaudible], and ancestral Mapuche leaders were organizing with juridical leaders in the Mapuche community and with other social society, civil society actors, as well as interacting with government officials at the regional level, trying to find more equitable ways to have territorial discussions or dialogues about the form of hydropower development that was happening. However, a lot of times those dialogues didn't work out. Although I did see a document that there was progress made in terms of how hydropower complex were being decided upon in the courts. However, because it wasn't able to be legally stopped, the energy development while these dialogues happened, Mapuche people generally believe that these dialogues were in good faith. That was a key issue and again, it was related to what I mentioned earlier, which is free prior informed consent, and how that was being carried out in practice in Chile. What are the prospects then? I mean, what do you think the prospects are for the new constitution to incorporate effectively what we're learning and how to reorient the approaches to these challenges? I mean, I think that is an excellent question and it's one I asked myself and ask people that I work with who live in those territories or from those territories. That's the question I asked myself. Now looking at the US contexts more being based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and I'm working with [inaudible], started and reach out to local communities involve the community power and just wondering how are the shifts happening both in Chile and in the US in relation to there being more energy democracy, there being more ability for communities and local territories to shift those processes. Thinking comparatively, I think it really depends on the local vibrant solutions that are coming up. I think it's very dependent on the place or the region and what are the needs of that region. In Mapuche territory, people don't believe they need more electricity. There's discussions about needing more rural electrification. But in general, most people have electricity and they don't feel like they need more. Where is the energy going that's been developed in their area? It's going to the mining sector in the North. It's going to the urban centers in the center of the country. It's going to the central interconnected system. There, the question of energy development, people don't see the need for it and it's not serving local needs in any type of long-term way. Right. What have I seen in the time in Chile? That through these processes of engaging energy systems to be more equitable, you see that territories take that political formative process and make new proposals for their territories related to not only what happens to energy development. One community I work with in [inaudible], which is in the middle of a large lake in the territory where I work, they are completely solar-powered. They've done that through negotiating with the municipal government and regional funds available. They were able to negotiate that because they were strongly organized and it's only Mapuche people on the island. They were able to develop their own systems that fit their needs, their territory, and have allowed them to maintain a high level of autonomy in relation to energy development. But it really depends on the territory. Other territories are not interested in more energy development, but they focused a lot more on decisions related to their forest and water resources. They are making progress toward having more sustainable, autonomous-led systems for managing their resources or stronger environmental practice protections through state law, through creating conservation projects. I think what's important in terms of a take-home, it's not just about energy development. Energy development is also about water management. It's also about how forests are governed. It's especially involving when it's involving indigenous people. That leads me to another question that I want to ask which is about, what are the lessons that we can draw from the case that you've been studying with Mapuche in Chile, that we can utilize as citizens or as business owners, or as local government, or simply as local activists. How can we learn from this experience? Which is in some ways fairly unique given the National Constitution that is being revised. That doesn't happen every day in all countries. But outside of that, how might we be able to apply lessons from this case as we seek to develop energy transitions that are more fair and more just in localities and organizations around the world? Well, that's a great question. I would say it makes me think of two answers. One, I think that the Mapuche people struggle with hydro-power. The notion of the need for restorative justice aligns with cases of environmental racism around the world and how industrialized energy has affected BIPOC communities over other White communities, settler communities. That is a fundamental piece of energy justice. Is recognizing that historical harm and that those communities lead us in the type of research, in the type of healing, and in the type of policies that they want moving forward. Two, the other point that I wanted to say is what Shalanda Baker talks about. When I read her book, I was like, "Wow, those align with what I learned with the Mapuche in Chile. " I think the need for reforming the modern utility sector is fundamental. I'm very excited by these community power initiatives that are popping up. The work that I'm dedicating now in the US is wanting to support community power and better understand the barriers at the state level, at the community level, at the federal level to that process being more locally driven and equitable. Can you say a little more about what you see as the opportunity for improvement in the utility versus community power conversation? I will say that I feel like I'm still a student of this. Where I'm at in my learning right now is that there are cases of community power that I'm just starting to learn about where there are lessons to be learned. It's not 100 percent given that it's going to be just. It depends on who's involved, what is the process, what is the methodology, who's leading this, and how does it unfold in terms of local participation. Then at the state level and at the federal level, how are utilities shaping public policy in ways that prevent more autonomous, more creative community initiatives. I would add that as I'm also learning about it, there is a question that I don't understand yet the answer, but it's about how to bring down costs for mini grids. It has to do with how the development process. I know that really smart people and really smart city officials are asking those questions. I read about Seattle and they developed a great mini grid, but it was incredibly expensive recently, and so how to bring down costs? I think that's an area where there's possibilities for private, public community initiatives to make better systems. That is really exciting and that's an area where I think we could see different types of private collaborations, but they have to be more community-driven, I think, for them to be more just. A big piece of what I'm hearing you say in this part of the conversation is the importance of autonomy. The importance of ensuring that there is not just a global regulatory framework, but there are some mechanism at a much smaller scale for voice and for self-governance when it comes to our energy resources, is that an accurate paraphrase? Yeah, and I think it's tough to say this is what Mapuche people teach us. But what I have learned with the Mapuche and I've observed, again, let's say from learning, from reading, from indigenous scholars among others, is the importance of protocol in how territorial decisions are made and how community processes unfold. Obviously other communities are capable of developing protocols that are accountable to their people and to their land. But when these protocols have developed over thousands of years and they're part of who these people are, it is there. I don't know how to say, obviously talking about another community in the United States, they're not going to have the same type of protocol. But understanding and thinking about what are guiding principles and how does that create an institution, or framework for us to move forward in a way that makes it hard for one person to take power or take control of this process. I think that is a key learning we can do from indigenous communities, is the importance of protocol and a type of order that respects people and other beings. I think it's interesting to me that you use the term protocol. We don't necessarily think about protocol in the sense that it's a historic development of a set of ways of doing things. Usually it's a bureaucratic tool document, but you're reframing it as this is a localized set of guiding principles about what our values are and how we want to enact those values and how do we honor those at their local development scale? How do we reconcile them with what protocols have been developed at other scales. Yeah. I think that it's also how we think about laws, and how laws are a social construct. Indigenous people, Mapuche people I've worked with, because of their historical perspective, they have a critical perspective on lawmaking and who it serves, and they understand it's a social construct. You hear in other settings sometimes people have a really ideological relationship to laws saying that it's consecrated in a way that it can't be changed. But laws were made in a certain area and then later in other areas they don't necessarily serve us. We do need to be able to have processes, I think, as societies, to revisit older laws and be able to change them in a more open, constructive way. Not in a way that is so ideologically informed that shuts down more creative conversations about what are the real barriers to the types of development and community protections we need in this era that we didn't need in the 1880s for example, when we wrote that law for mining sector. I don't know if I'm going too far afield, but I think that our lawmaking and our policymaking is very important and we have to be more creative about it. What do you see then as maybe the toughest challenges and the most important opportunities as we seek to make our energy transitions more just and more socially and environmentally sustainable? One, I just taught a class at Dartmouth last term, the Social Lives of Energy for the Anthropology Department. We went through a number of different energy technologies, their lives, their cultures around them in different places. At the end of the class, one of my students said, '"There's always going to be problems with any type of energy development." It is very hard if it's scaled up in any way past like one individual project, there's always going to be trade offs in how it's built, whatever cost of building it. Solar is an incredible industry, its incredible set of technologies, but there's a lot of waste in building them. We could go across every technology and talk about that. I know you focused on this Amanda, when you came and spoke to my class, energy efficiency is fundamental to energy justice because we need to diminish the energy we're using. The solution is not to just develop renewables on top of a continued fossil fuel sector and just keep going up. It's unsustainable. I think that is a very important point. I would say that we need to transition away from fossil fuels. A hundred percent. We need to do it in much more dramatic way than we are. Focusing on renewable and nature-based solutions for energy development is really important, I think. You say that from an energy justice standpoint, right? I think so, yeah, because any type of energy development, as well as the mining for precious minerals and materials for renewable energy is going to affect local communities. We're at a scale globally where we just don't have the resources to keep giving for that. The remaining forests, the remaining land that is unmined, I've heard from indigenous people around the world that we need to keep it in the ground, and I think that's really important as a fundamental energy justice issue. Okay. I think that in terms of how energy is being developed, it would be wonderful to see more and more of the energy sector working with community members, community organizations. I would also say social scientists or activists, people who are intermediaries and really work with methodologies, that are deeply participatory and collaborative and community-based is key. Sending folks who are not from those communities, who don't really understand or work with deeply participatory methodologies is not going to be just. It really needs to be a different social process, and there are people who know and are doing that work already. I think there need to be partnerships that are not co-opting, but are really building solutions with and from communities. That's a different methodological approach than we've seen from many different energy companies, among others in the past. Thank you. As we wrap up here, I've got two last questions. First off, what do you personally find rewarding and challenging about energy justice work? Then I'll have one last question for you. I would say that working with Mapuche people in Mapuche territory. I've learned so much from working with people who have a completely different understanding of time, of connections to earth, and land and each other, so that's been very important for me. It's really taught me the meaning of autonomy in a way that I didn't understand before, which I think is a fundamental part of energy justice. Ask one more time. Sorry, Amanda, I'm running out of steam. Challenging and rewarding. What's challenging and rewarding to you about working in the energy justice space? Today, what's challenging and rewarding about working in the energy justice space is, there are incredible solutions coming up, credible energy futures being built in the United States as well as elsewhere. I think we're part of an exciting moment and that studying energy futures, it's theoretically informed, but it's really informed by the different kind of possibilities for growth and change that come from communities, that come from youth, that come from different people in our societies, but that bring us toward very different futures that we didn't consider before. For me, I'm very excited about participating in these energy justice conversations, research, and learning because I feel like I'm learning from incredible people, from different communities and supporting a more just future for future generations. My last question was going to be, what gives you hope? What gives you hope about our ability to craft or the architect or to design energy futures that are more just? I've seen when people start working with each other, and working with different infrastructures, you can see them starting to live differently, and build different futures. It's a praxis or it's a different way of living and reflecting that can really open for very different possibilities, community connections, and ways of viewing the world. I've seen that with solar power, I've seen that with earth building. I've seen that with many different local technologies. It's incredibly exciting to see what can grow from different community creative Initiatives. That gives me hope, then working with students, working with these incredibly brilliant driven people who have new ideas that didn't even occur to me. It always gives me hope. Thank you so much for being with us today. I really appreciate it and it's been an informative journey through the work that you've done in a part of the world that deserves more focus than it necessarily gets. Thank you again, so much, Sarah, for being with us. Thanks Amanda. Thanks for having me. You bet.