Environmental Conflict: In Search of Common Ground

SUNY Press
Free sample

This straightforward translation of environmental economics discusses issues and concerns that have long-lasting and often substantial effects. The authors bridge the gap between the natural and social sciences by examining how economic decisions interact with the environment. In addition, they explain why economics plays an important role in clarifying environmental issues and formulating solutions. Environmental Conflict analyzes policy choices and provides a basic methodology for understanding a broad range of environmental topics. These include the tragedy of the commons, the importance of incentives and markets, the role of government, property rights, benefit-cost analysis, natural resource use, pollution control, economic growth, international trade, global warming, and biodiversity loss.
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About the author

Jeffrey J. Pompe is Professor of Economics at Francis Marion University.

James R. Rinehart is the Phillip N. Truluck Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Francis Marion University, and the coauthor of American Education and the Dynamics of Choice.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
186
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ISBN
9780791488201
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Sustainable Development
Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The pace of human progress accelerated profoundly in the twentieth century, spawning revolutionary advances in medicine, agriculture, and industry. Between 1900 and 2000, the worldÕs population quadrupled, and production and consumption of goods increased by a factor of twelve. In The State of the Earth, award-winning historian Paul K. Conkin offers a balanced, nuanced, and ultimately hopeful assessment of the major environmental challenges that must be met after a century of torrid growth and development. Unlike many recent polemics that reduce serious environmental debates to partisan political arguments, The State of the Earth provides a thorough and scientifically informed introduction to current environmental concerns. Conkin demonstrates how the explosion in population, production, and consumption has begun to deplete critical resources such as soil nutrients and fresh water, leading to potentially widespread shortages in the worldÕs poorest regions. Fossil fuel emissions have assured a rapid increase in greenhouse gases and contributed to rising surface and ocean temperatures, a warming that is almost certain to continue throughout the twenty-first century. Conkin explains how the complex interactions between pollution, warming, and resource depletion may threaten the planetÕs biodiversity and endanger innumerable species. The State of the Earth, however, is much more than a summary statement of potential catastrophes. Conkin details the long history of global conservation and environmental protection movements and places their efforts in accessible historical, theoretical, and scientific contexts. He anchors his analysis with the awareness that environmental concerns are simultaneously hotly debated political issues, variables in economic decision making, and matters of extraordinary social and cultural significance. ConkinÕs mission is neither to proclaim certain doom nor to suggest blithely that technological innovation and other free-market solutions will soon repair the damage already done. Rather, The State of the Earth explains the realities and consequences of ecological disruption, unsustainable growth, and environmental degradation. Conkin provides a sober and comprehensive introduction to the science and history of the environmental challenges facing humans in the new century, highlighting the need to act now on a global scale to reverse these troubling trends.
The green economy is widely seen as a potential solution to current global economic and environmental crises, and a potential mechanism by which sustainable development might be achieved in practice. Considerable investments are now being made into the development of green technology, renewable energy, biodiversity conservation, resource efficiency, recycling of materials and green infrastructure.

This textbook provides a comprehensive introduction to the green economy, using a strongly interdisciplinary approach based on environmental science, rather than treating it as a sub-set of economics. The scientific principles of sustainability are presented, which provide the foundations of the green economy, with a particular focus on systems-based approaches. Examples of real-world case studies are used to illustrate how the green economy can be achieved in practice. In this way, the authors provide a thorough overview of both the principles and practice of the green economy, drawing from a wide range of disciplines including ecology, geography, social science, psychology, sustainability science, environmental science, law and economics.

The emphasis is on presenting results of the latest research, derived from leading scientific journals. Rather than focusing on a single definition of what constitutes a ‘green economy’, the book introduces readers to the diversity of opinion that exists, and engages them in what is an active, on-going debate. This reflects the fact that many aspects of the green economy, and sustainable development more generally, are currently contested. In particular, the book will help readers to strengthen their ability to critically evaluate the evidence for and against the views presented, and to actively contribute to the future development of the green economy.

FEW TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS are as impressive as the ability to see our own planet from outer space. The beautiful sphere suspended against the black void of space makes plain the bond that the billions of us on Earth have in common.

This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.

Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.

So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.

Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.


The bestselling author of The End of Nature issues an impassioned call to arms for an economy that creates community and ennobles our lives

In this powerful and provocative manifesto, Bill McKibben offers the biggest challenge in a generation to the prevailing view of our economy. For the first time in human history, he observes, "more" is no longer synonymous with "better"—indeed, for many of us, they have become almost opposites. McKibben puts forward a new way to think about the things we buy, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the money that pays for it all. Our purchases, he says, need not be at odds with the things we truly value.

McKibben's animating idea is that we need to move beyond "growth" as the paramount economic ideal and pursue prosperity in a more local direction, with cities, suburbs, and regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. He shows this concept blossoming around the world with striking results, from the burgeoning economies of India and China to the more mature societies of Europe and New England. For those who worry about environmental threats, he offers a route out of the worst of those problems; for those who wonder if there isn't something more to life than buying, he provides the insight to think about one's life as an individual and as a member of a larger community.

McKibben offers a realistic, if challenging, scenario for a hopeful future. Deep Economy makes the compelling case that the more we nurture the essential humanity of our economy, the more we will recapture our own.

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