Engaging with Water and Rivers from a Multispecies Justice Perspective


  • Carlota Houart Wageningen University & Research




Rivers are ecosystems indispensable for the survival of both humans and non-human species. Yet humans often disregard their importance and modify the existing socio-natural equilibrium of rivers in the pursuit of economic and political agendas. With a focus on new water justice movements, this article advocates a perspective that recognizes rivers as hydrosocial territories, actively and continuously co-created, co-inhabited, and transformed by a multiplicity of human and other-thanhuman beings. Such a perspective opens a path to a multispecies justice framework that involves rethinking the relations between human and non-human beings in the worlds we share as a medium for creating more socio-ecologically just and biodiverse water worlds.

How to Cite

Houart, C. (2023). Engaging with Water and Rivers from a Multispecies Justice Perspective. Blue Papers, 2(1), 50–57.





challenges, concepts and new approaches

Author Biography

Carlota Houart, Wageningen University & Research

Carlota Houart is a PhD researcher at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands, as part of the ERC-funded project “Riverhood: Living Rivers and New Water Justice Movements.” Carlota’s PhD project focuses on multispecies justice in riverine hydrosocial territories through a political ecology perspective. As part of her research, she is critically exploring how the voices, interests, and needs of other-than-human beings (such as animals, plants, and the rivers themselves) might be included in political decision-making and grassroots processes concerning river management and governance, alongside those of human communities. In other words, a central question of her research is how might multispecies justice contribute to new movements and strategies for the defense and restoration of rivers, and what challenges can this entail? As part of her research project, she is looking at the River Maas in the Netherlands and at the Piatúa River in Ecuador and will apply methods of multispecies ethnography to both cases. Carlota has a background in international relations and in peace, security, and development studies at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, where she also previously worked as a junior researcher at the Centre for Social Studies. Parallel to her personal interest in environmental activism, which has led her to collaborate with movements such as Extinction Rebellion and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, her current research interests include political ecology, ecofeminism, Indigenous ontologies and knowledge systems, ethics in more-than-human research, and post-anthropocentric political theory more broadly.


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