n Costa Rica, many remember it as the moment the country’s environmental movement was born. In 1970, thousands of Costa Ricans protested a proposed large-scale Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) mine in an ecologically fragile valley. Several years later, Alcoa abandoned the project, an outcome that foretold Costa Rica’s growing reputation as one of Latin America’s “greenest” countries.
There’s only one problem with that narrative, says Dana Graef
, an F&ES doctoral student: It wasn’t quite that simple.
In a paper published last year, Graef showed that it was “anti-imperialism” rather than environmental interests that predominantly fueled the protests. Nonetheless, this shift in public memory over four decades provides key insights into the relationship between landscapes and national self-identity, she wrote
in the journal Development and Change
Last week, Graef was honored for this work with the F. Herbert Bormann Prize
, an award that honors an F&ES doctoral student whose work best exemplifies the legacy of the longtime professor.