Archive for environment

Episode 21 Antarctic Anthropology with Dr. Jessica O’Reilly

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly (Photo courtesy of Dr. O’Reilly)

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly works in the least populated continent on earth by far: Antarctica. Working with an array of scientists, she turns the anthropological gaze on science itself and the culture of the scientists who spend months, if not years, gathering data in an exceptionally challenging environment.

The process of doing science is complex, and anthropologists of Science and Technology Studies like Dr. O’Reilly can help demystify it, showing the general public how scientists come to know what they know.

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Episode 9 The River is a Goddess: Environmental Anthropology with Dr. Georgina Drew

Dr. Georgina Drew (Photo courtesy of Dr. Drew)

The Ganga River in India is a goddess, who has a long history of protecting and caring for her followers. But as a source of water, how do followers balance their respect for the goddess amid the various ways they are supported by her? The practical needs of the surrounding population, like fresh water, electricity, and industrial development, meet the spiritual needs of absolution through water burial, redemption through bathing in her free flowing waters, and the broader desire to protect the goddess who provides for so many.

Hydroelectric dam redirects flow out of the riverbed in the Garhwal Mountains (Photo courtesy of Dr. Drew)

Environmental Anthropologist Dr. Georgina Drew explains how a river is many things to its surrounding inhabitants—they have religious concerns, economic concerns, and ecological concerns—but different people prioritize them differently. There’s no one perspective on how to use the river. Dr. Drew discusses how our cultural ideas, practices, and beliefs about the earth are central to how we impact it. Taking a humanistic, anthropological approach means viewing the partnership between the environment and ourselves, and how each impacts the other.
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