Entangled Mangrove Roots: The Shrimp Industry, Ancestral Afro-Descendant People, and Community Resistance in Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Researcher ORCID Identifier
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Professor Melinda Herrold-Menzies
© 2023 O'philia T Le
Mangroves are one of the most important ecosystems because of the many services they provide on a local and global scale, but in contrast, are one of the most threatened by anthropogenic activities at a global level. Being sources of food for various kinds of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, they are essential for the economy, culture, and livelihood of locals in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. This thesis takes an environmental justice approach in the discussion of the loss of mangroves in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. While toxic industries may not be apparent at first, environmental injustice prevails in adverse human health effects, environmental degradation, and lack of research that disproportionately impacts Afro-descendant ancestral communities. I investigate the following research question: How does the shrimp industry disproportionately impact Afro-descendant ancestral people who inhabit mangrove land in Esmeraldas, Ecuador? This thesis aims to understand the dense entanglement of the shrimp industry, ancestral Afro-descendant people, and community resistance to dig deeper into the root issues of settler-colonialism, globalization, and environmental injustice. Three formal interviews, academic scholarships, my observations, and my experience in Ecuador serves as background qualitative research in a comparative case study analysis between two case studies in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. My research reveals how settler colonialism in Ecuador has resulted in environmental injustices rooted in globalization, capitalism, and forms of exclusion amongst land-based peoples. Grassroots resistance movements play a vital role in healing both the land and the people. Mindful consumerism, mangrove restoration, community engagement, and ethno-education can be effective and scalable interventions to address environmental and social issues in Esmeraldas.
Le, O'philia, "Entangled Mangrove Roots: The Shrimp Industry, Ancestral Afro-Descendant People, and Community Resistance in Esmeraldas, Ecuador" (2023). Pitzer Senior Theses. 157.
Environmental Health Commons, Environmental Studies Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons