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Environmental Debates

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  1. Environmental Debates Dominant paradigm values wealth creation and the domination of nature. Alternative environmental paradigm gives non-material values prominence and takes the view that humans should live in harmony with the environment. • Gaia Hypothesis: earth as a living organism • The environment as a global issue • Global environmental and climatic change

  2. Impact of Globalization and Development • Industrialization • Urbanization • Resource Extraction • World Bank Infrastructure Projects and Impacts • Removal of Trade Barriers and Open Markets • Structural Adjustment Programs and Debt

  3. Impact of Globalization and Development • Result = • More environmental destruction than at any previous moment in history • Crisis of biodiversity • Scale and Intensity of destruction of natural ecosystems • Global warming • Toxic wastes and toxic chemicals in the food chain

  4. Regional Deforestation Rates RegionForest AreaAnnual % Change (hectares 1995)(1991-1995) Tropical Regions Africa504.90-3.69 Asia/Oceania321.67-3.21 Latin America/Caribbean907.39-5.69 Nontropical Regions Africa15.34-0.05 Asia/Oceania243.20-0.21 Latin America/Caribbean42.65-0.12 Europe145.99+0.39 Former Soviet Union816.17+0.56 North America457.09+0.76 • Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization, State of the World's Forests 1997 (Rome: UN, 1997).

  5. Status of Coral Reefs by Region(mid-1990s) Region Total Reef Area % of Total at High (sq. kilometers)or Medium Risk Middle east20,00061 Caribbean20,00061 Atlantic3,10087 Indian Ocean36,10054 Southeast Asia68,10082 Pacific108,00041 Global Total255,300 58 • Source: World Resources institute, et al., Reefs at Risk: A Map-Based Indicator of Threats to the World's Coral Reefs (Washington, DC: 1998).

  6. Annual Mean Global Surface Air Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Concentrations, 1866-1998 Mean Temperature, C CO2, parts per million 382 352 322 292 262 232 202 15 x Carbon dioxide concentration x 14.5 x x x x 14 x Surface air temperature 13.5 Temperature trend, 1966-98: +1.69 C./century 13 1866 1916 1966 1998

  7. Materials* Consumption, 1970-1995(metric tons per capita) 197019751980198519901995 U.S.10.389.269.559.2610.2210.84 World**1.531.491.561.491.61 1.66 *Materials include: minerals, wood products, metals, and synthetics. **The world dataset does not include all commodities and varies greatly in how data is reported.

  8. U.S. Consumption of Global Resources • ResourceU.S. as a % of World • Energy Consumption (1995) 24.8% • Forestry Product Consumption (1996) 18.5% • Materials Consumption (1995) 28.7% • Water Consumption (1990) 13.7% • Population (1999) 4.6%

  9. Novel Conceptual Issues • 1. The creation of “technonatures” • Human have always intervened in nature • Rainforests and their inhabitants co-produce one another; • Farms and plantations as designed ecosystems • Molecular technologies—genetics and biotechnologies: new reproductive technologies; nanotechnologies • Biology under control is no longer “nature” • Capacity to “design” evolution?

  10. Novel Conceptual Issues • 2. New ideas about the relations of nature + culture • Development: both nature and culture irrelevant in “modern” societies. • False: cultural differences increasingly important + development and economic activities of industrialized nations led to current crisis

  11. Novel Conceptual Issues • --Cultural Ecology Paradigm (Anthropology, 1950s-1960s): humans “adapt” to the environment while changing it to meet their own needs • --Problem: larger forces (e.g., capitalism) affect local human/environment relations • --Political Ecology: human/nature relations in the context of local cultures, global forces; includes issues of ethnicity, gender etc.

  12. Towards Solutions: International Institutions (UN Conferences) • 1.Stockholm (1972), Declaration on the Environment • http://www.tufts.edu/departments/fletcher/multi/texts/STOCKHOLM-DECL.txt --North/South Conflicts: • --Development/Economic Welfare vs. the Environment? • --Protect rainforest vs. transform production/consumption?

  13. Towards Solutions: International Institutions (UN Conferences) • 2. Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro (1992), Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development • http://www.nssd.net/index.html -- Nation-States as Obstacles? -- Problems are global/international -- Principle of Sovereignty over a given territory breaks human unity + interrelation between territories (global ecosystem) -- Resource extraction important to states; each acts on behalf of interests

  14. Towards Solutions: International Institutions (UN Conferences) • Growing awareness: interdependent/global character of the problem • International Institutions more rhetoric than action; no power to implement • Everyone’s an environmentalist yet nothing changes?

  15. Alternative Institutions and Social Movements: bypassing nation- states? Growth of Humanitarian NGOs in 1990s (undermine rationale for Nation-State?) Critique of debt burdens “Debt-for-Nature” plans http://www.conservation.org/web/ABOUTCI/STRATEGY/Dfnswap.htm

  16. Alternative Institutions and Social Movements: bypassing nation-states? New Social Movements Privileged spaces, sources of inspiration to think differently about the environment Environmental Justice Movement = poor/minorities + “environmental discrimination” Rainforest Movement Indigenous People’s Movements Oppose lack of transparency/participation in making decisions about uses of space Seek voice = local democracy or autonomy

  17. Key Features of Transnational Activist Networks 1. Simultaneously Local and Global • Global: • --“Glacial time” frame; evolutionary thinking = global perspective • --Use of new technologies (internet/web to coordinate actions, share information; media events, video) Local: --Defense of places; harmony with environment starts locally --Participation and Grassroots organizations

  18. Key Features of Transnational Activist Networks 2. Source of a new global biological identity capable of weaving in singular cultures and diversity? • Include local communities with different ways of thinking about/using environment • rights to territorial autonomy + cultural identity • preservation of local practices and knowledges (different ideas about use of territory)

  19. Key Features of Transnational Activist Networks 3. Formation of a new culture (new ways of thinking about relations among economy, society, nature)? • Nature in the “modern” model: --radical separation human and nature --Nature to be conquered through science/technology • Other models: continuity human/natural/spiritual = different treatment of natural world

  20. Key Features of Transnational Activist Networks 4. Growing links environmental movements + other social struggles (human rights, women’s groups, indigenous peoples)

  21. Ethnic minorities and indigenous rights movements • http://www.china.org.cn/e-groups/shaoshu/ Honor Our Neighbors Origins and Rights http://www.nativeweb.org/resources/human_rights_organizations/

  22. UNPO -- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation “UNPO is an international organisation created by nations and peoples around the world, who are not represented as such in the world´s principal international organisations, such as the United Nations.” • “Founded in 1991, UNPO today consists of over 50 members who represent over 100 million persons.” • “UNPO offers an international forum for occupied nations, indigenous peoples, minorities, and even oppressed majorities who currently struggle to regain their lost countries, preserve their cultural identities, protect their basic human and economic rights and safeguard the natural environment.” • http://www.unpo.org/

  23. Evolving Ontology Launch Broadcast July 28, 1999

  24. Evolving Ontology Joseph Firmage February 8, 2000 Launch Broadcast July 28, 1999