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Reversing the arrow of arrears: The concept of "ecological debt" and its value for environmental justice

Warlenius, Rikard LU ; Pierce, Gregory LU and Ramasar, Vasna LU (2015) In Global Environmental Change 30. p.21-30
Abstract
The ecological debt concept emerged in the early 1990s from within social movements driven by rising environmental awareness, emerging Western consciousness of responsibility for past colonial subjugations, and a general sense of unease during the debt crisis. First developed organically, mainly in locally-scaled, civil contexts, ecological debt has since gained attention in academia and international environmental negotiations. Now, the concept of ecological debt requires further elucidation and elaboration, especially in light of its historical interconnection with environmental justice. In this paper, the development of the concept of ecological debt in both activist and academic circles is described, proposed theoretical building... (More)
The ecological debt concept emerged in the early 1990s from within social movements driven by rising environmental awareness, emerging Western consciousness of responsibility for past colonial subjugations, and a general sense of unease during the debt crisis. First developed organically, mainly in locally-scaled, civil contexts, ecological debt has since gained attention in academia and international environmental negotiations. Now, the concept of ecological debt requires further elucidation and elaboration, especially in light of its historical interconnection with environmental justice. In this paper, the development of the concept of ecological debt in both activist and academic circles is described, proposed theoretical building blocks for its operationalization are discussed and three brief cases illustrating its recent utilization are presented. Ecological debt is built upon a theoretical foundation that draws on biophysical accounting systems, ecological economics, environmental justice and human rights, historical injustices and restitution, and an ecologically-oriented world-system analysis framework. Drawing on these building blocks, the concept of ecological debt has been used as a biophysical measure, a legal instrument and a distributional principle. In theory and in practice, it has much to offer the environmental justice movement. We conclude by reflecting on some of the pros and cons of the ecological debt concept as a tool to be used in fulfilling some of the goals of environmental justice movements in the world today. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Ecological debt, Environmental justice, Ecologically unequal exchange, World economy
in
Global Environmental Change
volume
30
pages
21 - 30
publisher
Global Environmental Change, Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000347863300003
  • scopus:84919632651
ISSN
0959-3780
DOI
10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.10.014
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9294fe10-6cfe-47ea-ba1a-ffa750d5931a (old id 5069990)
date added to LUP
2015-02-25 15:29:59
date last changed
2017-08-13 03:15:44
@article{9294fe10-6cfe-47ea-ba1a-ffa750d5931a,
  abstract     = {The ecological debt concept emerged in the early 1990s from within social movements driven by rising environmental awareness, emerging Western consciousness of responsibility for past colonial subjugations, and a general sense of unease during the debt crisis. First developed organically, mainly in locally-scaled, civil contexts, ecological debt has since gained attention in academia and international environmental negotiations. Now, the concept of ecological debt requires further elucidation and elaboration, especially in light of its historical interconnection with environmental justice. In this paper, the development of the concept of ecological debt in both activist and academic circles is described, proposed theoretical building blocks for its operationalization are discussed and three brief cases illustrating its recent utilization are presented. Ecological debt is built upon a theoretical foundation that draws on biophysical accounting systems, ecological economics, environmental justice and human rights, historical injustices and restitution, and an ecologically-oriented world-system analysis framework. Drawing on these building blocks, the concept of ecological debt has been used as a biophysical measure, a legal instrument and a distributional principle. In theory and in practice, it has much to offer the environmental justice movement. We conclude by reflecting on some of the pros and cons of the ecological debt concept as a tool to be used in fulfilling some of the goals of environmental justice movements in the world today. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Warlenius, Rikard and Pierce, Gregory and Ramasar, Vasna},
  issn         = {0959-3780},
  keyword      = {Ecological debt,Environmental justice,Ecologically unequal exchange,World economy},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {21--30},
  publisher    = {Global Environmental Change, Elsevier},
  series       = {Global Environmental Change},
  title        = {Reversing the arrow of arrears: The concept of "ecological debt" and its value for environmental justice},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.10.014},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2015},
}