Many of the most pressing contemporary environmental challenges are related to the workings of extractive industries. The extraction of natural resources from underground, be it fossil fuels or ores, is creating a growing global threat to humanity and other forms of life, and at the same time is contemporary society heavily dependent on this extraction in almost every aspects of daily life. Within the research area Deep earth we investigate different interpretations and understandings of the environmental consequences and risks related to the development of large socio-technical systems permeating almost all parts of the world.
Special attention is devoted to controversies and conflicts, acts of resistance, related to extractive practises and extractivism, as well as to the discourses of green growth and imaginaries of eco-efficiency increasingly influencing the politics of natural resources. However the underground is not only perceived as an inexhaustible treasury within the discourse of extractivism. It is also depicted as a repository for environmentally hazardous waste. Accordingly the Deep earth research also engage with the relation between resources and waste, putting questions about what waste is, how natural resources become waste and the management of hazardous waste in focus.
One emblematic example of contemporary society´s efforts to deal with these matters is the long gone plans, permeating the Paris Agreement at COP21 in 2015, on storing CO2 in underground aquifers in order to counteract global warming and to relieve the governments of the rich countries from the necessity of imminent and dramatic emission cuts. This example points to the many complexities, contradictions and ironies that characterizes the research area of Deep Earth.
Scientific Leader, Jonas Anshelm, Linköping University