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My daily workflow: Breaking down the work in accomplish-able tasks

I won’t lie: I used to be the kind of guy who would write endless, long To-Do lists. I would list EVERYTHING I need to do. At first, it felt like I was being thorough. “Here is ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I NEED TO ACCOMPLISH BY X DATE“. If you’ve ever written long To-Do lists, you probably know how this story ends (you’re exhausted by the time you’re on task 3 and just want to crawl under a rock and cry yourself to sleep).

To Do Lists and Workflow

I have been experimenting with breaking down the work in accomplish-able tasks for a while now. Instead of writing exhaustive lists of the things I need to do, I look at my month, week and day, and focus on achieving certain goals by a specific date. For example, take this week: I had specific writing goals, agreed to participate in two Masters students’ committee meetings (at CIDE and FLACSO), had a work meeting with colleagues who are also dear friends at El Colegio de Mexico, and had a guest speaker come into CIDE on Friday, plus a series of meetings with new students in the undergraduate and masters’ programmes.

To do list

Listing everything would have simply made me go beserk and I would have had nothing accomplished. So, I broke down my week in 4: Monday, which is my teaching day – although I had a guest speaker from CIDE Santa Fe; Tuesday, which I had to spend doing a variety of administrative and project tasks that I couldn’t do on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday which were days when I flew to Mexico City and had meetings, and Friday (where I had lots of meetings and a seminar). But the most important thing I did was that I PRIORITIZED TASKS, GOALS AND OUTCOMES.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to do everything I wanted this week from my extended, long To-Do List. So I prioritized. This is how I broke down my Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:

- Drive to the airport
- Fly into Mexico City
- Travel from the airport to CIDE Santa Fe
- Meeting with my division chair
- Miscellaneous meetings with colleagues at CIDE
- Meeting with Alfredo, my Masters’ student, to go over his presentation for Thursday
- Travel to El Colegio de Mexico for a book presentation
- Travel to my hotel

Presentación Libro "Cómo Gobernar la Contaminación en México"

- Read (no #AcWri because I haven’t had enough sleep) for a bit
- Travel to CIDE Santa Fe
- Attend Alfredo’s presentation – provide feedback afterwards
- Travel to FLACSO
- Attend Pavel’s committee meeting – attend a meeting on fracking and water (briefly)
- Travel to El Colegio de Mexico
- Lunch with Fernando, Veronica and Vicente
- Travel to the airport
- Fly into Aguascalientes
- Read on the plane, take notes
- Travel home
- Unpack

Seminario Presentación de Tesis MAPP #MAPP1416

Seminario Presentación de Tesis MAPP #MAPP1416


FLACSO Mayo 2016

El Colegio de México friends


Writing goals
- Write 600 words on Jane Jacobs and Elinor Ostrom for The Nature of Cities
- Provide feedback on 2 chapter abstracts for the polycentricity book
- Rewrite my book chapter abstract on bottled water and water insecurity for Edith Kauffer’s edited volume

To Do List

- Breakfast with incoming cohort at the undergraduate level (Bachelor of Public Policy)
- Meeting with incoming cohort at the Masters’ level (Masters of Environmental Economics)
- Meeting with Miriam Grunstein (our guest speaker)
- Lunch
- Seminar

Desayuno de Bienvenida Generación 2016-2020

- Read and write comments on Miriam’s paper

Seminario Dra. Miriam Grunstein en el CIDE Región Centro Mayo 20 2016

- Drive Miriam to the airport

- File away Malini Ranganadrath’s articles that I had read already.

As you can see, this week I didn’t finish any book chapters. I didn’t write a new paper. Heck, I didn’t even clean my desk before leaving for the airport. This is how my desk ended Friday evening.

To Do Lists and Workflow

BUT I accomplished EVERYTHING on my To Do List. And that made me feel empowered to come back on Monday and do all the things I want to do. Crossing EVERYTHING off of my To Do List made me feel accomplished. The list was manageable (3 writing tasks) and specific.

The great thing about breaking down the work in accomplish-able tasks is that it allows me to also BUDGET TIME. I knew that arriving into my office at 7:30am would give me about 2 hours before the breakfast meeting with students. Thus, I wrote the 600 words on Jane Jacobs and Elinor Ostrom between 7:30 and 9:30am. Then, I met with students until 11am. I made the edits on my own book chapter between 11am and 12 noon. I met with Miriam from 12 to 1pm, and then worked for 30 minutes on providing feedback to the book chapters on polycentricity. From 1:30 to 2pm, I had lunch with my colleagues, and then from 2 to 3, I read the paper and provided comments in writing that I then delivered during the seminar. From 5 to 6pm, after the seminar, I just had brief meetings with my research assistants and students and colleagues, and then at 6pm I drove Miriam to the airport.

A really busy day, but one where I felt I had accomplished A LOT.

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My daily workflow: On focusing on ONE task at a time

Some people have asked me what my daily workflow is, or told me that they find my blog useful so I figured I could do a post or series of posts on the topic, as it varies day by day. When I teach, I normally don’t do anything else other than teach that day.

This semester, I pushed all my teaching to one day (4 hours) so that I could still travel and do fieldwork, and not miss any lectures. While I was ill for 5 of the first 8 weeks of the semester, I think I caught up quite nicely given that I’ve already written 3 conference papers (all in English), one book chapter in English, and one book chapter in Spanish. Despite my late start to the year (you could say I started doing research on February 15th), I’ve caught up. I did this by focusing on ONE task at a time. Here’s what I do when I use this model of thinking.

1. Use conferences as writing deadlines.

MPSA2016 selfiesI usually participate in conferences where the requirement is that you provide a full paper. While some academics choose not to upload their papers to the conference website, I do it because I think it’s part of the rules and I’m supposed to follow them. So, this semester, I was scheduled to participate in ISA 2016 (International Studies Association), WPSA (Western Political Science Association 2016), MPSA 2016 (Midwest Political Science Association), and a closed, by-invitation workshop on water as one of the main Mexican problems. All these are conferences that require full papers.

2. Use the first conference to prompt me to write

Given that I had the impending, looming deadline of ISA 2016 hanging over my head, I simply shut down everything else I was working on and focused on that first paper. I started writing the paper about 2 weeks before the conference started, but I was basically doing nothing else (except for some edits to a paper I was coauthoring that is very nearly done). I was able to submit ISA’s paper on time, and that sense of completion helped motivate me to keep writing.

3. Protect my writing time, and use the travel time for conferences as dedicated writing time

As I have always recommended, you need to protect your writing and research time. I’m very adamant about guarding my time, and this year, decided to focus and not allow anybody else to make any use of my time that wasn’t approved. So I scheduled time for my graduate students, my undergraduate students, my coauthorships, and the service I’m supposed to do for CIDE, and didn’t accept anything else, as enticing as it may have sounded. Given that I knew that I had 5 weeks of travel coming up, I also knew that I could use the time at airports, on the plane and just before the conference to write. I wrote my first MPSA paper (a draft of which I presented at WPSA) on the plane to Atlanta where ISA was being held. I wrote a draft of my second MPSA paper on my way to San Diego for WPSA.

4. Present similar (incremental) versions of the same paper

This is another way of focusing on one task at a time. Instead of trying to finish different papers, I chose ONE paper that I would be presenting at two conferences (using the feedback from the first conference to improve it for the second one). That’s what I did with one of my MPSA papers: I presented a draft at WPSA in San Diego, then used the feedback to improve it for the version I submitted for MPSA in Chicago. I am doing something similar for LASA 2016 where I’ll present a derivative paper version in English of my 2014 book chapter on remunicipalization in Latin America (in Spanish).

5. Leave every single distraction off my desk

This is something I always do that seems to surprise many people. I can’t have a messy desk. It drives me bonkers. So I always clean it up every evening with a full rehaul every weekend, have my office systematically organized (because let’s face it, I’m too lazy to find things), and only leave on my desk whatever stuff is related to the project I’m finishing at the time. For example, this week I was finishing a book chapter on international relations and the environment. I had ONLY the printout I was editing (by hand) on my desk. For the grant proposal I was finishing, all I had on my desk was the budget, the printout where I did manual edits, and the terms of reference for the proposal. If I let my desk get messy, I stop focusing and then my brain drifts away from the task at hand.

My workflow at my CIDE office

6. Write (and work) only for as long as I actually physically can, not when exhausted

As I’ve written before, I’m someone with very specific physical vulnerabilities. I’ve shown symptoms of chronic fatigue, I’ve been chronically sleep-deprived (graduate school was VERY rough), and I can’t survive long work days without taking at least a 90 minute nap. So I am very adamant about knowing when to stop. When I feel that I can’t focus anymore, I simply stop and switch tasks. I leave a very detailed list of what I have to do to finish a paper on my desk, and I come back to it the next morning.

7. Leave the mindless tasks for the down times

When I can no longer focus on my writing, I usually answer emails, or schedule meetings with my colleagues, students, etc. I organize my desk and office when I’m tired from doing any thinking. I go for walks. I visit my colleagues at their offices.

8. Schedule specific times for specific writing and research projects

I know I’ve written before about how it is important to keep several projects on the go, and how you need to move every project forward. But when the going gets tough, I adapt my own strategies, and one of those is that I focus on one task at a time. Something I have done when I have several deadlines at the same time, is that I schedule ONE day for each ONE project. Since I am already used to scheduling my life to the every minute, this is relatively easy to do. So for example, I am editing a volume on water governance in Mexico. Fridays are my “water governance in Mexico” days. Tuesdays are usually my “politics of bottled water” days. Wednesdays are usually my “waste pickers” days. Mondays are my teaching days.

9. Compartmentalize tasks

Because I know that not all my computers have the same capabilities, I draw figures, run STATA or Atlas.ti on my desktop computer (which is faster). Also, since I write in two languages (Spanish and English) and my desktop computer is in Spanish, I usually write my papers in that language on the desktop. I also upload all my Mendeley PDFs on the desktop as it’s connected to the CIDE network and thus is much faster (and has IP access to download the articles). I do the same when I split my time between my home office and my campus office: I usually write in the morning at home until I finish a specific section, and then move on to the office.

My workflow at my CIDE office

This is an example of “how the sausage is made” (or as Eva Lantsoght would say, “I’m Raul Pacheco-Vega and this is how I work”, which I hope will be useful to other people. And like with any piece of advice, adapt what works best for you.

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Dr. Debora VanNijnatten’s seminar on transboundary water governance in the Great Lakes at CIDE Region Centro

Seminar Debora VanNijnatten at CIDE Region CentroWhen my colleague Marcela Lopez-Vallejo told me her long-time coauthor and friend Dr. Debora VanNijnatten (Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science department at Wilfrid Laurier University) would be coming to our campus of CIDE for a short visit, I was thrilled. Debora and I know each other from a very long time ago, we’ve been friends and colleagues for a very long time, and though we haven’t coauthored anything together, we’ve both been aware of each other’s work for pretty much all of my academic career.

Seminar Debora VanNijnatten at CIDE Region CentroI met Debora at a workshop organized by El Colegio de Mexico on North American studies, when I was just starting my PhD. So it was very nice to see each other again now in this setting. Granted, I had seen Debora a few times throughout the years (most recently at the International Studies Association meeting where she presented a very preliminary version of this paper, a couple of years ago). But this was the first time we actually had time to hang out, and do a series of scholarly events.

She was also kind enough to host a Tertulia CIDE, one of the social events we have created as a model of public outreach to high school students, and to strengthen the ties within our own undergraduate students. Anyway, the paper Debora presented was the analytical framework of her multi-institutional, cross-border large project on indicators of transboundary water governance across the Great Lakes. Since I also had a chance to meet the co-principal investigator of Dr. VanNijnatten (Dr. Carolyn Johns, Ryerson University) at the Water Centric Cities conference I presented at earlier this past month, I already knew about the project, and had read a version of this paper. So it was all very well timed.

Seminar Debora VanNijnatten at CIDE Region Centro

Debora’s paper and project focuses on transboundary water governance in the Great Lakes because it’s a great example of cooperation across the border. The project is necessary because we know very little about the environmental issues in the Great Lakes, although we do know 1% of the water is renewable. Deb mentioned that there is not a whole lot of good governance, and this project creates governance indicators that evaluate what goes into the system. The preliminary conclusions from her talk indicate that institutions and networks are foundational and fundamental to the resource governing process. My main comments on the paper and the project focused on the role of non-state actors in the governance system, and the possibility of institutional erosion (if cross-national and cross-border networks aren’t resilient enough we may find that there might be an absence of robust governance and incidences of institutional deterioration and erosion).

A few photos from the seminar can be seen below.

Seminar Debora VanNijnatten at CIDE Region Centro

Seminar Debora VanNijnatten at CIDE Region Centro

Seminar Debora VanNijnatten at CIDE Region Centro

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8 tips to write a research paper from start to finish (relatively quick and easy)

I promised a few weeks ago that I would blog about how I write a paper from start to finish. I was hoping to have screenshots of every stage of my paper writing, but obviously doing my own research, fieldwork and travelling to academic conferences to present papers (and writing those papers in haste!) didn’t allow me to do this in a much more planned manner. So here are 8 tips I use to write a research paper from start to finish.

1. Create an outline

This tip would be kind of obvious, but I am far from being the first one to suggest that writing an outline allows you to put complex ideas on paper in a sequential, articulate, cohererent form. If you’ve already started writing the paper, then Professor Rachael Cayley’s approach is the best – e.g. create a reverse outline. At any rate, you should have a skeleton of what your paper is going to look like. One way in which I do this is I break down my abstract into the sections that I need to fill out and/or the questions I need to answer to have my paper actually show my full argument. So, the outline comes directly from the paper abstract. What I have found is that often times, my outline doesn’t show the same thing that the paper does at the end of it. That’s fine. At least you answered the questions and/or filled the sections you needed to and refined your abstract and paper on the basis of these responses.

2. Write the abstract and introduction first

#AcWri on the plane (finishing a paper)

The one sure way in which I know I am going to make progress on a paper is writing the abstract and the introduction. Normally what I do is I expand the abstract and write the introduction from the abstract. I also make sure that I develop the structure of the paper as I write the introduction. Often times, this will change and I will have to come back and redraft this section, but at least I have a basic structure for the paper.

2. Break down the paper into separate documents.

I am someone who doesn’t react well to word counts. In fact, I loved a recent blog post by Tseen Khoo entitled “Your Word Count Means Nothing to Me“. I am disciplined about writing every day for two hours, but I don’t really like the idea of “I write 3,500 words every 1.5 hours”. Some days I write a lot, some days I write much less. And some days, I just simply can’t write (though I summarize papers and reflect on them during my #AcWri period those days to keep generating text that I might use at some point, particularly research and reading memoranda).

So what I do instead is, I break the paper down into sections for which I then create separate documents. For example, for my recent paper on environmental mobilizations against Nestlé in British Columbia and in California, I created a separate document for the story around Nestlé in British Columbia and another one for the story on Nestlé in California. To avoid getting frustrated, I just focus on writing on one of the sections at a time.

4. Begin drafting some conclusions as you complete the analysis

#AcWri on the plane (finishing a paper)As I write my paper, I always make sure to include some early conclusions. For example, for my recent paper on the comparative analysis of 6 remunicipalization cases, as I completed each section and the history of each remunicipalization, I started integrating and summarizing my results in the analysis section and immediately after, I wrote a couple of sentences about the implications of my analysis for the conclusions section. By the time I finished the sixth case, I had 6 paragraphs in the conclusions section of my paper. This is particularly important as it helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel. As I was finishing the table that summarized my paper’s findings, I was able to also have a feeling of completion. By the time I had completed 3 case studies, my table looked quasi complete and I began feeling excited about finishing the paper.

5. Make sure you’ve told all the stories

Comfort Inn Santa Fe (Bosques, Santa Fe, Ciudad de Mexico)

As I was trying to finish my MPSA 2016 remunicipalizations paper (with a comparative table of 6 cases – Paris, Grenoble, Berlin, Atlanta, Hamilton and Buenos Aires), I got frustrated that I had assembled the paper too early for my liking and therefore I was not sure if I had completely told all the stories. For me, a story is fully told when there is at least 4-6 paragraphs that outline the overall issue and provide some analysis. That’s why at least 4-6 paragraphs would be necessary (history, the issue at hand, why is this issue relevant, what does my theoretical framework say about this particular issue) to fully outline and sketch the story. So, while I recognize that I had assembled the paper early, I used a summary table to ensure that I had already completely told all the stories. This table also helped me finish the paper because I could use the insights gained from this exercise for the analysis section and the conclusions section (see tip 4).

6. Leave text for the next day

AcWri in pyjamasThis tip sounds counter-intuitive, but this is exactly how I finish papers: I leave myself some room to complete sections, paragraphs and sentences. For example, for my environmental mobilizations paper, I wrote the section on the history of the environmental protest against Nestlé in British Columbia, on the Tuesday, and even though I wasn’t exhausted, I decided to just start the first few sentences of the California case. This tip is particularly important to me because I write in the morning. I start at 4 or 4:30am, wake up, start a pot of coffee, and write from 4-6, 4:30-6:30 or 5-7 am, because those are the hours when I am most productive.

7. Don’t write beyond your physical limits

Recently, I finished a book chapter by inserting 3,500 words that I wrote in the first 1.5 hours of the day into a draft that had 3,400 words. So I finished an 8,000 word paper in about 2 or 3 days. Obviously this only works if you’ve already simmered and thought about the paper for a very long time. I had been spinning my wheels for the past few days when I knew that I had made no progress on this paper in the past 4.75 months. This week, I just decided that I needed sleep and I stopped trying to write (yes, I too try to push my limits and do some “spree-writing”) so I went to sleep early. I woke up on Wednesday at 5 am, and by 6:30pm, I had finished the book chapter.

The reality is that academia has this toxic culture of overworking as though it were a badge of honor. But I can’t do that anymore. I used to work 24 hours in a row, sometimes even 36. Right now I can’t push my physical limits and I will not endorse overwork. So I know for a fact that I improved my writing since I started sleeping at a decent hour and at least 6 hours a day. And that’s exactly why I never write beyond my physical limits even if I am not done with the paper and I have a deadline. I prefer to ask for an extension or simply say “No, I can’t write your book chapter/paper/article” because I will no longer push myself beyond my physical limits.

8. Assemble the paper 80%-90% into the process

When I assemble a paper too early into the process, I end up seeing all the gaps in the paper and this demoralizes me. So now what I do, is I assemble the paper about 80-90% into the process. I assemble the introduction, conclusion, body of the paper and I collect my handwritten notes of what needs to be improved and corrected. And then I go over the paper and figure out if I am missing something. That way, whenever I sit down and work on this paper again, I feel that I am about to be done.


Applying this process helped me complete 3 draft papers (2 for MPSA, 1 book chapter, and two I’m working on) in about 5 weeks, all the while travelling every week and teaching one class every week. This is not to brag, but it’s just to show that if I follow a systematic process, I can move forward even under conditions of relative duress (e.g. when I am travelling). So, every single day I was able to work on research and write for a few hours because I was working every day on a different, single component of my paper and research project. As I have often said, I follow Aunty Acid’s advice: I take life one panic attack at a time.

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Joining the editorial board of Politics, Groups, and Identities

I am always honored when I am invited to join an editorial board, particularly when it’s the flagship journal of one of the associations I belong to and I really love, the Western Political Science Association. At the recent Midwest Political Science Association, Dr. Nadia Brown, the incoming editor of Politics, Groups, and Identities, and an Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Purdue University, was kind enough to ask me to join the new editorial board. So I’m at the same time honored and excited to be part of this effort. Thanks, Nadia, for inviting me! I am very much looking forward to contributing to the editorial work of PGI.

You can read a virtual special issue on gender and politics of Politics, Groups, and Identities by clicking on this link.

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Water Centric Cities Conference 2016 at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

You can follow along or read stored tweets from the Water Centric Cities conference where I presented on the regulation and governance of bottled water in cities. The program for the conference is located here:

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Governing Bottled Water: Water-Centric Cities and the Commodification of the Human Right to Water

I just presented a paper on “Governing Bottled Water: Water-Centric Cities and the Commodification of the Human Right to Water ” at the Water Centric Cities conference here in Milwaukee. My panel was on Water Commodification, where I spoke alongside my good friend and coauthor Dr. Oriol Mirosa, who is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at UWM. I’m grateful to the organizers, Patrice Petro from the Center for International Education and Jenny Kehl from the Center for Water Policy, both at the University of Wisconsi-Milwaukee, for the invitation.

My slide deck is below, in case you’re interested in reading it. The conference ends tomorrow and it has been so far a fantastic event. I will also be posting my photos of the event on Flickr. Check the full program for the conference here.

Posted in academia, bottled water, conferences, water governance.

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Upcoming talks: Midwest Political Science Association #MPSA2016 (Chicago)

I do not know how I decided that it would be a good idea to do WPSA, MPSA, CPSA, and LASA, and two academic workshops by invitation, but well, I’m getting close to my last few weeks of extended academic travel. At least, I’m not missing any of my classes (I fly back to Aguascalientes so I don’t miss my lectures). But I’m definitely getting physically tired. Anyways, if you would like to catch me in Chicago next week for MPSA, here is my schedule:

Thursday and Friday I’ll be a Faculty Mentor at the MPSA 2016 networking sessions.

My two papers are the following:

Thursday April 7th, 4:45-6:15pm
58-500 Symposia:
Environmental Politics and Policy

The comparative politics of institutional diversity in water policy reforms: Six case studies in private water supply remunicipalization

In recent years, remunicipalization has been hailed as a policy reform that enables the implementation and operationalization of the human right to water. By bringing back the public into public service delivery, remunicipalization is perceived to ensure water policy objectives’ robust implementation. Remunicipalization of public water supply at the local level has been proven successful in at least six major cities worldwide: Atlanta, Berlin, Paris, Grenoble, Hamilton and Buenos Aires. In this paper, I assess whether human-right-to-water-inspired policy reforms could have played a role in the de-privatization of municipal water supply in these cities. I also explore whether any patterns have emerged from published studies on remunicipalizations worldwide, and from these six case studies. I test the hypothesis that remunicipalization can be used as a policy reform to implement the human right to water. I examine six case studies of remunicipalization in five countries and link across the human right to water literature with the policy outcomes that came out of it.

Saturday, April 9th, 3:00-4:30pm
58-9 Interest Mobilization in Environmental Politics

The comparative politics of environmental mobilizations against bottled water companies in Canada and the United States

The governance of bottled water offers an interesting challenge given its pervasiveness worldwide, in the face of increasing global water stress. Swiss company Nestlé controls 70% of the global bottled water market of around 200 billion dollars. Many of the protests that Nestlé faced occurred in two currently drought-stricken areas: California, in the United States of America, and British Columbia, in Canada. Alarming figures around how much water Nestlé was extracting practically for free in both regions circulated on social media, news sites, and newspapers, giving rise to a series of online mobilizations to rally against the multinational. This paper explores the political dynamics of online activism in California and British Columbia, and evaluates Nestlé’s response to civil society pressure in the face of a global water crisis. In this paper, I compare strategies of anti-water privatization environmental non-governmental organizations and their impact in the US and Canada. I argue that subnational politics interacts with global-agenda setting to bring bottled water into the policy agenda.

I will also be participating in a roundtable on integrating research and teaching

66-110 Roundtable: Integrating Teaching with Your Research
Friday, April 8 11:30 am
Roundtable(s): Integrating Teaching with Your Research
Discussion on integrating teaching and research
Chair: Michaelene D. Cox, Illinois State University
Amber Dickinson, Oklahoma State University
Kellee J. Kirkpatrick, Idaho State University
Elizabeth Wheat, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
Raul Pacheco-Vega, CIDE

I will be there from Wednesday through Sunday evening so feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat.

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Religion and Climate Change Workshop at American University (Center for Latin American and Latino Studies)

Yesterday and today, I have been participating in a workshop organized by Rob Albro and Eric Hershberg from the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University, and Evan Berry from the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University. It was an honor to be invited, and a great opportunity to share my research on public policy, water governance and climate change, and use the religion and climate change lens to shed light into how we can engage from a multidisciplinary perspective on this topic.

As always, I look at these things from a public policy analysis perspective, and as a comparativist. Methodologically, I am really excited about the prospects of comparing the Andean region with small islands, India and possibly Mexico. Today we are discussing the methodological and process approaches to undertaking this project. This workshop was possible with generous funding from the Henry Luce Foundation to AU CLALS for the project Religion and Climate Change in Cross-Regional Perspective.

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Water Centric Cities 2016: My talk on Cities and Bottled Water

Last year, I was invited to join a roster of experts on water at the Center for International Education of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a conference on Water-Centric Cities. I am very excited about this conference, because for a very long time, I’ve thought that issues of water availability, water security and insecurity, and water governance are all interrelated and we should talk more about how cities cope with these challenges through time.

bottled water

My paper is titled: “Governing Bottled Water: Water-Centric Cities and the Commodification of a Human Right

I’m focusing this particular paper on the lack of a robust regulatory framework to govern how bottling water companies extract, package and distribute bottled water. While we can argue that bottled water is supposed to comply with health and safety regulations, there are many instances of water extraction where permits enable multinational corporations to extract thousands of gallons per day of the vital liquid without having to pay so much as a penny. My argument is that we need a robust regulatory framework to govern bottled water before we are faced with extreme scarcity and an inability to drink water from the tap, a challenge many jurisdictions like California and Michigan in the United States are already facing.

Posted in academia, bottled water, conferences.

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