Advertisement

Social Metabolism and Conflicts over Extractivism

  • Joan Martinez-Alier
  • Mariana Walter

Abstract

The natural resource conflict dimension of environmental governance is usually centred on the social and political aspects of production systems and has hardly addressed the biophysical features of the natural resources themselves. Here we aim to address renewable and non-renewable resource-extraction conflicts in Latin America in the context of a changing global social metabolism and increasing demands for environmental justice (M’Gonigle, 1999; Sneddon, Howarth and Norgaard, 2006; Gerber, Veuthey and Martínez-Alier, 2009; Martinez-Alier et al., 2010). “Social metabolism” refers to the manner in which human societies organize their growing exchanges of energy and materials with the environment (Fischer-Kowalski, 1997; Martinez-Alier, 2009). In this chapter we use a sociometabolic approach to examine the material flows (extraction, exports, imports) of Latin American economies and furthermore look into the socioenvironmental pressures and conflicts that they cause. Sociometabolic trends can be appraised using different and complementary indicators. For instance, the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) measures to what extent human activities appropriate the biomass available each year for ecosystems (Haberl et al., 2007). Other examples are indicators that study virtual water flows, the energy return on investment (EROI) or a product life cycle.

Keywords

Virtual Water Environmental Governance Ecological Economic Political Ecology Ecological Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Agarwal, B. (1994) A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  2. Ali, S.H. (2006) “Gold Mining and the Golden Rule: A Challenge for Producers and Consumers in Developing Countries”, Journal of Cleaner Production 14(3–4): 455–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aranda, D. (2010) Argentina Originaria: Genocidios, Saqueos y Resistencias (Buenos Aires: La Vaca).Google Scholar
  4. Asociación Civil Nodo Tau (2010) Asesinatos en Formosa: Indiferencia, Oídos Sordos y Represión, http://www.tau.org.ar/enredando2002–012/noticias_desarrollo.shtml?x=62518, date accessed 12 January 2015.Google Scholar
  5. Bebbington, A. (2012a) Social Conflict, Economic Development and the Extractive Industry: Evidence from South America (London and New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
  6. Bebbington, A. (2012b) “Underground Political Ecologies: The Second Annual Lecture of the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers”, Geoforum 43(6): 1152–1162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Binimelis, R., Pengue, W. and Monterroso, I. (2009) “Transgenic Treadmill: Responses to the Emergence and Spread of Glyphosate-Resistant Johnsongrass in Argentina”, Geoforum 40(4): 623–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blacksmith Institute (2006) The World’s Worst Polluted Places. The Top Ten (New York: Blacksmith Institute).Google Scholar
  9. Bridge, G. (2004) “Contested Terrain: Mining and the Environment”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources 29(1): 205–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bullard, R. (1990) Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).Google Scholar
  11. Bunker, S. (2007) “The Poverty of Resource Extraction”, in A. Hornborg, McNeil, J.R. and Martinez-Alier, J. (eds), Rethinking Environmental History: Worldsystem History and Global Environmental Change (Lanham, MD: Altamira Press), 239–258.Google Scholar
  12. Conde, M. and Walter, M. (2014) “Commodity Frontiers”, in G. D’Alisa, F. Demaria and G. Kallis (eds), Degrowth. A Vocabulary for a New Era (New York and London: Routledge), 71–74.Google Scholar
  13. Douguet, J.M., O’Connor, M. and Noel, F. (2008) Systèmes de Valeur et Modes de Regulation: Vers Une Économie Politique Écologique (Paris: Cahiers du C3ED, UVSQ).Google Scholar
  14. EJOLT (2014) Environmental Justice Atlas, http://elatlas.org, date accessed 16 January 2015.Google Scholar
  15. Ericsson, M. and Larsson, V. (2013) “E&MJ’s Annual Survey of Global Mining Investment Project Survey 2013”, E&MJ Engineering and Mining Journal. http://pure.ltu.se/portal/files/100685420/EMJ_2013.pdf
  16. EUROSTAT (2001) “Economy-Wide Material Flow Accounts and Derived Indicators. A Methodological Guide”, Luxembourg, Office for Official Publication of the European Communities. (Luxemburg: European Commission).Google Scholar
  17. Finer, M. and Orta-Martínez, M. (2010) “A Second Hydrocarbon Boom Threatens the Peruvian Amazon: Trends, Projections, and Policy Implications”, Environmental Research Letters 5(1): 014012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fischer-Kowalski, M. (1997) “Society’s Metabolism: On the Childhood and Adolescence of a Rising Conceptual Star”, in M. Redcliff and G. Woodgate (eds), The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology (Cheltenham: Edgard Elgar), 119–137.Google Scholar
  19. García-López, G.A. and Arizpe, N. (2010) “Participatory Processes in the Soy Conflicts in Paraguay and Argentina”, Ecological Economics 70(2): 196–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gavaldà, M. (2013) Gas Amazónico. Los Pueblos Indígenas frente al Avance de las Fronteras Extractivas en Perú (Barcelona: Icaria).Google Scholar
  21. Gerber, J.F. (2011) “Conflicts over Industrial Tree Plantations in the South: Who, How and Why?”, Global Environmental Change 21(1): 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gerber, J.F., Veuthey, S. and Martínez-Alier, J. (2009) “Linking Political Ecology with Ecological Economics in Tree Plantation Conflicts in Cameroon and Ecuador”, Ecological Economics 68(12): 2885–2889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Giurco, D., Prior, T., Mudd, G., Mason, L. and Behrisch, J. (2010) Peak Minerals in Australia: A Review of Changing Impacts and Benefits (Sydney: University of Technology and Monash University).Google Scholar
  24. Gonzalez-Martinez, A.C. and Schandl, H. (2008) “The Biophysical Perspective of a Middle Income Economy: Material Flows in Mexico”, Ecological Economics 68(1–2): 317–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Government of Australia (2007) Managing Acid and Metalliferous Drainage. Leading practice sustainable development program for the mining industry. Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. Canberra, Australia, http://www.industry.gov.au/resource/Documents/LPSDP/LPSDP-AcidHandbook.pdfGoogle Scholar
  26. GRR (2009) “Pueblos Fumigados: Informe sobre la Problemática del Uso de Plaguicidas en las Principales Provincias Sojeras de La Argentina”, Grupo de Reflexión Rural, http://www.grr.org.ar/trabajos/Pueblos_Fumigados__GRR_.pdf, date accessed 3 December 2014.Google Scholar
  27. Haberl, H. et al. (2007) “Quantifying and Mapping the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production in Earth’s Terrestrial Ecosystems”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104(31): 12942–12947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Henriquez, V. (2012) “Latin America to Receive 50% of Global Mining Investments Up to 2020”, Business News Americas. http://www.bnamericas.com/news/mining/latin-america-to-receive-half-of-global-mining-investment-until-2020-codelco
  29. Hornborg, A. (1998) “Commentary: Towards an Ecological Theory of Unequal Exchange: Articulating World System Theory and Ecological Economics”, Ecological Economics 25(1): 127–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hornborg, A. (2006) “Footprints in the Cotton Fields: The Industrial Revolution as Time–Space Appropriation and Environmental Load Displacement”, Ecological Economics 59(1): 74–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hornborg, A. (2009) “Zero-Sum World: Challenges in Conceptualizing Environmental Load Displacement and Ecologically Unequal Exchange in the World-System”, International Journal of Comparative Sociology 50(3–4): 237–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. IUCN (2011) “Mining Threats on the Rise in World Heritage Sites”, International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucn.org/knowledge/news/?7742/Mining-threats-on-the-rise-in-World-Heritage-sites
  33. Jorgenson, A.K. (2009) “The Sociology of Unequal Exchange in Ecological Context: A Panel Study of Lower-Income Countries, 1975–2000”, Sociological Forum 24(1): 22–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kapp, K.W. (1950) The Social Costs of Private Enterprise (Cambridge: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  35. Leff, E. (2003) “La Ecología Política en América Latina, un Campo en Construcción”, Polis 1(5): 1–15.Google Scholar
  36. M’Gonigle, R.M. (1999) “Ecological Economics and Political Ecology: Towards a Necessary Synthesis”, Ecological Economics 28: 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. MAGyP (2011) “Sistema Integrado de Información Agropecuaria”, Buenos Aires.Google Scholar
  38. Martínez-Alier, J. (1997) “Conflictos de Distribución Ecológica”, Revista Andina 29(1): 41–66.Google Scholar
  39. Martinez-Alier, J. (2001) “Mining Conflicts, Environmental Justice, and Valuation”, Journal of Hazardous Materials 86(1–3): 153–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Martinez-Alier, J. (2002) The Environmentalism of the Poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation (Delhi: Edward Elgar; Cheltenham: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Martinez-Alier, J. (2009) “Social Metabolism, Ecological Distribution Conflicts, and Languages of Valuation”, Capitalism Nature Socialism 20(1): 58–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Martinez-Alier, J., Healy, H., Temper, L., Walter, M., Rodriguez-Labajos, B., Gerber, J. F. and Conde, M. (2011) “Between Science and Activism: Learning and Teaching Ecological Economics with Environmental Justice Organisations”, Local Environment 16(1): 17–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Martinez-Alier, J., Kallis, G., Veuthey, S., Walter, M. and Temper, L. (2010) “Social Metabolism, Ecological Distribution Conflicts, and Valuation Languages”, Ecological Economics 70(2): 153–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Martinez-Alier, J. and O’Connor, M. (1996) “Ecological and Economic Distribution Conflicts”, in R. Costanza (ed.), Getting down the Earth: Practical Applications of Ecological Economics (Washington DC: Island Press), 277–286.Google Scholar
  45. Moore, J.W. (2000) “Sugar and the Expansion of the Early Modern World-Economy: Commodity Frontiers, Ecological Transformation, and Industrialization”, Review 23(3): 409–433.Google Scholar
  46. Mudd, G.M. (2007a) “Global Trends in Gold Mining: Towards Quantifying Environmental and Resource Sustainability”, Resources Policy 32(1–2): 42–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mudd, G.M. (2007b) “Gold Mining in Australia: Linking Historical Trends and Environmental and Resource Sustainability”, Environmental Science & Policy 10: 629–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mudd, G.M. (2010) “The Environmental Sustainability of Mining in Australia: Key Mega-Trends and Looming Constraints”, Resources Policy 35(2): 98–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Muradian, R. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2001) “Trade and the Environment: From a ‘Southern’ Perspective”, Ecological Economics 36(2): 281–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Muradian, R., Walter, M. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2012) “Hegemonic Transitions and Global Shifts in Social Metabolism: Implications for Resource-Rich Countries. Introduction to the Special Section”, Global Environmental Change 22(3): 559–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Orta-Martínez, M. and Finer, M. (2010) “Oil Frontiers and Indigenous Resistance in the Peruvian Amazon”, Ecological Economics 70(2): 207–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. PEA (2010) “Plan Estratégico Agroalimentario y Agroindustrial Participativo y Federal 2010–2020”.Google Scholar
  53. Pengue, W. (2001) The Impact of Soybean Expansion in Argentina, Seedling, http://www.grain.org/es/article/entries/292-the-impact-of-soybean-expansion-in-argentina, date accessed 4 December 2014.Google Scholar
  54. Pengue, W. (2004) “Producción Agroexportadora e (In)seguridad Alimentaria: El Caso de la Soja en Argentina”, Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica 1: 46–55.Google Scholar
  55. Perez-Manrique, P.L., Brun, J., González-Martínez, A.C., Walter, M. and Martínez-Alier, J. (2013) “The Biophysical Performance of Argentina (1970–2009)”, Journal of Industrial Ecology 17(4): 590–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pérez-Rincón, M.A. (2014) Conflictos Ambientales en Colombia: Inventario, Caracterización y Análisis (Cali: Universidad del Valle, CINARA, EJOLT).Google Scholar
  57. Prior, T., Mudd, G., Mason, L. and Behrisch, J. (2012) “Resource Depletion, Peak Minerals and the Implications for Sustainable Resource Management”, Global Environmental Change 22(3): 577–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Raikes, P., Friis Jensen, M. and Ponte, S. (2000) “Global Commodity Chain Analysis and the French Filière Approach: Comparison and Critique”, Economy and Society 29(3): 390–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rice, J. (2007) “Ecological Unequal Exchange: International Trade and Uneven Utilization of Environmental Space in the World System”, Social Forces 85(3): 1369–1392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Robbins, P. (2004) Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction (London: Blackwell Publishing).Google Scholar
  61. Roberts, J.T. and Parks, B.C. (2009) “Ecologically Unequal Exchange, Ecological Debt, and Climate Justice: The History and Implications of Three Related Ideas for a New Social Movement”, International Journal of Comparative Sociology 50(3–4): 385–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Russi, D., Gonzalez-Martinez, A.C., Silva-Macher, J.C., Giljum, S., Martinez-Alier, J. and Vallejo, M.C. (2008) “Material Flows in Latin America. A Comparative Analysis of Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, 1980–2000”, Journal of Industrial Ecology 12(5–6): 704–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Samaniego, P., Vallejo, M.C. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2014) “Déficit Comercial y Déficit Físico en Sudamérica”, Documento de Trabajo, Proyectos CSO2010–21979 e ENGOV, Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, FLACSO Sede Ecuador.Google Scholar
  64. Santarcángelo, J. and Fal, J. (2009) “Production and Profitability in Livestock in Argentina. 1980–2006”, Mundo Agrario 10(19).Google Scholar
  65. Schoer, K., Giegrich, J., Kovanda, J., Lauwigi, C., Liebich, A. Buyny, S. and Matthias, J. (2012) Conversion of European Product Flows into Raw Material Equivalents (Heidelberg: Ifeu; Eurostat).Google Scholar
  66. Singh, S. J., Krausmann, F., Gingrich, S., Haberl, H., Erb, K.H., Lanz, P., Martinez-Alier, J. and Temper, L. (2012) “India’s Biophysical Economy, 1961–2008. Sustainability in a National and Global Context”, Ecological Economics 76–341(100): 60–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sneddon, C., Howarth, R.B. and Norgaard, R.B. (2006) “Sustainable Development in a Post-Brundtland World”, Ecological Economics 57(2): 253–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. SNL Metals Economics Group (2013) “SNL Metals Economics Group’s Copper Study Reveals Lower Grades, Higher Costs for Copper Production in 2012”, PRWeb.Google Scholar
  69. Stern, D.I. (2004) “The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve”, World Development 32(8): 1419–1439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Svampa, M. (2012) “Consenso de los Commodities, Giro Ecoterritorial y Pensamiento Crítico en América Latina”, Observatorio Social de América Latina 32: 15–38.Google Scholar
  71. Teubal, M. (2006) “Expansión del Modelo Sojero en La Argentina. De la Producción de Alimentos a los Commodities”, Realidad Económica 220: 71–96.Google Scholar
  72. Tsoskounoglou, M., Ayerides, G. and Tritopoulou, E. (2008) “The End of Cheap Oil: Current Status and Prospects”, Energy Policy 36(10): 3797–3806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. UMSEF (2007) Informe sobre Deforestación en Argentina (Buenos Aires).Google Scholar
  74. UNEP and CSIRO (2013) Recent Trends in Material Flows and Resource Productivity in Latin America (Nairobi). http://www.unep.org/dewa/portals/67/pdf/RecentTrendsLA.pdfGoogle Scholar
  75. Urkidi, L. and Walter, M. (2011) “Dimensions of Environmental Justice in Anti-Gold Mining Movements in Latin America”, Geoforum 42(6): 683–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vallejo, M.C., Pérez-Rincón, M.A. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2011) “Metabolic Profile of the Colombian Economy from 1970 to 2007”, Journal of Industrial Ecology 15(2): 245–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wallerstein, I. (1974) The Modern World-System, Vol I.: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York and London: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  78. Walter, M. (2014) Political Ecology of Mining Conflicts in Latin America (Barcelona: Autonomous University of Barcelona).Google Scholar
  79. Walter, M., Brun, J., Perez-Manrique, P., Gonzalez-Martinez, A.C. and Martinez-Alier, J. (2013). Análisis de flujo de materiales de la economía Argentina (1970–2009). Tendencias y Conflictos extractivos. Ecología Política 45: 94–98.Google Scholar
  80. West, J. and Schandl, H. (2013) “Material Use and Material Efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Ecological Economics 94: 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Joan Martinez-Alier and Mariana Walter 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Martinez-Alier
  • Mariana Walter

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations