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The blue imagination of the Green New Deal

Thinking with the ocean and the interconnection between ocean, land, and atmospheric matter encourages this view.


However, these discourses do not simply ignore the often complex, overlapping, and conflicting judicial systems that shape global ocean governance—many of which are stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They are also used as foils to provide space for marine resources developed by specific countries and global companies (Zalik 2015).

Secondly, these blue and blue-green trade proposals may also make people understand the ocean as an untapped area of ​​potential.

Although the “Blue New Deal” is encouraging to get rid of the concept of the ocean as an infinite and frictionless space for capital accumulation—for example, calling for an end to deep-sea drilling, these discourses may reproduce these concepts and treat the ocean as a store of resources and services. Even if these services include carbon sequestration and small-scale livelihood provision.


The third related concern is the nostalgia trap that permeates GND discourse.

The initial New Deal in the United States was closely related to the deep-rooted settler colonialism in the United States.

This includes the establishment of large infrastructure projects and the continuation of Native American boarding school violence, which has expanded throughout the 20th century

In the UK, the proposal to promote the “Green Industrial Revolution” also concealed the squeezing violence that accompanied the first industrial revolution.


The vision of the global ocean as an economic expansion project has the potential to eliminate, eliminate and duplicate these colonial histories and ideologies.

In short, ignoring these risks will mean falling into a trap, treating the ocean as “passive water”, unexplored potential resource space-whether it is carbon storage potential or marine protein-and between humans and between humans and humans. The field of current and historical relationship between. Non-humans, if recognized, are secondary.

In the process of doing so, who benefits from these measures and whose lives may be harmed by these measures, these problems are often not resolved.

In addition, other methods for evaluating and relating to ocean space outside of quantitative accounting and economic exchange systems have yet to be explored.


Therefore, we believe that the issue of ocean governance and equality must be in the first place in the discussion of the Blue New Deal, and must be dealt with in an analytical method that can explain the different imagination, value systems, and relationship with the ocean spreading around the ocean. world.

In short, imagining a “blue-green transaction” requires not competing with the singular “global ocean” as imagined, but with the overlapping and controversial oceans of plural numbers.

The ocean has long been a utopian ideal, a possibility for the future, and even a space saved by mankind-imperial power and indigenous coastal communities have been projected on it.

The ocean is an attractive and productive place, and other situations can be imagined.

But a truly effective and fair Global Blue New Deal must clearly recognize the risks posed by this imagination, and put equality and justice-oriented governance issues first.

This author

Dr. Jessica Lehman is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University, Durham, UK. Elizabeth Johnson is a professor of geography at Durham University in Durham, UK.

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