The ‘solution’ is now the ‘problem:’ wind energy, colonisation and the ‘genocide-ecocide nexus’ in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca

A.A. Dunlap

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The coastal Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca, Mexico – known locally as the Istmo – is regarded as one of the best wind energy generating sites in the world. Marketed as a preeminent solution to mitigating climate change, wind energy is now applying increasing pressure on indigenous groups in the region. The article begins by outlining a definition of colonialism that assists in identifying the temporal continuity of the colonial project to understand its relationship with wind energy development. The next section briefly reviews colonial genocide studies, discussing disciplinary debates between liberal and post-liberal genocide scholars, the relevance of self-management within colonial systems, the genocide-ecocide nexus and the ‘intent’ of destructive development projects. This leads into reviewing the claims and findings that emerged from fieldwork in the Istmo, which is divided into the north and south to show the different, yet similar dynamics taking place in the region. Finally, the article concludes that wind energy development as a ‘solution’ to climate change not only distracts from its dependence on fossil fuels and mining, but renews and continues a slow industrial genocide, assimilating and targeting (indigenous) people who continue to value their land, sea and cultural relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-573
Number of pages24
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Climate Change
  • Colonialism
  • Genocide-ecocide Nexus
  • Green Economy
  • Oaxaca
  • Wind Energy


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