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Collective Action in Response to an Environmental Disaster – A Case Study of the 2016 Social Movement in Chiloé, Chile

Pedersen, Charlotte LU (2017) UTVK03 20171
Sociology
Abstract
In early 2016, a toxic algae bloom emerged along the coastline of Chiloé archipelago in southern Chile. Shortly thereafter, locals spotted dead animals – ranging from mussels, to penguins and whales – washed ashore along the beaches. The Chilean government, along with actors in the salmon industry, claimed the environmental disaster was a natural phenomenon brought on by the weather phenomenon El Niño. However, accounts from independent scientists confirm that the algae bloom erupted as a result of the government's decision to approve a request by the salmon industry to dump thousands of tons of dead fish filled with dissolving chemicals in the waters of Chiloé. Chiloés inhabitants, who are highly dependent on the ocean to survive, were... (More)
In early 2016, a toxic algae bloom emerged along the coastline of Chiloé archipelago in southern Chile. Shortly thereafter, locals spotted dead animals – ranging from mussels, to penguins and whales – washed ashore along the beaches. The Chilean government, along with actors in the salmon industry, claimed the environmental disaster was a natural phenomenon brought on by the weather phenomenon El Niño. However, accounts from independent scientists confirm that the algae bloom erupted as a result of the government's decision to approve a request by the salmon industry to dump thousands of tons of dead fish filled with dissolving chemicals in the waters of Chiloé. Chiloés inhabitants, who are highly dependent on the ocean to survive, were struck severely by the crisis. In response, they organized themselves in one of the largest social movements in the history of the archipelago of Chiloé to protest against the government and the salmon industry. Through a qualitative approach based on interviews with artisanal fishermen, leaders of fishermen unions, and NGO representatives, this study aims to shed light on how the social movement emerged, unfolded, and eventually lost momentum. The findings suggest that the formation of the movement – which spanned across a multitude of social classes – was facilitated owing to the collective identity islanders share as inhabitants of this remote part of Chile, along with the decades of neglect they have sustained from the Chilean government. This reality, in combination with a successful dispersion of information on behalf of NGOs active on the island, led to the emergence of the social movement. Even though the goals stipulated in the movement eventually proved unfruitful, it will be argued its occurrence led to an increased awareness of the dependent relationship between the environment and economic livelihoods of Chiloés inhabitants. (Less)
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author
Pedersen, Charlotte LU
supervisor
organization
course
UTVK03 20171
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Social Movements, Chiloé, Red Tide, Collective Action, Environmental Conflict, Salmon Industry, Artisanal Fishermen, Environmentalism, Environmental Crisis.
language
English
id
8911933
date added to LUP
2017-06-28 13:30:26
date last changed
2017-06-28 13:30:26
@misc{8911933,
  abstract     = {In early 2016, a toxic algae bloom emerged along the coastline of Chiloé archipelago in southern Chile. Shortly thereafter, locals spotted dead animals – ranging from mussels, to penguins and whales – washed ashore along the beaches. The Chilean government, along with actors in the salmon industry, claimed the environmental disaster was a natural phenomenon brought on by the weather phenomenon El Niño. However, accounts from independent scientists confirm that the algae bloom erupted as a result of the government's decision to approve a request by the salmon industry to dump thousands of tons of dead fish filled with dissolving chemicals in the waters of Chiloé. Chiloés inhabitants, who are highly dependent on the ocean to survive, were struck severely by the crisis. In response, they organized themselves in one of the largest social movements in the history of the archipelago of Chiloé to protest against the government and the salmon industry. Through a qualitative approach based on interviews with artisanal fishermen, leaders of fishermen unions, and NGO representatives, this study aims to shed light on how the social movement emerged, unfolded, and eventually lost momentum. The findings suggest that the formation of the movement – which spanned across a multitude of social classes – was facilitated owing to the collective identity islanders share as inhabitants of this remote part of Chile, along with the decades of neglect they have sustained from the Chilean government. This reality, in combination with a successful dispersion of information on behalf of NGOs active on the island, led to the emergence of the social movement. Even though the goals stipulated in the movement eventually proved unfruitful, it will be argued its occurrence led to an increased awareness of the dependent relationship between the environment and economic livelihoods of Chiloés inhabitants.},
  author       = {Pedersen, Charlotte},
  keyword      = {Social Movements,Chiloé,Red Tide,Collective Action,Environmental Conflict,Salmon Industry,Artisanal Fishermen,Environmentalism,Environmental Crisis.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Collective Action in Response to an Environmental Disaster – A Case Study of the 2016 Social Movement in Chiloé, Chile},
  year         = {2017},
}