André Habet

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Schell, Eileen


Belize, cacao, counterstory, future, policy, sound

Subject Categories



This dissertation investigates future climate rhetorics of Belize through a variety of methods in order to mediate the various conceptions of the future professed in climate policy, experiential phenomenology, and acoustic ecologies of agroecology. Chapter one considers the values embedded in climate change policy documents, specifically the Nation Communications documents composed by Belize’s various ministries since the country signed to the Paris Agreement in 2016. Using the People’s Agreement of Cochamba as an alternative lens, the chapter explores how people-centered, as opposed to market-centered, attunements informing climate policy can potentially lead to a more just, equitable future that does not rely on technocratic knowledge and the maintenance of colonial relations. Chapter two delves into a case study undertaken by the researcher at the Trio Farms Cacao Association’s cacao agroforestry concession to glean how the farmers working in this system conceive of changes in their labors as a result of increased temperatures, increased rainfall volatility, and increased incidents of natural disasters, proposing the ‘rhetoric of hope’ to discuss the futures projected by the farmers in spite of the industry’s bleak outlook. Chapter three builds from the case study through a sonic rhetoric performance writing experiment using passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) devices deployed in the concession to discuss audible perceptions of biodiversity and harmony in order to demonstrate mediations rhetoricians can provide to discussions about the role of human ‘ear ring’ amid the rise in machine ‘listening.’ The fourth chapter uses the insights of the previous chapters to develop a narrative in the method of what Aja Martinez’s terms ‘counter story’ in order to conceive of alternate futures wherein Belizeans might alter their political trajectory towards equity and wellbeing during a time of extreme heating events and collapsed global supply chains. The dissertation then concludes by discussing insights about the methods used in the dissertation that might be improved for repeatability as well as how aspects of the researcher’s life as an environmental activist have informed the work herein.


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