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Ecological Science and Practice: Dialogues Across Cultures and Disciplines

  • Sharon E. KingslandEmail author
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 2)

Abstract

Promoting earth stewardship entails re-examining economic arguments, such as the “tragedy of the commons” logic, which are coercive, out of step with cultural values, and often lack empirical support. A counter-example is the effort by Chesapeake Bay watermen to resist privatization of the commons, while adopting an alternative strategy more in keeping with their cultural values. Creating trust between scientists and watermen has been difficult, however. Research from the social sciences, notably by the late Elinor Ostrom and colleagues, and William Burch Jr., suggests that human ecology can be developed in a way that is more attuned to human values. Citizens have important roles in fostering good stewardship when they can mobilize support, as illustrated in Jane Jacobs’s writing about urban communities, and by citizen-led creation of a nature reserve in Toronto, Canada. Two challenges in promoting earth stewardship are to create trust between scientific experts and resource users, and to create an academic culture that values interaction between scholarly disciplines.

Keywords

Biocultural conservation Common-pool resources Ecological economics Tragedy of the commons Urban ecology 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History of Science and Technology DepartmentJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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