Paul G. Munro

I am a political ecologist and historical geographer in the Environmental Humanities Program at the University of New South Wales, Australia. I am also the co-founder of Energy For Opportunity (EFO), an NGO dedicated to the dissemination of renewable energy in the West African region.

Breaks with the past: conflict, displacement, resettlement and the evolution of forest socioecologies in Sierra Leone

A new chapter of mine (co-published with Greg van der Horst) on how the Sierra Leone:

P G Munro and G van der Horst,  “Breaks with the past: conflict, displacement, resettlement and the evolution of forest socioecologies in Sierra Leone” in J Lahai and T Lyons (eds) African Frontiers: Insurgency, Governance and Peacebuilding in Post-Colonial States, Ashgate Publishing (2015): 119-130.

ABSTRACT

In contrast to media fixation on the physical violence of recent West African conflicts, scholars have emphasized the lasting effects of massive population displacements. In Sierra Leone, for example, roughly 2 million of a total 3.8 million people had to migrate internally and several hundred thousand more fled to neighboring countries. As many have noted, both the experiences of those who were displaced and later returned home, as well as the dramatic shifts in population geography caused by those who did not, have had considerable impacts on important social issues including ethnic relations, identity formation, (macro)economic patterns and medical services provision. What remain less well understood, however, are the effects of these disruptions and reconfigurations on rural livelihoods and, by extension, on the (re) production of human-environmental relationships across broad swathes of landscape. These are of critical importance to processes of post-war stabilization and reconstruction, since most of Africa’s mainly agrarian populations rely almost entirely on the productivity of their immediate landscapes for subsistence and small-scale commercial production. Focusing on Sierra Leone, in this chapter we draw on extensive field data to describe how rural residents’ responses to both the vagaries of intense and chaotic conflict as well as the unstable conditions of peacebuilding have produced a considerable transformation of people-forest relationships across the country

 

"Go-Ahead" and "Up-To-Date" people in Africa cycle, apparently...

Cleaning up my hard drive last week, I came across these scans of newspaper advertisements. I had found these back in 2013 during my time doing archival research in Sierra Leone. They were published in local newspapers in 1961, just a few years before Sierra Leone's independence from Britain; bike riding is being promoted as a quintessential modern, progress activity. Around this same time (the late-1950s) there was one Sierra Leonean - Willie Aofalabi-Taylor - who famously cycled 18,000 kilometres across parts of West, Central and East Africa; so perhaps he helped to popularise cycling in the region.

"Energy Transitions in Africa" - Public Seminar at UNSW in November

Environmental Humanities Public Seminar

Monday 16th November; 6pm to 7pm

Central Lecture Block 6 @UNSW

In 2009 Simon Willans set up Energy For Opportunity (EFO) in Sierra Leone, with no funding, a battery drill, a set of screw drivers, one room in a guest house, and a stubborn vision of how a development charity should operate. Since this time, along with a small team of staff in Sierra Leone, he has managed to transform EFO into the premier renewable organisation in the region, conducting over 200 renewable energy installations (with funding secured for 150 more, to be completed over the next two years). In this seminar, Simon provides an overview of EFO’s work, emphasising how the success of EFO was not so much a question of finding the right kinds of renewable energy technology, but rather by paying critical attention to the societal and governance contexts in which the technology was being situated.

Enquiries please contact Paul Munro (paul.munro@unsw.edu.au)





Tank Stream Tours - Ballot now open

The Tank Stream -  the stream upon which Sydney was found, which  isnow buried beneath the CBD - is now open for tours. People need to apply via Ballot (so it is a luck of the draw if you get a chance to tour it). I did it last year with Sydney Water. Great Fun. Info here:

http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/2014/02/05/ballot-tank-stream-now-open

 

                                                    Photo sourced from the Powerhouse Museum

                                                  Photo sourced from the Powerhouse Museum



Environmental Humanities #MOOC

The Environmental Humanities team at UNSW (@EH_UNSW) is in the process of putting together a #MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called 'Remaking Nature.' It will be up in running in the not too distant future. It has been a fun!

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/remaking-nature?utm_campaign=Courses+feed&utm_medium=courses-feed&utm_source=courses-feed


My New Website

I have just set up my own website, which provides an overview of some of my research, work, and publications. It will also include the occasional blog post (such as this one). It is still a work in progress, so feedback is welcome. 

Powered by Squarespace. Background image: A Charcoal Mound in Kambui Forest Reserve, Sierra Leone