Dr. Diana Vela Almeida

Assistant Professor
Environmental Governance

Diana Vela Almeida is an Assistant Professor on Political Ecology of Sustainability. She holds a PhD in political ecology from McGill University and a MSc in Forest and Nature Conservation Policy from Wageningen University. She works at the interface between the fields of political ecology, ecological economics and feminist critical geography and her research focuses on resource extraction and political participation, green neoliberal schemes, the energy transition, social movements and socio-environmental transformation. She has conducted extensive field research in Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia and has written about resource geography, austerity, political ecology in Latin America, eco-territorial struggles and social movements, and a critique of the green capitalism of the new green transition proposals.

Currently, her research topics can be grouped in two core areas. The first critically questions the green transition as a new colonial frontier of extraction in the Global South and looks at the unrecognized reproductive labor that powers the green energy transition. This includes conducting research with a feminist lenses to draw attention to the challenges of transitional models that portray themselves as sustainable forms of socially and environmentally green extractivism, but without contesting structural global economic relations. 

Secondly, she looks at the governance regimes of the global market economy of raw material from primary-producer countries that enters the European market. This is connected to the ongoing “Environmental Policy Instruments across Commodity Chains - Comparing multi-level governance for Biodiversity Protection and Climate Action” (EPICC) project (Biodiversa) that aims to investigate the governance regime of four selected global commodity chains (cattle, palm oil, gold and tin) destined for the European market. This projects explores the connections between the multiple territories of production and transformation of the commodities with the European regulatory, political and socio-economic space. 

Diana is also a senior researcher at the Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, associate editor of Uneven Earth media and a member of the Collective of Critical Geography in Ecuador.