Wind farms, Zapotec community, Private development, Sovereignty, Decolonial climate justice

Document Type

Research Paper


This qualitative case study examines the effects of private sector-led wind farm development on the Indigenous Zapotec community in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Mexico. As a location with one of the highest wind potentials in the world, the Isthmus has, over the past twenty-five years, increasingly attracted the attention of international companies seeking to build and profit from massive wind farm installations. The Zapotecs of the Isthmus have fought back against this private development, claiming that their way of life, land rights, and sovereignty are threatened by the physical and ecological effects of the wind farms and by the companies’ unjust and often illegal methods of acquiring Indigenous land. Research was conducted through in-person formal and informal interviews with local Indigenous land rights organizers and participant observations from the fishermen of Álvaro Obregón, a Zapotec community on the Eastern coast of the Laguna Superior. The effects were analyzed and divided into five categories based on interview responses: ecological, health, safety, po­litical, and cultural. Partially corroborated by previous literature on the dispute, this analysis suggests that the region’s wind energy movement, with its complex and intertwining ecological, social, economic, and polit­ical implications, remains a significant contributor to ongoing Indigenous land dispossession and elimination within the settler-colonial Mexican state. Conclusions indicate that neoliberal solutions to climate change cannot adequately address demands for decolonial climate justice.




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