Biodiversity policy beyond economic growth

Increasing evidence—synthesized in this paper—shows that economic growth contributes to biodiversity loss via greater resource consumption and higher emissions. Nonetheless, a review of international biodiversity and sustainability policies shows that the majority advocate economic growth. Since improvements in resource use efficiency have so far not allowed for absolute global reductions in resource use and pollution, we question the support for economic growth in these policies, where inadequate attention is paid to the question of how growth can be decoupled from biodiversity loss. Drawing on the literature about alternatives to economic growth, we explore this contradiction and suggest ways forward to halt global biodiversity decline. These include policy proposals to move beyond the growth paradigm while enhancing overall prosperity, which can be implemented by combining top‐down and bottom‐up governance across scales. Finally, we call the attention of researchers and policy makers to two immediate steps: acknowledge the conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation in future policies; and explore socioeconomic trajectories beyond economic growth in the next generation of biodiversity scenarios.

Conservation Letters, April 2020

When Environmental Issues Collide: Climate Change and the Shifting Political Ecology of Hydroelectric Power

Abstract: While the global focus on climate change may substantially increase attention and funding for sustainable development initiatives in general, it may also create newfound conflicts among divergent conservation and development agendas. For instance, climate change appears to be altering the terms of debate concerning the costs and benefits of constructing large dams in ways that remain little analyzed. This issue can be observed in Costa Rica, which recently initiated a major new wave of dam-building, including a large project on the Río Pacuare—an important ecotourism destination and site of substantial biodiversity—in the interest of expanding the capacity of a sector supplying nearly 80% of the nation’s power and widely considered a “clean,” renewable energy source. In response to growing climate change concern, the Costa Rican government has vowed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021 and reducing emissions is a key component of this plan. On the other hand, ecotourism operators contest the governments’ assertions of the proposed dam’s importance by emphasizing the economic and conservation benefits of a free-flowing river via ecotourism. An increasing critique of ecotourism as a conservation strategy, however, concerns its contribution to climate change through air travel. Thus, in the conflict over the Pacuare River, different models of both conservation and development appear to collide, with biodiversity and climate change on the one hand, and modern and postmodern forms of capitalist development on the other, all competing to define appropriate resource use in the valley.

Peace & Conflict Review, Volume 5, Issue 1

movum – Heft 14: Biodiversität

Heft 14 des Magazins movum zum Thema Biodiversität.

Kurzbeschreibung: Naturschutz ist kein Luxusthema und darf sich nicht auf Schutzgebiete beschränken. Es geht um die langfristige Sicherung unserer Lebensgrundlagen.

Das Heft als PDF
Die Infografik als PDF

Postwachstum als Herausforderung für Unternehmen

Herausgeber_innen: Eine Wirtschaft ohne Wachstum wird durch Entwicklungen wie sinkende Wachstumsraten, ökologische Grenzen und sich verstärkende soziale Schieflagen zur realen Herausforderung – fpr die Zukunftsfähigkeit einer funktionierenden Gesellschaft, aber gleichfalls für Unternehmen als Problemverursacher und potenzielle Problemlöser
Aus Postwachstum folgt allerdings kein Wachstumverbot. Die wachstumsunabhängige Gestaltung von Geschäftsmodellen erfordert vielmehr eine grundlegende Auseinandersetzung mit unternehmerischen Wachstumstreibern und dem gesellschaftlichen Nutzen des Unternehmensangebots. Auf diese Weise können Unternehmenesansätze für eine Postwachstumsgesellschaft idnetifiziert und Wege zu ihrer Umsetzung erarbeitet werden.

Promoting Traditional Knowledge systems in the international Year of Biodiversity – Which Shortfalls of Intellectual Property Rights framework to uphold Traditional Knowledge systems?

Poster by Joana Roja Dias at the Second International Conference on Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Barcelona with the title “Promoting Traditional Knowledge systems in the international Year of Biodiversity – Which Shortfalls of Intellectual Property Rights framework to uphold Traditional Knowledge systems?”.

Klimacamp trifft Degrowth – Wenn der Lebensfaden reißt … Lars Opgenoorth im Gespräch

Interview mit Lars Opgenoorth im Rahmen des Klimacamps und der Degrowth-Sommerschule im Rheinischen Braunkohlerevier 2015.

Aus dem Interview: Der Paläoökologe und Evolutionsbiologe Dr. Lars Opgenoorth ist im Fachbereich Biologie an der Philipps Universität Marburg mit Fragen der Biodiversität befaßt. Auf dem Klimacamp im Rheinischen Braunkohlerevier nahm der Forscher an diversen Workshops teil. Bei dieser Gelegenheit beantwortete er dem Schattenblick einige Fragen zu seiner wissenschaftlichen Tätigkeit und ihrem Zusammenhang zur Klimagerechtigkeitsbewegung.

Interview/091 aus der Rubrik “Bürger/Gesellschaft” > “Report” von der Zeitung Schattenblick

> Mehr Artikel über das Klimacamp und die Degrowth Sommerschule 2015 im Rheinland von der Zeitung Schattenblick

Tax internationally traded commodities to safeguard biodiversity

Abstract: Habitat loss in developing countries, driven by agricultural production for markets in the developed world, represents the most immediate threat to global biodiversity. In this study, we present a framework to quantify and compensate such land use impacts on biodiversity. The method quantifies pixel-level reductions in threat and rarity weighted species richness, using data from a recent Global Mammal Assessment. The compensation method applies “robustly fair” biodiversity offsets to assess conservation gains of compensation projects, corrected for future uncertainty and risk. These are compared to impacts per area (per ha) or product (per tonne). We illustrate a hypothetical case study of crop production in East Africa, with results indicating “biodiversity neutral” production could be achieved with consumer price increases ranging ca. 0.5–50% in the developed world. Institutional hurdles may be substantial (e.g. WTO rules), but protecting biodiversity is achievable provided the Global North is willing to pay a little more for its imports.

Are The Inherent Limits in the Process of Industrialization? A Study on the Seed Sector in the U.S. and in Germany

Abstract: The development of seeds is essential for a sustainable and socially adapted type of agriculture. This relationship has been widely discussed and is usually invoked by natural scientists. However, a social science perspective on the connection between plant breeding research and agricultural production allows a broader perspective. In order to explore the effects of seed production on the type of agricultural, I will develop a typology of immanent obstacles towards the process of industrialization. These obstacles and resistances open up space for the development of an ecological agriculture. The industrialization of seed production is characterized by the application of technology, the division of labor in the breeding process as well as the standardization and mass production of plant varieties. Empirically my analysis is based on a mixed methods approach. I use qualitative interviews to get a deeper understanding of the seed sector. On the other hand my study is based on the quantitative analyses of FAO data about the development of yields and the harvested area in different crops.