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Bridging the gap between social-metabolism and ecological debt: the case of a northern open economy

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  • UserEneko Garmendia, Ph.D.
  • ClockTuesday 20 May 2014, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseSeminar Room.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Elizabeth Blanchard.

Globalization of the world economy has increased the material and energy flows around the planet, raising the pressure over natural resources and the communities that depend on them. In this context it becomes critical to better understand the link between consumption and production patterns and associated social-ecological impacts at multiple scales. Historically, Northern industrialized countries have been responsible for major pressures and resource consumption while developing countries have suffered to a great extent the consequences of these patterns. This article analyzes the Ecological Debt of the Basque Country (Southern Europe), to illustrate the responsibility of Northern open economies towards the global environment, by looking at (i) its social metabolism, i.e. the energy and material flows linked to the production and consumption activities of the region, (ii) the social-ecological impacts that these physical flows generate worldwide, and (iii) three illustrative case-studies associated with the Basque social metabolism in Latin-America, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Through the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods the study shows how to connect production and consumption patterns to extraction impacts for global commodity chains, in order to better understand current environmental injustices and their roots. Furthermore, we illustrate how this narrative can bridge the gap between the local and the global, creating a useful approach for both policy making and education.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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