Does environmental management matter? And if so, how does it come to matter? Here are three sites in which we meet environmental management (EM). First, Rio, Brazil, 1992. Follow Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh, chairing the Earth Summit and delivering an agreement: EM as a solution. Here EM matters as a promise. Second, Durban, South Africa, 2002. Visit a contested landfill site, sustained by the emerging carbon market. The ‘solution’, translating the atmosphere into a market, matters on the ground. Third, 2009, Western Asia. Join Nick, a facility manager employing simple math to bring into being a global carbon footprint of a transnational corporation. Nick’s EM work shapes the matter of carbon emissions. Analysing these stories together allows identifiying how environmental management matters: as promise, as material infrastructure, as practice. Across the sites, EM emerges as skilfully achieved but also problematic. Beyond staying with EM’s troubles, what we can take away are modes of questioning – for scrutinising the practices and politics of environmental management across scales.
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