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The Environmentalism of the Poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation

By: Joan Martinez-Alier

Edward Elgar

Paperback | Aug 2003 | #141089 | ISBN: 1843764865
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £33.50 $44/€38 approx
Hardback | Aug 2002 | #131684 | ISBN: 1840649097
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £85.00 $112/€96 approx

About this book

This text analyses several manifestations of the growing "environmental justice movement", and also of "popular environmentalism" and the "environmentalism of the poor", which will be seen in the coming decades as driving forces in the process to achieve an ecologically sustainable society. The author studies, in detail, many ecological distribution conflicts in history and at present, in urban and rural settings, showing how poor people often favour resource conservation. The environment is thus not so much a luxury of the rich as a neccessity of the poor. It concludes with the fundamental questions: who has the right to impose a language of valuation and who has the power to simplify complexity?


Part 1 Currents in the environmental movement: the cult of wilderness; the gospel of eco-efficiency; environmental justice and the environmentalism of the poor. Part 2 Ecological economics - "taking nature into account": the origins and scope of ecological economics; no production without distribution; disputes on value standards; Ludwig von Mises' priceless waterfall and Otto Neurath's naturalrechnung; emergent complexity and post-normal science. Part 3 Indices of (un)sustainability and neo-Malthusianism: HANPP, eco-space and EROI, MIPS and DMR; the "dematerialization" of consumption?; time and space, and the discount rate; carrying capacity; feminist neo-Malthusianism. Part 4 Poltiical ecology - the study of ecological distribution conflicts: environmentalism avant-la-lettre - copper mining in Japan; one hundred years of pollution in Peru; the story of Rio Tinto and other stories; Bougainville and West Papua; pollution miracles, and the social construction of nature; the origins and scope of political ecology; property rights and resource management. Part 5 Mangroves vs. shrimps: a tragedy of enclosures; Ecuador, Honduras and Colombia; shrimp farming in south and south east Asia; mangroves threatened in East Africa; the turtle conundrum and the demand for a consumers' boycott of farm-raised shrimp; cost-benefit vs. value pluralism. Part 6 The environmentalism of the poor - gold, oil, forests, rivers, biopiracy: conflicts on gold mining; oil in the Niger delta, and the birth of OilWatch; oil in Guatemala; the case against Unocal and Total because of the Yadana gas pipeline; plantations are not forests; stone container in Costa Rica; San Ignacio; the defence of the forests in India and Brazil; defending the rivers against development; underground water in India; international biopiracy vs. the value of local knowledge; farmers' rights and eco-Narodnism; InBio-Merck; Shaman pharmaceuticals; who has the power to simplify complexity?. Part 7 Indicators of urban unsustainability as indicators of social conflicts: the century of the motor car?; Lewis Mumford's relevant views; ecological economics and cities; Ruskin in Venice; scale and footprints; energy and evolution; pollution struggles in India, and Brimblecombe's hypothesis. Part 8 Environmental justice in the United States and South Africa: fighting "environmental racism"; wilderness vs. the environmentalism of the poor in South Africa; the Basel convention; environmental liabilities and uncertain risks - superfund; Yucca mountain. Part 9 The state and other actors: governance and environmental policy; environmental movements and the state; Endosulfan and cashew nuts; the environment and human rights; resistance as the path to sustainability; the relevance of SEN; gender and the environment. Part 10 The ecological debt: ecologically unequal exchange; memories of guano and quebracho; quantifying the ecological debt; the carbon debt - contraction, convergence and compensation; losing FACE; ecologi

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