Assistant Professor of Political Science Karleen West’s research on indigenous reactions to oil development in Ecuador has earned national attention in two publications. West co-authored the research articles with Professor of Government Todd Eisenstadt, at American University.
One article is featured as a “Research Highlight” in the upcoming April issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, a nationally recognized outlet for scientific research on climate change. West says that because her research is grounded in social science, recognition in this journal oriented primarily towards the natural sciences is a significant accomplishment.
The team’s research has also been selected by the Wilson Center to feature in its blog, “New Security Beat,” which examines environmental change and security. The blog post highlights West and Eisenstadt’s contribution to understanding what shapes environmental concern and belief in climate change among communities confronted by the damage and threats to the environment made by oil extraction.
Last month, West facilitated a discussion of students in her indigenous rights class with Patricia Gualinga, international relations director of The Sarayaku Kichwa people of the Ecuadorian rainforest. The group has become well-known in the world after they successfully fought to protect their land from oil drilling in international courts; they are celebrated as a voice of hope for indigenous rights. Gualinga also spoke with students following a screening "The Children of the Jaguar," a documentary about their efforts.
— Top photo: Assistant Professor Karleen West, right, with co-author Professor Todd Eisenstadt from American University and and in the middle, Marlon Santi, leader of the Sarayaku Kichwa people.
— Bottom photo is of Patricia Gualinga