chapter
Part IV, section A introduction: Environmental knowledge
Pages 66

This section of the Handbook considers the questions, How do we come to know nature? and What differences do forms of environmental knowledge make? Knowledge regarding nature and our relationship to it – from the root causes of soil erosion, famine, and deforestation, to the bodily ecologies of obesity and health – continues to be central to political ecology. Producing such knowledge unavoidably reflects and reproduces relations of social power as it involves questions about how, by and for whom, and to what effect knowledge is produced. Indeed, critique of dominant forms of environmental knowledge and the production of new, counter-hegemonic knowledges – Robbins’ “hatchet and seed” – has been central to political ecology’s method, theory, and politics since its inception. If knowledge is power, then a critical understanding of how we know what we know is a core element of any emancipatory project, academic, or otherwise.