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Inequality and injustice cannot be resolved within society without also confronting the destructive and exploitative relations between society and nature. This is a key argument within political ecology, an interdisciplinary approach that challenges ideas among radical thinkers in critical agrarian studies. In this episode, we speak with Prof. Amita Baviskar, a leading Indian scholar and activist involved with struggles around land, forests, water and food. With her, we unpack the concept of ‘political ecology’ and discuss how this differs both from ‘ecology’ and from ‘political economy’. Amita calls for a reconceptualisation of ‘nature’ and a confrontation with both capitalism and patriarchy, in pursuit of sustainable as well as just development across ecological landscapes, insisting that climate change is not the only expression of ecological crisis. We discuss the concepts of ‘red’ versus ‘green’ politics, the ‘commons’, ‘degrowth’ and the ‘Anthropocene’ – and what the current global moment of COVID-19 might tell us about society’s relationships with nature, our food system, globalisation, and one another.

This episode is presented by Prof Ruth Hall and PLAAS post-doctoral candidate Boaventura Monjane.