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- Conservation: History and Future of Conservationism | iqubykajox.tk
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Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory S Jane Kinney ; Michael Fasulo. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Discusses environmentally-oriented educational opportunities and occupations in corporations, government, small business, non-profit organizations, and the media. Moreover, the trend continued through several years of falling real energy prices. Why the different reactions to the two energy shocks? One explanation is perceptions: it took the second shock to get energy.
Another is that the decision environment had changed by in ways that made it more likely the system would respond to price signals. Government policies to promote energy-efficient technology and provide necessary information were in place by , making it easier for energy users to respond effec-. Moreover, U. Because these explanations reinforce each other, it is difficult to estimate their relative magnitude. The multiple explanations suggest that the price effect depends on other factors: technological change, policy choices, change in industrial structure, and information processing by energy users.
Since these factors can be changed independently of energy prices, it seems likely that with appropriate policies in place, energy intensity might have improved faster than it did, even in the apparently price-responsive period. Energy conservation policy in the United States has been predicated on the theory that government should intervene chiefly to correct so-called market imperfections such as the tendency of a supply system based on market prices to produce too little environmental quality because individual consumers cannot be charged for it and too little information on energy-efficient technologies and their costs.
The government can also intervene to mitigate regulatory and institutional barriers to the functioning of the price system. Following this theory, many U. Experience with these efforts shows that the market imperfection theory needs to be expanded to take into account deviations in energy users' behavior from conventional economic rationality. Such processes within individuals and small groups have impeded the effectiveness of conservation programs in the United States, but when they are taken into account, programs became much more effective. Evaluations of incentive and information programs show that, although they are sometimes very effective at increasing the pace of adoption of available technology, success varies greatly, even between nominally identical programs Berry, For instance, home energy rating systems reach between 2 and percent of homes, depending on the market Vine and Harris, , and utility companies offering exactly the same financial incentive program for home retrofits typically have participation rates that vary by a factor of 10 or more Stern et al.
Success depends on a number of features of implementation. A key is getting the attention of potential participants with appropriate marketing efforts, targeting of audiences, selection of trustworthy sources of information, and other basic principles of communication Berry, ; Ester and Winett, ; Stern et al. Getting people's attention appears to be the main barrier to the success of financial incentive programs for home retrofits, so that, paradoxically, "the stronger the financial incentive, the more the program's success depends on nonfinancial factors" Stern, Apparently, larger incentives ensure success among those who enter a program but do little to attract participants.
Finding the proper intermediary, such as a builder, manufacturer, designer, or lender, can also be critical. Home energy rating systems have been introduced most effectively with the active support of the building and lending industries Vine and Harris, , and residential conservation programs, especially in low-income areas, have often depended for success on involving highly trusted local organizations, such as churches and housing groups Stern et al. Involving consumers in program design can help fit a program to its audience and locale Stern and Aronson, Thus, conservation policies and programs played a part in the U.
Improved policies and implementation, along with higher prices, are among the reasons energy productivity improved faster at the end of the period than at the beginning. These three factors act in conjunction, however. If, for example, energy prices fall or remain stable, lowering energy users' motivation to change, some policy instruments will become less effective than they were in The trends of the late s demonstrate this effect U.
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The technological potential for improvements in energy productivity are huge National Academy of Sciences, b; National Research Council, a. However, the worldwide prospects for implementing technological changes, and therefore for mitigating the release of greenhouse gases, depends on the behavior of several human systems, including world markets for fossil fuels, national policies for economic and technological development and energy management, global social trends in government and the development of technology, and the behavior of individuals and communities.
The world energy price and supply picture will affect the spread of the Western improvements in energy productivity to other countries. Under conditions like those of the late s, with relatively low energy prices and stable supplies, sharp further improvements in installed energy efficiency are unlikely, even in the Western industrialized countries, without new policy initiatives. The price motive for efficiency is weak, policies that rely on that motive are undermined, and the lowered cost of energy is a spur to economic growth, particularly in energy-intensive sectors.
Given continuing population and economic growth, those conditions point to increases in energy use in the wealthy countries, although probably not at pre rates of increase. A new round of sharp price increases would cut energy use both by reducing economic activity and energy intensity, at least for a period. The world picture also depends greatly on the development paths of growing economies. Industrialization is energy intensive, enough to have overcome the effects of the oil shocks in relatively wealthy countries, such as Greece and Portugal, that were still industrializing.
Consumers' choices are also important. Where increased income goes into homes and durable possessions, as in Japan, energy productivity is more likely to be higher than where it goes into personal transportation, as in the United States, or into refrigerators or other energy-using appliances, as may become the case in China. The future of the dissolving socialist bloc countries holds many uncertainties. Many of these countries have highly energy-intense economies and therefore seem to have room for improved energy efficiency given the rise of markets and more democratic control of policy.
However, they lack finances to develop technology or implement incentive or information programs and need time to design and implement effective policies for local conditions. Much room exists for research and for pilot experiments with policy options as ways to reduce the uncertainty. These and other human systems will determine the extent to which the Western experience with energy efficiency will proceed further or be repeated in other countries. The future will depend on the ways these systems interact in each country and on the ways national and local policies intervene in them.
Intensification of the greenhouse effect is likely to alter rainfall patterns on a regional scale. As a rule, regions that receive increased rainfall are likely to benefit; decreased rainfall is the more serious concern. The history of the human consequences of severe drought can be instructive about the variety of human consequences of, and responses to, unmitigated climatic change. The human role in causing drought in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa is a matter of controversy.
Throughout the modern history of drought-famine association in the region, there has been a tendency to interpret extreme events as indicators of trends and to attribute the presumed trends to human mismanagement of the local environment. In fact, Sahelian droughts have been recurrent events. The droughts of the s and s were preceded by several others in this century, one of which, in , resulted in intense famine with high mortality. The controversy over the human role in causing Sahelian drought revived with the drought of The prevailing view was that desertification was an anthropogenic process reflecting deforestation, overgrazing, overfarming, burning, and mismanaged irrigation resulting in salinization of soil and water.
Lack of good data is a major obstacle to understanding the causes of Sahelian drought. Although some evidence supports the orthodox view, some recent research using remote sensing, field measurements, and intensive investigations of small areas has called that view into question.
Observable ecological changes are less significant than had been supposed and correlate better with rainfall records than with land management Mortimore, The consequences of Sahelian droughts in this century have depended on the ability of indigenous systems of livelihood to. During the century, these indigenous systems have undergone continual change, first as a result of policies of colonial powers, and later in response to postwar development policies promoting ''modernization'' and further integration into the global economy. There are competing views of the effects of these century-long trends in political economy on the ability of local populations to withstand drought.
In one view, the main results were increased dependency and vulnerability; in the other, vulnerability decreased because of improved availability of medical care, famine relief, and a national infrastructure that allowed for easier. The three major droughts of the century, in , in , and in the s, have had different effects on the lives and livelihoods of the local populations. The drought, which was of comparable severity to the drought of the s, appears to have produced greater increases in mortality; its effects on malnutrition and on the social fabric are harder to determine Kates, The knowledge base is better for comparing the droughts of the s and s.
Population continued to increase at up to 3 percent annually, forests continued to be cut for fuel and farming, and other forms of resource exploitation probably continued at about the previous rates. Grazing pressure fell, owing to animal mortality but, by the s, cattle holdings had recovered to 60 percent of predrought levels in some areas, and small livestock probably recovered more.
On balance, the human demands on the local environment were at least as severe as before the drought. The drought of the s was as severe as the previous one. Annual rainfall in was of the same order as in , and in some areas of the Western Sahel, less. Crop failures and pasture shortages were equally serious.
Yet famine did not occur on the same scale, and animal mortality was lower. Possibly food aid was earlier and better in some countries, but in northern Nigeria, where food aid was not a major factor in either period, social distress was noticeably less marked in the s, even in the worst affected areas.
What explains the relatively low human cost of the s drought? It was not the response of the affected governments. Political officials were taken by surprise about equally by both droughts. The people most experienced in surviving failures of agricultural production and managing the environment were those living in the affected areas, but this group had little influence on policy. Of the several political interests concerned with the drought prob-. Consequently, proposals for new technologies for coping with the drought failed to take indigenous technologies and management systems seriously, and measures to strengthen the poor—for instance by insurance, improved access to resources, alternative job opportunities, and price supports—were rarely considered or given high priority.
A key to drought response appears to have been the role of indigenous forms of land use and response to food shortage. It is possible to distinguish two strategies of land use for areas like the Sahel that face recurrent drought or a long-term threat of declining rainfall.
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One strategy—maladaptive in the long run—is characterized by deforestation and overcultivation and leads to land degradation, decreases in productivity, and, in the event of drought, short-term collapse. Another—adaptive in the long run—is based on flexible land use, economic diversification, integrated agroforestry-livestock management, and intensive use of wetlands. This pattern tends to generate sustainable, intensive systems and is resilient in the face of drought. Indigenous strategies of response to acute food shortage apparently enabled the Sahelian populations to survive notwithstanding the tardiness, inadequate scale, and maladministration of most relief programs.
These strategies, which relied on economic diversification, such as using labor in urban areas to supplement agricultural income, have evolved in an environment of climatic uncertainty and confer a degree of short-term resiliency. Their future evolution is hard to predict. Continued integration into the world economy may improve roads and other infrastructure, thus enabling diversification; it may also increase pressure for development of cash crops and thus hasten land degradation.
The ability of indigenous systems of land use and crisis management to cut the link between drought and famine depends on various factors that sustain the indigenous systems. These include diversity of economic opportunities, absence of war, and appropriate national and international policies on migration. Critical variables include the development of infrastructure and the set of national policies governing access to land, trees, and water. The social distribution of wealth, particularly secure rights of individual or community access to natural resources, determines the extent of human vulnerability to drought.
Although some impor-. Ruling and military elites, professionals in the civil service, traders especially in grain , capitalistic farmers, livestock owners, wood fuel exploiters, and small farmers and herders all have separate and distinct interests in the outcome, and most of these interests do not accord high priority to sustainable environmental management or drought preparedness. Although not enough is known to forecast the consequences of future Sahelian droughts, two alternative scenarios can be imagined.
In the doomsday scenario, increasing numbers of people generate cumulative environmental degradation overcutting of woodland, overcultivation of soils, overgrazing of pastures, and overirrigating and possibly overuse of water , suffer increasing food scarcities as available grain per capita declines, and either starve in huge numbers or migrate in distress to other areas where they become permanently dependent on international relief.
In the optimistic scenario, farming systems intensify using an increased labor supply, productivity of the land is raised, sustainable agroforestry-with livestock systems are extended, and household income sources are diversified and slowly shifted via the market and short-term mobility away from agriculture and toward other economic sectors. The experience of the s and s suggests that the optimistic scenario is a plausible alternative, given the right policy environment.
Its success depends on increased recognition of the potential of indigenous sociocultural systems of land use and household strategies of economic diversification to increase resilience, and on policies that promote resource access and support those local social systems. The consequences of future droughts may also depend on rates of urbanization, growth of the urban informal sector, and capital investment in better favored rural areas. The present policies of governments and international organizations in the Sahel can create conditions that promote or impede the ability of indigenous systems to respond and thus determine the human consequences of future drought.
This section distinguishes seven human systems that may be affected by, and respond to, global change: individual perception, judgment, and action; markets; sociocultural systems; organized action at the subnational level; national policy; international co-. It briefly surveys current knowledge and ignorance about the responses of each system and the relationships between them and identifies broad areas in which additional research is needed.
It also outlines particular research activities and needs within these areas. The human consequences of global change begin with the individual. Individuals notice the effects of change and either make adjustments or not. Individual behavior is critical in three quite distinct ways: individual judgments and choices mediate responses in all human systems because decision makers begin with inputs from individuals, whether themselves or their advisers.
The consequences of global change often depend on the aggregation of the uncoordinated actions of large numbers of individuals. And individual behavior can be organized to influence collective and political responses. Responses to global changes presuppose assessments of "what is happening, what the possible effects are and how well one likes them" Fischhoff and Furby, Knowledge about human judgment and decision is therefore relevant to understanding responses to global change. Normative decision principles, such as those of cost-benefit analysis or mathematical decision theory, are limited in their usefulness by the fallibility of the individuals who try to implement them Fischhoff, ; they are even more imperfect for estimating the behavior of people who are not trying Fischhoff et al.
Past research on human judgment and decision has clarified many differences between decision theory and actual decision making Kahneman et al. Behavioral decision research demonstrates that most people have difficulty comprehending the very low probabilities assigned to environmental disasters Slovic et al. Moreover, it is difficult or impossible to understand unprecedented events and therefore to make wise choices between mitigating them and adapting to them. One result is that lay people frequently perceive environmental hazards differently from specialists Saarinen, ; Fischhoff and Furby, ; Gould et al.
Little direct knowledge exists, however, on perceptions of climate, climate change, or other aspects of global change Whyte, ; Kempton, ; Doble et al. Behavioral research also raises questions about expert judgment. Expert analyses, such as represented in general circulation models of climate, inevitably rely on judgment, and judgment becomes more unreliable when the models move into a future different from any past experience.
Faith in expert judgments rests on the analysts' success in identifying all the relevant variables and measuring them and their interrelations. Psychological research suggests that people, including technical experts, "have limited ability to recognize the assumptions upon which their judgments are based, appraise the completeness of their problem representations, or assess the limits of their own knowledge. Typically, their inability encourages overconfidence" Fischhoff et al. Overconfidence is most likely to affect expert analysts when they lack experience testing their predictions against reality—an inevitable characteristic of predictions about unprecedented events Fischhoff, Other kinds of systematic error may also affect experts.
For instance, in water resource management and other fields in which average climate parameters are used as a basis for decision, experts seem to exhibit a "stability bias," a tendency to underestimate the likelihood of extreme events Riebsame, ; Morrisette, Careful analysts also sometimes overlook or underestimate the likelihood of some possible combinations of events, as they did in a famous assessment of the likelihood of nuclear power plant failure in the s Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Little is known about how individuals or groups formulate alternative action plans when faced with a problem, such as responding to a global environmental change.
In particular, little is known about what facilitates or impedes creative generation of options, or how vested interest or attachment to the status quo may blind individuals or groups to available options. Research Needs Research on what and how nonexperts think about particular global environmental problems can help estimate how individuals will respond to new information about the global. This research should address particular beliefs about global change as well as how people evaluate probabilistic and uncertain information and how they combine multiple bits of information from experts, mass media accounts, and personal experience e.
Such research will require both intensive methods of interaction with informants and survey methods. Research effort should also be devoted to studying the expert judgment of environmental analysts about global change. This research should address such questions as: Does professional training encourage or discourage particular misperceptions? Does it lead purportedly independent experts to share common preconceptions?
How well do the experts understand the limits of their knowledge? Do estimates of the human effects of global change take into account feedbacks among human systems? In analyses of possible responses, what responses are likely to be omitted?
To whom do experts turn for analyses of feasibility of responses? What implicit assumptions about human behavior guide the analyses? With preliminary answers to such questions, it is possible to estimate the sensitivity of analyses to variables that affect expert judgment and therefore to make better informed interpretations of these judgments.
The consequences of global environmental change often depend on the aggregated responses of very large numbers of individuals. The example of U. Action to block UV-B radiation from the skin of a billion light-skinned people would similarly take many discrete actions by each of them. Financial considerations motivate action, but structural constraints limit action for instance, not owning the home one would like to insulate ; personal attitudes and values increase the likelihood of taking actions that fit the attitudes, subject to the other constraints; specific knowledge.
Knowledge has been developed about the conditions under which individuals respond favorably to information Ester and Winett, ; Dennis et al. Research Needs At least three kinds of research should be pursued further to improve understanding of how individual behavior may be significant in response to global change. First is empirical research on the actual responsiveness of behavior to interventions believed to affect it. Energy conservation programs have often produced less than the predicted effects—but as already noted, the responses have been highly variable.
For studying possible interventions to mitigate or adapt to global change, pilot studies and controlled evaluation research are particularly important for a discussion of issues of method in the energy conservation context, see Stern et al. Second, new research is warranted to determine the relative contributions and interactions of the various influences on particular individual behaviors implicated in global change e. This research should be interdisciplinary because, in most instances, behavior is jointly determined by technical, economic, psychological, and social variables in ways that are likely to differ as a function of the behavior and the societal context.
Third, research should be conducted to build an improved interface between behavioral studies of resource use and formal models, which are guided mainly by economic assumptions. Empirical analysis of the behavioral processes underlying descriptive categories such as price elasticity, implicit discount rate, and response lag is likely to add to understanding of human responses to price stimuli and government intervention, and also to encourage needed dialogue between economically and psychologically oriented analysts of consumer behavior Stern, , Individuals, appropriately mobilized, can be powerful actors at the community and national levels.
Individual perception and judgment determines support for social movements, such as the. Those actions, in turn, influence individual behavior both directly and through their effects on markets. Individual reactions, in the aggregate, determine the public acceptability of policy alternatives being considered for response. And secular changes in individual attitudes and values, such as about the importance of material goods to human well-being, may have great effects on the long-term response to global change. Past research has investigated the correlates of environmental concern and related attitudes e.
Such attitudes have been strong and persistent in many countries since the s. Other research has been devoted to the rise of the environmental movement and to its objectives and tactics see below. Research Needs There are important gaps in the literature. New research should carefully assess alternative hypotheses about the links between individuals' values and attitudes and their representation in the activities of environmental movement groups and other institutions involved in response to global change. For instance, the view that environmental organizations reflect widespread attitudes should be tested in the global context against other views, for instance that social movement activists act as entrepreneurs, with their own interests separate from those of the public they claim to represent e.
Future research should also address the bases of environmental concern. Such concern may derive from a new way of thinking about the relationships of humanity to the planet e. Outside the U. For instance, in several Soviet republics, the environmental movement of the late s expressed demands for autonomy by smaller nationality groups against the dominant Russians. On another dimension, environmental concern may derive from personal experience or secondhand accounts in the mass media. The source of concern may determine the conditions under which people become aroused about a global change or recep-.
The determinants of concern are likely to vary with the environmental problem, the country, and characteristics of the individual, so the research should be comparative between countries and environmental problems of different kinds. One of the most likely consequences of global change will be effects on the prices of important commodities and factors of economic production in local and world markets. As a result, uncoordinated human responses will be affected greatly by markets.
According to economic theory, producers and consumers respond to changing relative incomes, prices, and external constraints, so that, if the market signals are allowed to reach individuals and market prices include all the social costs and benefits of individual actions, the responses will be relatively rapid and efficient. Markets allow for many forms of uncoordinated adjustment, as the example of climate change illustrates. People may rapidly alter patterns of consumption e.
Over the longer run, societies may respond, in the case of unfavorable climatic developments, with the migration of capital and labor to areas of more hospitable climates.
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Structures tend to retreat from the advancing sea, people tend to migrate from unpleasant climates, and agricultural, sylvan, and industrial capital tend to migrate away from lands that lose their comparative advantage. In addition, technology may change, particularly in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and building.
However, the conditions that economic theory specifies for efficient adjustment are not generally met in the case of the global environment Baumol and Oates, In three important respects, existing markets do not provide the right signals in the form of prices and incomes of social scarcities and values.
And in addition, as already noted, the participants in markets do not always behave as strict rules of economic rationality predict. Environmental externalities of economic activity, that is, effects experienced by those not directly involved in economic transactions, are not priced in markets today. Someone who emits a ton of carbon into the atmosphere may produce great damage to the future climate but does not pay for the damage: effects that.
Similar problems arise with the externalities of deforestation, CFC emissions, and other environmental problems. Economic theory recognizes that when there are significant externalities, uncoordinated responses will be inappropriate because the market does not transmit the right signals. An additional problem concerns making tradeoffs when each response option produces different externalities Fischhoff et al. The market mechanism is overridden at times, either by political systems such as when countries set the prices of oil or coal well below or above world market levels ; or because custom and tradition determine property rights in a way that precludes the emergence of markets, as in the case of water allocation in the western United States.
In such cases, individuals are either not faced with prices at all or are faced with prices unrepresentative of true social scarcities, and their uncoordinated behavior will not achieve the rapid and efficient adjustments characteristic of free markets. Discount rates in markets, such as interest rates, reflect a social time preference for the present over the future that does not correspond to social valuation of the distant future reflected in concern about problems of global change Lind, For events a century in the future, a discount rate that is, say, 3 percent per annum higher than true social preference implies that the future events are valued at only one-twentieth that is, 1.
Market interest rates may be too high to reflect this generation's concerns about the future of the environment; vigorous debate exists about whether the concept of discounting is even moral when human life is at stake MacLean, Uncoordinated decisions following such a discount rate undervalue future threats and opportunities.
Economic theory suggests prescriptions for government action when market signals do not correspond to social values. The goal usually considered most important is to get the environmental impacts reliably translated into the price and income signals that will induce private adaptation. But it is difficult to arrive at the "correct" prices because so many of the impacts of global change are unknown or uncertain and because the appropriate values of future events are unlikely to be the same from all generational vantage points and resource endowments Lind, ; Pearce and Turner, Economists have suggested some approaches to the problem of developing well-functioning markets to guide responses to global.
Theory suggests that governments intervene with policies that meet at least one of these criteria: 1 they have such long lead times that they must be undertaken now to be effective; 2 they are likely to be economical even in the absence of global change; or 3 the penalty from waiting a decade or two to undertake the policy is extremely high. These criteria suggest four kinds of intervention, which we note here.
Government may encourage quasi-market mechanisms before shortages occur. For example, to ensure that water will be efficiently allocated if climate change affects its availability, governments might introduce general allocational devices, such as auctions, to dispatch water to the highest-value uses. The same approach might be applied to allocate land use near sea coasts and in flood plains and to control pollution by auctioning pollution rights.
Governments might also support systems of risk-adjusted insurance for flood plains or hurricanes or international climate insurance. These quasi-market mechanisms have both the advantages and the disadvantages of the market. They make allocations efficiently but tend to undersupply goods needed by those who do not participate effectively in the markets, such as people outside the geographical boundaries of a quasi-market, who may receive polluted air or salinated water.
Government may support research and development on inexpensive and reliable ways of slowing or adapting to global change. Research on adaptation is undersupplied by markets because inventors cannot capture the full fruits of their inventions. Research on mitigation technologies that will slow global changes are even more seriously undersupplied in markets, because not only can inventors not collect the fruits of their efforts, but also the fruits, such as preservation of climate, are unpriced or underpriced in the market.
International agreements may provide for international adaptation strategies, such as improved international markets, which allow migration of labor and capital over a greater geographical range than national markets. Governments may promote needed knowledge and collect and distribute data about global change, to enable rational response. It is difficult for people to mitigate or adapt if they do not understand what is happening or the costs of the available responses and of inaction; costs of adaptation will be reduced to the extent that managers, diplomats, and voters are well informed about well-established scientific results.
Research Needs Although the above market-oriented response strategies are strongly supported by economic theory, knowledge is weak about how they may be effectively implemented. Three lines of research into markets can add to understanding of the available response strategies. First, empirical studies are needed of the implementation of quasi-market mechanisms for adaptation to global change, to determine how particular mechanisms work in particular social and political systems.
For instance, systems for auctioning emission rights can be made infeasible by political opposition, subverted by fraud, undermined by political decisions, or otherwise altered from their theoretically pure operation Tietenberg, , explains the principle in the case of local air pollution; application to global change would be more difficult. Retrospective and prospective studies of the operation of such mechanisms can illuminate the problems that arise in implementation and assess the actual, as opposed to theoretical, effects of such mechanisms on equity and efficiency.
Such assessments should compare quasi-market mechanisms to available regulatory mechanisms, as each actually operates see the section below on national policy. Second, studies of the valuation of global environmental externalities are critically important to address several key questions. For instance: To what extent can knowledge or technology be substituted for the outputs of environmental systems, thus making those outputs less indispensable?
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Is such substitution desirable? How can the ''services'' produced by the natural environment be included in economic accounting systems, such as national income accounts? How can the producers and recipients of externalities arrive at a common valuation if one side is disadvantaged in financial resources, and therefore in the ability to participate in markets or quasi-markets? How do people value, and make tradeoffs between, different kinds of externalities? How do different actors value the effects of human interventions in the environment and make tradeoffs between effects? Some of these questions are addressed in work by Mitchell and Carson, , and Nordhaus, Third, studies of social discount rates are needed, especially to estimate preferences concerning the future environment so they can be included in evaluations of global environmental change e.
Many believe that market discount rates are too high to accurately represent the social value of the future environment, although this value is unknown. Between the uncoordinated activities of individuals and the formally organized activities of governments and international organizations lie the oldest forms of social organization: families, clans, tribes, and other social units held together by such bonds as solidarity, obligation, duty, and love. These sociocultural systems have undergone considerable change throughout human history, yet informal groups connected by these bonds still exist and the bonds still influence behavior independently of governments and markets.
Sociocultural systems are important in terms of global change in two ways. Some long-lived social units, whose survival may be threatened by global change, have developed ways of interacting with their environments that may be adaptable by others as strategies for response. Also, informal social bonds can have important effects on individual and community responses to global change and on the implementation of organized policy responses.
Indigenous peoples that were not tightly integrated into world markets have developed technological and social adaptations that often maintain their subsistence in reasonable balance with the local environment.
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The adaptations of Sahelian peoples to an environmental regime of recurrent drought is one example. A parallel example can be found in the indigenous economic systems on the Amazon, which for at least years have used the ecosystem's material in ways that do not threaten its long-term productivity Hecht and Cockburn, The Amazon's indigenous people are a major repository of practical environmental knowledge about sustainable use of resources Moran, ; Posey, Slash-and-bum cultivation with adequate fallow periods allows for the recovery of vegetation in tropic moist forests Uhl et al.
Some such systems can give per. Agricultural systems based on indigenous models can be profitable in a market economy. Japanese colonist smallholders in the Amazon have created complex systems that prevent soil degradation and tolerate soil acidity and aluminum toxicity better than annual crops. These systems involve polycultures of mixed perennial and annual crops that are transformed, over time, into polycultures of mixed perennials.
Commercial quantities of black pepper, cacao, passion fruit, rubber, papaya, eggs, and pumpkins and other vegetables are produced Subler and Uhl, Into this sustainable, intensive agroforestry system, the Japanese farmers often incorporate fish culture and chicken and pig production and use waste or refuse from one operation as inputs to other operations Uhl et al.
The knowledge about environmental adaptation resident in indigenous social groups depends, of course, on the survival of these groups. Development strategies that destroy the forests can undermine the ability to mitigate or respond to global change by threatening local sociocultural systems based on sustainable, noninvasive strategies of using the land. In the Amazon, the newly expanding, extensive land uses are not compatible with indigenous Indian systems of gathering, long-fallow cultivation, fishing, and hunting and also threaten the subsistence of some 2 million small-scale extractors who collect rubber, nuts, resins, palm products, and medicines while practicing small-scale farming and foraging.
Current issues in the Brazilian policy debate that will affect the viability of indigenous groups include the implementation of reserves on which these groups collectively determine resource exploitation Hecht and Cockburn, , institutions governing the enclosure of public land for unrestricted private uses, and various types of park or biosphere areas with protected wilderness and some degree of zoned multiple use Poole, Indigenous sociocultural systems that have adapted to highly variable environments may offer lessons for improving the robustness of social systems to environmental changes outside of past experience.
The adaptation in the Sahel points to the importance of diversified sources of cash and subsistence in allowing local groups to adapt to environmental change with limited human cost. An instructive counterexample may be the American Great Plains, where a new generation of settlers between the s and s developed an agricultural system poorly adapted to the area's vari-. The limited adaptability became obvious in the Dust Bowl period of the s.
The results included large-scale out-migration and the development of a national system of governmental supports for regional agriculture that encouraged the remaining farmers to further expand their use of limited water supplies. Some analysts believe these changes brought the farmers' adaptability without continued outside assistance into even more serious question Worster, Other recent research, however, argues that the serious drought of the s did not have devastating effects and suggests that a recurrence of the climate of the s in the Great Plains would have little effect on the region's agriculture Rosenberg et al.
Research Needs Research on intensive, sustainable agricultural systems can help identify and evaluate viable alternatives to development strategies that have resulted in deforestation and land degradation in the tropics. Such research can help develop strategies that may provide subsistence and cash for rural populations but that do not afford the high returns to labor and to speculative activities of unrestricted, extensive land use Moran, Research on systems of land use in variable environments can help identify the characteristics of some of these systems that allow them to take environmental change in stride.
Such research can identify anticipatory policies that may enable local or regional social systems to withstand the local effects of global environmental changes at low cost, with limited demands on disaster response systems. Individual behaviors in response to global change are also affected by informal social influences. People imitate individuals they like or respect, follow unwritten norms of interpersonal behavior, and preferentially accept information from sources they trust Darley and Beniger, ; Brown, ; Rogers, ; Rogers and Kincaid, Such influences are significant factors in social response to natural disasters, particularly those that strike quickly and with little warning, such as floods and major storms White, ; White and Haas, ; Burton et al.
Studies of community responses to disaster show that family and acquaintance groups and community organizations are often the focus of behavior Dynes, , , and that spon-. These findings are relevant to global climatic change in that the consequences of such change are likely to include a shift or increase in the incidence of just such natural disasters. Informal social links are also significant influences on the acceptance of mitigation strategies, such as energy conservation programs aimed at individuals and households Stern and Aronson, Adoption of new, energy-efficient technology tends to follow lines of personal acquaintance Darley and Beniger, , and participation in government energy conservation programs is higher when the program takes advantage of personal acquaintanceships and local organizations with good face-to-face relations with members of the target group Stern et al.
Research Needs Efforts to develop policy responses in anticipation or response to global change will benefit from knowledge of sociocultural systems of social influence. Research efforts can profitably focus on understanding the social networks, norms, and influence patterns of groups that are highly likely to suffer from anticipated environmental change, so that policies can be designed to work with rather than against these lines of influence. Policy studies should focus on ways to directly involve affected groups, and should compare implementations of the same policies with and without such efforts.
Three kinds of social actors other than governments may make significant, organized responses to global change: communities, social movements, and corporations and trade associations. These collective actors form a vital link between behavior at the level of individuals, firms, and households and at the level of institutions and nations. A community is more than a shared place of residence. It is also a unit in which people earn their living, engage in political activity, raise their children, and carry out most of their lives. Community responses to the stresses of environmental change occur both in the uncoordinated ways discussed in the previous.
Decades of research on economic development in rural areas suggests that the full impacts of major social changes, including those that may be induced by environmental change, can be understood only by considering the effects of such changes on communities, as well as on individuals and institutions e. Communities are likely to respond in different ways to the local impacts of global environmental change. Some communities are sufficiently diverse to provide valuable buffers against hardship as individuals and households share resources.
But if all members of the community use the same environment in similar ways, no such buffering is possible. Traditional relationships and patterns of action, tension, and rivalry within a community may help the community through crisis, or may prevent organized action that would help the community cope with or take advantage of local changes. And if local manifestations of global change disrupt traditional patterns of community life, they generate stress and conflict that can become violent. Of course, the character of community life continues to change in much of the world.
With the rapid growth of urban and suburban areas in the developed and especially the developing world, the historical links among home, polity, and economy are greatly weakened. The spheres in which individuals and households act become more disjunct and less well integrated. Global environmental change may increase the pace of this historical trend if it makes rural agricultural life more difficult and thus increases the migration to urban areas, with consequences for the ability of communities, particularly in the Third World, to withstand further environmental change.
Research Needs Research is needed on those characteristics of communities that affect their organized responses to global change. For example, in the United States, the spatial character of suburban communities is a significant barrier to increased use of public transportation.
Yet some suburban communities and small towns have been vigorous in their implementation of environmental and energy and water conservation policies Dietz and Vine, ; Berk et al. The response of those communities seems to be greater than would be expected from aggregated simple self-interest or the technical response to changes mandated by policy. The community amplifies individual action, perhaps by creating a sense of identity and trust that overcomes the usual.
Especially in the less-developed world, effective community response may depend on the community's access to a variety of resources that can be used to dampen adverse changes in any single resource. In addition, adaptation by individuals and households may be conditioned by the diversity and flexibility of the community, which are in turn affected both by the natural environment and the local political economy, history, and culture. Research is also needed on the conditions controlling the differential effectiveness of environmental and energy programs in different communities.
Environmental movement organizations have been major actors in debating national and even international responses to global change also see the section below on national policy. The broad awareness that global changes are occurring is in large part due to various national environmental movements drawing attention to the growing body of scientific evidence on the subject. Most of the national activity of environmental movement organizations is intended to change public policy. How environmental groups influence policy depends on the political context in which they operate, and in particular on the relationship between the movement and political parties.
In political systems in which it is difficult to achieve participation via a small party, such as the United States, movements have only loose alliances with political parties. In systems where small parties can play a serious role in influencing policy, the movements either form tight alliances with parties or act as parties in themselves.
These structural differences affect movement strategy and have produced some sharp differences in how environmental problems are conceptualized. The ways political structure affects the political impact of the environmental movement on policy have not been studied in enough detail to offer generalizations. Whatever their relation to political parties, environmental groups usually find themselves in conflict with corporations, trade associations, and often with government officials.
Each side brings a different mix of resources to the conflict. In the United States, environmental groups seem to have a high degree of public support and strong legitimacy with other actors in policy debates Dietz and Rycroft, Corporations and their representatives have far greater financial and personnel resources, but less public support and less legitimacy within the policy system.
The difference in resources means that each group will struggle not only over the substance at issue, such as a specific policy, but also over the definition of the problem and the kinds of resources that are legitimate for resolving the problem Dietz et al. The difference in resource distribution has typically led industry to favor heavy reliance on scientific analyses and technologically driven policies, and led environmentalists to be more skeptical of those alternatives and inclined to favor source reduction and infrastructure changes.
Modern environmental groups play an important role in shaping public values and consciousness. Indeed, some students of the movement have suggested that its primary goal is to change ways of thinking rather than specific political choices Cohen, ; Eder, ; Habermas, ; Offe, ; Touraine, ; Touraine et al. The rise of "green" ideologies in the United States, Western Europe, and throughout the world seems to reflect changes in consumer preferences and lifestyles that may have important implications for individual, household, and community response to global change Inglehart, Research Needs A number of important questions need to be answered about the role of the environmental movement in responses to global change.
How do the strategies pursued by environmental movements in both the developed and less-developed nations influence the character of national policy? What impacts do these influences have on the ability to reach international accords? How does environmentalism interact with scientific research on global change, and what could be done to produce better interactions? How much change in individual ideology is brought about by the environmental movement, and how do these changes affect the behavior of individuals, households, communities, and other actors?
What is the likely character and influence of the environmental movements that are emerging in Japan, Eastern Europe, and less developed nations and what role will they have in shaping national and international response? Corporations and trade and industry associations are major actors shaping response to global change. Just as the environmental movement translates public concern into political action and in turn shapes public perceptions and actions, corporations and trade associations translate the interests they represent into political.
As already noted, these groups come to the policy arena with very different resources than environmental groups and, in general, tend to favor different methods for analyzing environmental problems and different strategies for solving them Dietz and Rycroft, ; J. Wright, Research Needs The relationships of corporations and trade associations to national policy systems, critical for understanding policy response, are discussed in the next section. The internal aspects of these collectivities, however, are little studied. Corporations communicate with each other, and trade associations are influential in shaping the response of corporate members, two processes that shape the policy positions of the business community.
Research is badly needed on how corporations and trade associations attempt to communicate internationally about global environmental issues with other groups representing the same industries.