School of Media and Communication Faculty Publications


Francia Márquez’s Soul Mining: Recovering Ecology in Afro-Indigenous Activism

Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter on Afro-Colombian activist and attorney Francia Márquez provides a more representative, gender, race, and ethnicity-inclusive perspective on the many hard fought campaigns to advance awareness of and practices to promote environmental sustainability in Colombia, in Latin America, and worldwide. Environmental sustainability practices are deeply intertwined with activism for both human rights and the rights of nonhuman animals and the fragile ecosystems on which they all rely. The majority of studies into environmental activism and leadership for sustainability tend to be flawed because due to Eurocentrism they typically focus overmuch on privileged, white old men as role models. Instead, among the contributions of this chapter are its transformational focus on Márquez as representative of Latinx and young women of color rising today globally in environmental activism; another significant contribution as well is this chapter’s sharing information about toxic and unsustainable practices associated with gold mining as a result of many of the modern products consumers use in an increasingly toss-out-and-replace pattern, from cell phones and other trendy electronics to jewelry. Márquez’s environmental leadership has continued despite death threats from diverse players in Colombia’s complex political landscape, from mercenaries and drug lords to corporate shills. Her life and message have much to teach about the frightening risks and precarious rewards of activist leadership for Indigenous and Afro-Latin specific movements for environmental sustainability.

Publication Date

Summer 2022

Publication Title

“Francia Márquez’s Soul Mining: Recovering Ecology in Afro-Indigenous Activism.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Sustainability, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.


Palgrave Macmillan


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