Towards a post growth concept of sustainable lifestyles: a plural, inclusive and ecologically responsible approach
Authors: Amanda Winter
Abstract: I develop a post economic growth critique of green urbanism with a focus on the meaning and function of sustainable lifestyles at the local institutional level, rather than evaluating individual practices and values. With an ethnographic study of Copenhagen (Denmark), given its ‘carbon neutral capital’ goal, my thematic analysis indicates that sustainable lifestyles are often thought of as privileged class consumption, a dominant narrative by which urban policy makers (re)affirm their insistence on ‘energy-efficient lifestyles.’ By targeting the middle class, the wealthiest go unquestioned and those living in poverty are excluded. These green visions lack community relations or challenges to consumerism and the pro-growth economy. Promoting sustainable lifestyles often represents a ‘strong sustainability’ stance where a system change is needed, thus making it a promising tool for post economic growth thinking; however my findings raise a concern and will be of use for researchers, community activists and policy makers.
Social Norms in Rural Development Policy: A Framed Field Experiment with the Punan Tubu of Kalimantan, Indonesia
Authors: Tezza Napitupulu, Victoria Reyes-garcía, Jetské Bouma
Abstract: We aim to understand the relation of social norms in a small scale society with Indonesia’s current rural development policy in a dynamic political setting. We conducted a framed experimental game with an indigenous community in East Kalimantan to assess individual’s decision in sharing the benefits of a government program vary according to the following characteristics of the individual: a) exposure to the national system and b) trust. We game was framed on a rural development government policy, aiming to empower villages to decide on their development pathway. The game was played with 212 adults sample from 5 villages upstream and 2 resettlements located near the city. Our preliminary result suggests that adults characterized with less exposure to the national system are less cooperative. We also find differences in adults’ decision in relation to their trust with fellow villagers and also trust to the government.
DEMOCRACY, DAMS & RESISTANCE: A CASE FOR DELIBERATIVE DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE IN INDIA
Authors: Saraswathi Unni
Abstract: India, which counts among the major dam-building countries in the world, stands out as an archetypal case study of the damage unleashed by dams and irrigation canals designed in disharmony with the environment. This paper seeks to outline how some of the initiatives of Government of India have met with resistance. It outlines major protest movements across the country against privatization, large hydroelectric projects and nuclear power plants. Major contentious issues such as the impact on environment, displacement, compensation and incomplete rehabilitation are dealt with. It also examines the impact of popular resistance on public policy making, thus bringing the “stakeholders” to the centre stage of the development discourse. This paper ultimately reinforces the notion that democracy needs to be seen as much more than an ideal.
Social network analysis of alternative local food systems in Belgium
Authors: Pepijn De Snijder, Hélène Joachain, Thomas Bleeckx, Tessa Avermaete, Jose Luis Vivero Pol, Marek Hudon, Olivier De Schutter, Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Abstract: What is the role of social learning inside local food networks aiming at a transition to a sustainable food system? In the project Food4Sustainability a research consortium sets out to investigate the network characteristics and learning processes occurring in these local food networks in Belgium. A conceptual framework was developed reflecting the transdisciplinarity of the consortium and aimed at analysing the different levels of the network. The hypothesis in the first part of the project is the importance of the contribution of converging strategic policy beliefs to a collaborative atmosphere amongst the different actors in the local food network. This was assessed by a social network analysis through a series of semi-structured interviews with key players in the local food network.
Water Values in the Cuiabá River Basin and in the Brazilian Pantanal
Authors: Christopher Schulz
Abstract: The Cuiabá River Basin is located in the geographical centre of South America. It is almost entirely situated in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, which is well-known for its rapidly expanding agribusiness sector, as well as for hosting the Pantanal, the world’s largest continental freshwater wetland. The paper to be presented explores multiple dimensions of water values in the Cuiabá River Basin and in the Pantanal, with a special focus on non-monetary values. It is based on qualitative interviews with representatives of different stakeholder groups and connects water values with concrete issues of water governance, such as water supply and sanitation, water charges, fishing and tourism, as well as the conservation of the Pantanal’s biodiversity. Following a wide theoretical conception of value, the research not only presents specific values assigned to water, but shows how different high-level values shape the perception of water governance issues within different stakeholder groups.
Institutional change and continuity in an Andean peasant community facing multiple climatic and economic pressures
Authors: Giuseppe Feola
Abstract: In the Colombian Andes, farming communities have co-evolved with their environment for centuries. However, it is uncertain whether traditional institutional and cultural systems are adapting to current unprecedented economic (e.g. modernization and liberalization) and climatic pressures. This study investigated institutional adaptation and the social mechanisms of institutional change or continuity in a smallholding peasant community. The study adopted evolutionary theories of institutional change, and a qualitative approach that included data collected through a focus group, oral histories, key informant interviews and observations. The informal institutions that appear to be changing are reciprocal work exchange and gender-based roles in the household, both due to economic pressures. Most informal institutions, however, persist due to three mechanisms: selective out-migration, inter-generational transmission, and practices of everyday resistance. Peasant informal institutions and cultural models represent a ‘social attractor’ that controls change and determine a form of endogenous lock-in into a limited range of possible futures.
Shift towards environment: determinants of political platforms greening-up since 1970
Authors: Benjamin Michallet, Giuseppe Lucio Gaeta, François Facchini
Abstract: Why do parties offer environmental policies in their political programs? While there are numerous papers that examine the determinants of citizens’ pro-environmental behaviour, we know little about the extent to which political parties adjust their platform towards environmentalism. We argue that political parties listen to voters by emphasizing environmental policy issues in their election manifestos. We investigate this process through the Manifesto Project Dataset (CMP) on the period 1970-2012 for 20 European countries. Following the literature on public concern towards environment, we examine economical, environmental and political determinants. Our findings provide evidence of the prevalence of affluence conditions and political determinants in explaining platforms’ adjustment towards environment over time.
Democracy and Sustainability - what is their connection?
Authors: Ines Cosme, Rui Santos
Abstract: Environmental degradation is a growing societal concern. While there are many drivers of environmental sustainability, political factors are gaining more attention, particularly since the 1987 United Nations agreement on pursuing a sustainable development. We have performed a theoretical review of the linkage between sustainability and democracy and a comparative analysis of empirical studies on the topic. We conclude that theoretical discussions on the subject point that sustainability and democracy are naturally linked in many ways, while empirical studies have been struggling to find this connection. The main weaknesses of these studies are their lack of structure and the divergences in what democracy and sustainability mean and how can they be measured and correlated. In spite of this, the majority of empirical studies point to a positive correlation of democracy and environmental protection, while nations going through democratization processes usually perform worse, even than autocracies.
Integrating ecosystem service assessments and valuation: mixed methods or mixed messages?
Authors: Caroline Hattam, Jonathan P. Atkins, Anne Böhnke-Henrichs, Tobias Börger, Daryl Burdon, Alyne Delaney, Maria Hadjimichael, Melanie C. Austen
Abstract: A mixed-method approach was used to assess and value the ecosystem services derived from the Dogger Bank, a shallow sandbank in the North Sea. Three different methods were applied: a biological assessment, a choice experiment and a deliberative valuation exercise. Each of these studies was designed to answer different and specific research questions and therefore contributes different insights into the ecosystem services provided by the Dogger Bank and how they are valued by society. This paper explores what can be gained by bringing these findings together and the extent to which the different methods are complementary and can offset each other’s weaknesses. Findings suggest that mixed-methods research brings more understanding than can be gained from the individual approaches alone. Nevertheless, method choice and implementation strongly influences the level of complementarity found.
Approaching Irregular Forest Activities (IFA) as a Matter of Environmental Governance: Exploring Relevant Theoretical and Analytical Frameworks
Authors: Sabaheta Ramcilovik-Suominen, Graham Epstein, Bas Arts
Abstract: The key objective of my research is to investigate the most prominent existing and emerging governance institutions (e.g. statutory laws and co-existing traditional rules and norms) affecting land and forest use and how irregular forest activities (IFA) relate to them. This is observed in the context of the “EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade” (FLEGT) and “Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD+) processes, in Savannakhet and Khammoune provinces of Laos. The main question is: How institutions and institutional actors emerge and render legitimacy and how IFA influence these institutional processes at different levels of governance? Theoretically the research builds on institutional theory and the theory of decentralisation in forest management. The study will advance those theoretical frameworks, by clarifying the role of informal institutions on institutional change, on the one hand and on the process of decentralisation, on the other