Environmental peacebuilding has evolved since Conca and Dabelko’s seminal work on peacemaking to now include preventative interventions as well as those that occur post-conflict. In recent years, both practitioners and academics have identified several gaps considering the focus on interstate conflicts as well as the need to recognize the leadership of women, Indigenous, and youth peacebuilding actors. However, the process of integrating worldviews in the sustainability sciences risks instrumentalizing belief systems in a way that perpetuates underlying power and political asymmetries.
Critical water management literature calls for an ontological shift in how epistemologies relate to one another (Ermine et al., 2007; Stefanelli et al., 2017; Taylor, Longboat, and Grafton, 2019; Reid et al., 2021). A worldview is defined as a set of assumptions about physical and social reality that influence personality traits, motivation, cognition, behaviour, and culture (Koltko-Rivera, 2004). Ontologies, or worldviews, can validate or invalidate ways of knowing and thereby open or constrain what is deemed viable policy responses within water governance and environmental peacebuilding. In response to the need for an ontological shift, this paper introduces a non-hierarchical conceptual model for braiding non-Indigenous and Indigenous ways of knowing for the management of the Great Lakes.
Keywords: environmental peacebuilding, water governance, phenomenological peace, political ontologies, worldviews