SS07. Mediterranean café: Research geographies and climate action from the South

To deliver on climate ambitions, voices and solutions that amplify regional and local particularities and place-based approaches must be incorporated into research, policy and action. This implies incorporating visions specific to the Mediterranean region carried out in Southern Europe, the Levant and Northern Africa concerning local geographies and particular themes such as heat waves, forest fires, water scarcity, agriculture, landgrabs, touristification, polarization, far-right populism, autocracy, disaster displacement and migration - all core axes of discussion for a future under degrowth.
This special session will focus on specificities of the Mediterranean Region, one of the "hotspots" of the climate crisis with pronounced vulnerability grappling with the rising emissions while being home to over 500 million people. A Mediterranean cafe-style session will welcome participation focusing on regional particularities with global implications, critical voices, methodologies and epistemologies for climate-resilient development from the South while also valuing local researcher talents working on common issues.

  • Expected proposals format: interactive session
  • Keywords: Research geographies, place-based research, climate action, Mediterranean, North-South
  • Related track(s): 2. Theoretical perspectives and debates around STI and degrowth / postgrowth / 10. Challenging dominant values, ideologies, and imaginaries
  • Organizers: Sorman, Alevgul H. (Basque Centre for Climate Change - BC3, Basque Country, Spain); Turhan, Ethemcan (University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands); Cabello, Violeta (Basque Centre for Climate Change - BC3, Basque Country, Spain); Cunha Ferreira, António (Universidade do Porto, Porto, Spain)

Full description


As recent global environmental assessments such as IPCC (2022) 6th Assessment Report’s chapter on the Mediterranean and MedECC (2020) 1st Mediterranean Assessment Report attest, the Mediterranean basin possesses exceptional biological diversity and socio-cultural richness being home to 500 million people in dense urban and rural settlements. The region shows a great socio-ecological, historical, and cultural diversity not only in terms of North-South or East-West axes but its parts are often handled in isolation and unevenly represented in the domain of environmental studies. This is despite the fact that the Mediterranean region is a hotspot for highly interconnected climate risks due to overlapping climate hazards and high vulnerability. While it is not a coincidence that some of the most vocal environmental justice struggles and local degrowth movements appear around the Mediterranean coastline, we would like to take this opportunity to expand the scope of our inquiry beyond this common knowledge toward building bridges between different epistemologies and lived experiences in and around the Mediterranean. Thus, this special session's relevance to the Ecological Economics and Degrowth community is plentiful.

First, it is an attempt to challenge hegemonic voices coming from Northern Europe in terms of overrepresentation of presence and weight in contributing to climate science and action. We believe that the conference's location in Pontevedra will be an opportunity to break away from research inequalities and elevate our session findings. This will also help overcome the fragmentation across the North and the South in the research panorama.

Second, the session will provide an opportunity to pool different research methodologies that can be adapted, replicated, and reproduced in other parts of the Mediterranean region, as well as globally. The session will also provide an opportunity to unite around common cultural and socioeconomic concerns (e. g. unemployment, coalition governments, gender inequality, inflation, youth unemployment and intergenerational inequalities, corruption, and patriarchal political and organizational leadership) to propose meaningful interventions to ecological, socio-economic and political vulnerabilities that we are experiencing in current times.

Lastly, we believe that bringing these fragmented regions under the Mediterranean umbrella with attention to what Kallis et al (2022) refer to as ‘Southern thought’ understood as a “cultural imaginary centered around values of slowness, moderation, and conviviality found in the Mediterranean” will be a valuable contribution to ecological economics and degrowth debates.


The session is designed to purposefully prioritise local and regional specificities, methodologies, and action focusing on the Mediterranean region's climate vulnerabilities and priority areas of action regarding ecosystems and people. Interventions prioritizing particular regional themes (e. g. waves, forest fires, water scarcity, agricultural losses, touristification, landgrabs, waste, social polarization, far-right populism, autocracy, displacement, and migration) will be promoted.

Therefore, this session will also explore how this specific socio-spatial frontier can be mobilized to produce alternative solutions for the problems not only locally but also regionally and globally while also setting value-able and care-full visions for the future.

The Mediterranean region is a site of encounters not only between the global North and global South, between the East and the West but as well as between xenophobic borders and migrant solidarity, and between austerity-induced scarcity and abundance of care. We therefore welcome diverse epistemological approaches and methodologies in the search for s alternative solutions and visions both locally, regionally, and globally. With this session, we will also provide a deliberation space for research and researcher challenges (e. g. precarious working conditions and temporary research contracts) coming from the Mediterranean Region to unite around common concerns yet support future roles and networking capacities.


Our proposed special session will be open for contributions from diverse fields, welcoming participants' submissions related to geographies and themes emerging from Southern Europe, the Levant, and Northern Africa (covering the Mediterranean Region). The session will be facilitated in the format of a World Café, or in our case, Mediterranean Café Style Session. The total time of 90 minutes will be allocated to a 5-minute introduction, 5 tables in a world/Mediterranean cafe format of 12 minutes each (60 minutes) ending with a 25-minute plenary session. The contributors will be able to share their research as well as meet and get feedback from multiple colleagues working in similar conceptual, methodological and geographical domains.