The 2023 Holberg Symposium: 'World Movements for Environmental Justice'

The making of movements for environmental justice, their social protagonists and forms of mobilization - explained by the growth of social metabolism.

Research on environmental justice rests not only on the empirical observation of so many similar grievances and complaints around the world at the frontiers of commodity extraction and waste disposal but also on a critique of the incapacity of economic accounting to include the damages to the environment. The participants in “ecological distribution conflicts” display a variety of valuation languages (ecological, sacredness, livelihood, economic values), which are not commensurate.

The symposium is held in honour of the 2023 Holberg Prize Laureate Joan Martinez-Alier. There will be an introduction of the topic by the 2023 Holberg Prize Laureate, followed by presentations by three invited guests and a panel discussion. 

The event is open to all.




by Professor Kjersti Fløttum, Chair of the Holberg Prize

Introduction of the 2023 Holberg Laureate

by Professor Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, Academic Director of the Holberg Prize.

Joan Martinez-Alier
Photo: Joan Vidal

Joan Martinez-Alier: Introduction of the topic

Joan Martinez-Alier  is professor emeritus at the Environmental Science and Technology Institute of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). He is also professor emeritus at Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO), Quito. His research focuses on ecological economics, political ecology, agrarian studies, environmental justice, and the environmentalism of the poor and the indigenous. In 2016 he was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant for the project EnvJustice (A global environmental justice movement), 2016-21. Martinez-Alier is also a co-founder of the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice (EJAtlas).  Based on the EJAtlas, Martinez-Alier will publish the volume Land, Water, Air and Freedom: The Making of World Movements for Environmental Justice in 2023. The book will analyse hundreds of “ecological distribution conflicts” and the “valuation languages” displayed by poor and indigenous activists. In 2020, Martinez-Alier was awarded the Balzan prize, and in 2023 the Holberg prize.


Silvio Funtowicz
Photo: Private

Silvio Funtowicz: 'A political epistemology for environmental justice.'

For Joan Martinez Alier, the Environmental Justice Atlas illustrates the extended peer communities of Post-Normal Science. PNS is a political epistemology appropriate when facts are contested, values are plural, stakes high and decisions urgent. In health and environmental justice conflicts, the deployment of knowledge is no longer restricted to scientific and technical experts, but it has become an integral part of the struggle of affected communities to contest power and assert their rights.

Silvio Funtowicz  is a philosopher, specialized in policy-related science. He was a scientific officer at the JRC - European Commission. From 2012 until 2021, he was Professor II at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (UiB, Norway) where he is now a guest researcher. 


Ksenija Hanaček
Photo: Private

Ksenija Hanaček: 'Environmental conflicts along the Polar Silk Road'

Environmental justice conflicts analysed through a political ecology lens are increasing all around the Arctic, including the Russian Northeast Siberia. Such conflicts are closely related to the Northern Sea Route and the Belt and Road expansion. I show how mega infrastructure projects and global trade are sustained by internal colonialism.

Ksenija Hanacek is a political ecologist and a “Margarita Salas” postdoctoral fellow at Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki & Global Atlas of Environmental Justice (UAB). Her research focuses on environmental conflicts due to extractivist and big infrastructure projects in the Arctic.


Brototi Roy
Photo: Private

Brototi Roy: 'Mining coal while digging for justice'

Faced with increasing evidence of the devastating impacts of climate change, there is an imperative to transition away from fossil fuels. Coal has long been one of the fossil fuels underpinning the energy systems of many countries around the world. Because of its long-standing history, many actors, however, have an interest in retaining the status quo. Using the case of India, I analyse the complexities of a coal-phase out focusing on environmental justice claims.

Brototi Roy is a postdoctoral researcher jointly based at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Central European University. Her research focuses on environmental justice and climate justice movements using a political ecology framework.


by Holberg Laureate Joan Martinez-Alier

Panel discussion and Q&A

Closing remarks

by Professor Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, Academic Director of the Holberg Prize.


This event is a part of the Holberg Week, which this year takes place 6 - 12 June.


to 12:00, CEST.

03:00 AM to 06:00 AM, EDT

The University Aula in Bergen
Practical information
Free admittance