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Encyclopedia > Ecological modernization

Ecological modernization is an optimistic environmental discourse. Proponents of ecological modernization assert that it is possible and desirable to both develop economically and socially and at the same time conserve the environment. It is suggested that this can be achieved primarily through technological advances that help to reduce the consumption of resources via increasing efficiency (i.e. pollution prevention, waste reduction), typically by taking externalities from one economic production process and using them as raw material inputs for another (Christoff, 1996). Industrial ecology is oftentimes cited as a good example. The theory has also been linked with sustainability (see the more familiar expression 'ecologically sustainable development' ). A frequently used phrase in the ecological modernization literature is 'cradle to cradle' manufacturing, contrasted against the usual 'crade to grave' forms of manufacturing - where waste is not re-integrated back into the production process. A more recent development in the ecological modernization literature has been the emergence of civil society as a key agent of change (Fisher and Freudenburg, 2001). Half full or half empty? Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Optimism Optimism, the opposite of pessimism, exemplifies a lifeview where one looks upon the world as a positive place. ... It has been suggested that ecologism be merged into this article or section. ... Discourse is a term used in semantics as in discourse analysis, but it also refers to a social conception of discourse, often linked with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Jürgen Habermas The Theory of Communicative Action (1985). ... Buyers bargain for good prices while sellers put forth their best front in Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala. ... Human relationships within an ethnically diverse society. ... By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ... Pollution prevention (P2) is a term used to describe a series of techniques that are used to reduce the amount of pollution generated. ... Waste inside a rubbish bin Waste, rubbish, or garbage is unwanted or undesired material. ... Industrial ecology is the shifting of industrial process from open loop systems, in which resource and capital investments move through the system to become waste, to a closed loop system where wastes become inputs for new processes. ... Sustainable development is a process of developing (land, cities, business, communities, etc) that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs according to the Brundtland Report, a 1987 report from the United Nations. ... A phrase is a group of words that functions as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. ... Manufacturing is the transformation of raw materials into finished goods for sale, by means of tools and a processing medium, and including all intermediate processes involving the production or finishing of component parts (semi-manufactures). It is a large branch of industry and of secondary production. ... Civil society or civil institutions refers to the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations or institutions which form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system). ...


As a strategy of change, ecological modernization is promoted by business interests because, it seemingly meets the triple bottom line of economics, society and environment that is held underpin sustainability, yet does not challenge free market principles. This contrasts with many environmental movement strategies that regard free trade and its notion of business self-regulation as part of the problem, or even origin of environmental degradation. The state is either seen as the enabler for the markets that help produce the technological advances through competition, or as the regulation medium through which corporations are forced to 'take back' their various wastes and re-integrate them in some manner into the production of new goods and services (e.g. the way that car corporations in Germany are required to accept back cars they manufactured once they have reached the end of their product lifespan). A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, as differentiated from tactics or immediate actions with resources at hand. ... Wall Street, Manhattan In economics, business refers to the social science of managing people to organize and maintain collective productivity toward accomplishing particular creative and productive goals. ... A free market is an idealized market, where all economic decisions and actions by individuals regarding transfer of money, goods, and services are voluntary, and are therefore devoid of coercion and theft (some definitions of coercion are inclusive of theft). Colloquially and loosely, a free market economy is an economy... The environmental movement (sometimes inclusive of the conservation or green movements) is a diverse global social and political movement, which advocates for the protection, sustainable management and restoration of the natural environment in an effort to satisfy human needs, including spiritual and social needs, as well as for its own... Free trade is an economic concept referring to the selling of products between countries without tariffs or other trade barriers. ... Environmental degradation refers to the diminishment of a local ecosystem or the biosphere as a whole due to human activity. ... A state is an organized political community, occupying a territory, and possessing internal and external sovereignty, that enforces a monopoly on the use of force. ... A physical marketplace in Portugal enables buyers and sellers of produce to do business with each other. ... A corporation is a legal person which, while being composed of natural persons, exists completely separately from them. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Critics argue that ecological modernization will fail to conserve the environment and does nothing to alter the impulses within the capitalist economic mode of production (see capitalism) that inevitably lead to environmental degradation (Foster, 2002). As such, it is just a form of 'green-washing'. Critics question whether technological advances alone can achieve resource conservation and better environmental protection, particluarly if left to business self-regulation practices (York and Rosa, 2003). For instance, many technological improvements are currently feasible but not widely utilized. The most environmentally friendly product or manufacturing process (oftentimes also the most econonically efficient) is not always the one automatically chosen by self-regulating corporations (e.g. hydrogen or biofuel vs. peak oil). For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Environmental degradation refers to the diminishment of a local ecosystem or the biosphere as a whole due to human activity. ... Green-washing is a deceptive public relations practice by individuals and organizations, especially businesses where the perpetrator professes to be and/or acts like in some token manner like they are environmentally responsible, when in reality, the primary purpose is to disguise their true environmentally destructive behaviour. ... By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ... Conservation may refer to the following: Conservation ethic in relation to preserving ecosystems Conservationist Conservation movement Conservation ecology Conservation biology Energy conservation in reducing non-renewable energy consumption Conservation law of physics Conservation of energy Conservation of mass Conservation (genetics) in genetics Conservation (botany) in botanical nomenclature Conservation (psychology) in... Environmental movement is a term often used for any social or political movement directed towards the preservation, restoration, or enhancement of the natural environment. ... Social Cognitive Perspective: Zimmerman et al specified three important characteristics: self-observation (monitoring ones activities); self-judgement (self-evaluation of ones performance) and self-reactions (reactions to performance outcomes) Cognitive Processing Perspective Winne & Marx posited that motivational thoughts and beliefs are governed by the basic principles of cognitive... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Biofuel is any fuel that derives from biomass — recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts, such as manure from cows. ... The Hubbert peak theory, also known as peak oil, is an influential theory concerning the long-term rate of conventional oil production and depletion. ...


In addition, some critics have highlighted the fact that ecological modernization does not redress gross inequities (see inequality) that are produced within the capitalist system, such as environmental racism (where people of color and low income earners bear a disporoprtionate burden of environmental harm such as pollution, and lack access to environmental benefits (see nature's services)such as parks) and social justice issues such as eliminating unemployment (Bullard, 1993; Gleeson and Low, 1999; Harvey, 1996). Moreover, the theory seems to have limited global efficacy, applying primarily to its countries of origin - Germany and the Netherlands, and having little to say about the developing world (Fisher and Freudenburg, 2001). Perhaps the harshest criticism though, is that ecological modernization is predicated upon the notion of 'sustainable growth', and in reality this is not possible because growth entails the consumption of natural and human capital at great costs to ecosystems and societies. The feasible regions of linear programming are defined by a set of inequalities. ... Environmental policy making or enforcement thereof that specifically and directly affects people of color, certain ethnic/racial groups, or native wild species in a negative manner. ... Colored and person of color (or people of color in the plural sense) are terms that were commonly used to describe people who do not have white skin or a Caucasian appearance. ... Natures services is an umbrella term for the ways in which nature benefits humans, particularly those benefits that can be measured in economic terms. ... For the Korean family name Park, see Korean name. ... Social justice is a philosophical definition of justice, that is, giving individuals or groups their due within society as a whole. ... An 1837 political cartoon about unemployment in the United States. ... For the Jamaican reggae band, see Third World (band). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with consumption (economics). ... In ecology, an ecosystem is a combination of all the living and non-living elements of an area. ...


References

Bullard, R., (ed.) 1993, Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots, Boston, South End Press.


Christoff, P., 1996, "Ecological modernisation, ecological modernities", Environmental Politics, 5(3), pp. 476-500.


Fisher, D.R., and Freudenburg, W.R., 2001, "Ecological modernization and its critics: Assessing the past and looking toward the future", Society and Natural Resources, 14, pp. 701-709.


Foster, J.B., 2002, Ecology Against Capitalism, New York, Monthly Review Press.


Gleeson, B. and Low, N. (eds.) 1999, Global Ethics and Environment, London, Routledge.


Harvey, D., 1996, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Malden, Ma., Blackwell, p. 377-402.


York, R., and Rose, E.A., 2003, "Key challenges to ecological modernization theory", Organization and Environment, 16(3), pp. 273-288.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ecological modernization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (662 words)
Proponents of ecological modernization assert that it is possible and desirable to both develop economically and socially and at the same time conserve the environment.
As a strategy of change, ecological modernization is promoted by business interests because, it seemingly meets the triple bottom line of economics, society and environment that is held underpin sustainability, yet does not challenge free market principles.
Perhaps the harshest criticism though, is that ecological modernization is predicated upon the notion of 'sustainable growth', and in reality this is not possible because growth entails the consumption of natural and human capital at great costs to ecosystems and societies.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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