Environment, Politics, and Society: Volume 25

Cover of Environment, Politics, and Society
Subject:

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xiv
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Abstract

How do we understand political polarization around the issue of climate change in the United States? Using a mixed-methods approach, this paper unpacks the components of the debate over climate science and policy between 2015 and 2017 to understand the sources of divisiveness that have come to characterize climate politics in the United States. Data in our analysis include the content of Congressional hearings and open-ended, semi-structured interviews with the most influential climate policy actors at the federal level. We find high levels of polarization around two specific components of this debate: the type of policy instrument and the role of the federal government in regulating carbon dioxide emissions. This paper concludes by exploring how patterns of polarization preceding the 2016 election help us to understand the expected political debate over federal climate policy in the years to come.

Abstract

This paper uses three case studies of urban water conflict in the United States in order to identify and compare solutions. Coupling qualitative data with a unique index of municipal water conservation policy, I examine the different approaches that these three cities adopted in the face of water stress and conflict, as well as the relative strength each approach brought to water conservation. Based on 31 qualitative interviews with water stakeholders in three selected cities (Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa) and qualitative comparative case histories drawn from newspaper accounts and secondary sources, I find that entrenched conflict over local water resources usually requires action from a higher governing authority, in accordance with theories of multilevel governance. However, multilevel governance is not sufficient to produce strong urban water conservation policies. It is also critical that policy be targeted to meet specific minimum environmental indicators to prevent continued resource depletion. Moreover, a breach of that environmental indicator must trigger some penalty for noncompliance to sustain the resource into the future.

Abstract

This research underlines the usefulness of Civil Rights Geographic Information Systems (CR-GIS) for understanding the social struggles and assessing the critical needs of the disempowered population of Alabama’s “Black Belt.” The social struggles have been persistent for decades in the Southern states, particularly in Alabama. Researchers have recognized the political and historical root causes and implications for these social struggles. The geographic region of Alabama’s Black Belt is significant because it became the epicenter of the Civil Rights struggle and still represents the vestiges of the social policy known as “Jim Crow.”

Although GIS has a great potential to explore social and political struggles, currently, it is not profoundly associated with Civil Rights studies. This research employs CR-GIS to illustrate the impact of the disfranchisement caused by biased geopolitics in three selected cases/issues: (1) gerrymandering and voting rights, (2) transportation, and (3) poverty in the State of Alabama. While there has been some progress in overcoming the social struggles in the Black Belt, there is a need for qualitative and quantitative analyses to understand persistent social, economic, and Civil Rights struggles in the region. GIS could be a valuable tool to understand and explore the social struggles in the disempowered communities of the “Black Belt” in Alabama. By incorporating the existing information and conducting ground truth studies, this research will lay the basic foundation for extended research by creating a policy template for empowering the disempowered for better social, economic, and political integration in the “Black Belt region.”

Abstract

There is a paucity of research on factors influencing African-American attitudes and beliefs about pro-environmental behaviors. Environmental psychology is a growing interdisciplinary field that focuses on the relationship between humans and both the built and natural environment. This paper presents an exploratory study of 12 students enrolled in an undergraduate Environmental Psychology course at an HBCU. The course provided a unique opportunity both to educate the students about environmental issues and to study the impact of the course on their pro-environmental behaviors. Results showed that students improved their understanding of environmental justice; 10 of the 12 students reported increased intention and efforts to engage in pro-environmental behaviors; and students whose parents encouraged outdoor behavior in general were more likely to express such changes in pro-environmental behaviors.

Abstract

School-aged children living in Montgomery and Troy located in Central Alabama are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. This study used a one-group pre-test–post-test research design to investigate if gardening and nutritional activities could be used as effective intervention to reduce levels of food insecurity among school-aged children. Statistical results found that several of the participants live in urban food deserts. Food insecurity scores were higher for participants in Montgomery compared to those in Troy, AL. The relationship between parental income, household size, and location were important indicators for measuring food insecurity among participants. Recommendations for future research include expanding the scope of study to different sites and climates with larger samples to enhance our understanding of gardening and nutritional educational activities on food insecurity among school-aged children.

Abstract

Women from many cultures have historically been closely tied to the land and the environment through their role as subsistence farmers. But as the more developed nations have shifted to commercial agriculture and improved technology, farming has become a male-dominated industry. China’s shift from traditional family-operated farms to government-controlled collectives required a system of incentives to encourage agricultural labor to remain and prevent mass exodus to the cities. Hukou was created in the 1950s as a system of governmental registration for restricting the internal migration of labor within China, identifying citizens’ residency by place of birth. Residents of rural or urban locations are classified agricultural or nonagricultural labor, respectively. But as China’s industrialization has grown and technology has reduced the need for human agricultural labor, the need and desire for urban employment has intensified. For women, relocating has changed marriage practices, influenced child rearing, and altered their right to land tenure in their home region. This paper examines the role of gender in the changing use of hukou in the development of China, focusing on the impact of women’s patterns of migration on land tenure. Although hukou policies are still changing and there is a lack of data on the most recent changes, initial studies show that there are few who wish to give up their rural hukou in order to obtain urban hukou. Changes over the past decade indicate that rural woman are not only taking on more of the agricultural workload as men are drawn to urban employment, but also that they are less likely to care about environmental degradation in China.

Abstract

Contemporary international migrations are changing the global labor landscape. However, not all labor migration results are beneficial. Some home countries lose a great amount of home-educated labor to host countries that offer better working and living conditions, consequently lowering the available amount of critically needed intellectual capital for national utility. Ideally, host countries seeking workers should strive to develop a national policy that maximize “brain gain” by attracting workers with complimentary skills and knowledge to fill local employment gaps. Conversely, donor countries that send workers abroad should develop policies that minimize its brain drain by encouraging their skilled citizens to return home after acquiring enhanced skills and knowledge, thus taking advantage of “brain circulation” effects. Therefore, a nation’s best interest, either a host or donor country, may be best served through the development of protocols that minimize friction during the migration process for preferred migrants. Using Malaysia, as an example, we argue that the recognition of dual citizenship would be the appropriate prescription in reducing the “Great Brain Drain” problem afflicting the local labor market. This recognition serves several purposes: (1) provide labor with economic opportunities while retaining their ability to adjust to political climate by taking advantage of the global mobility of talent with favorable immigration policies; (2) increase Malaysia’s financial and human capital stock by leveraging its diasporas; and (3) alleviate friction in the migration process between Malaysia and host countries that will smooth travel between countries and increase economic transactions back to the country in the form of social and economic remittances. This paper examines this allowance and discusses the implications of a potential Malaysian dual-citizenship policy.

Abstract

On November 4, 2015, the Fundão Dam in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais suffered a catastrophic failure and released 60 million cubic meters of toxic, iron-laden mud into the Rio Doce – a major river system that serves 3.6 million people in the Southeast. Owned by Samarco, a joint venture between Brazil’s Companhia do Vale do Rio Doce (CRVD) and Australia’s BHP Billiton Industries, the Fundão Dam was one of the largest mining-oriented water reservoirs in the country. This disaster was identified by IBAMA, the country’s environmental protection agency, as the worst environmental event in Brazil’s industrial history. The disaster’s ramifications continue to unfold, affecting people, wildlife, and ecosystems along the river’s 530-kilometer route through Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo to the Atlantic Ocean. This paper contextualizes the Samarco disaster and its socioecological consequences in a political ecology framework. Specifically, this theoretical research is poised within a politics of scale paradigm. Theory is used to explain the long-standing contradictions between capital and nature through an examination of the Samarco disaster. Specifically, scalar theory explains how capital–nature contradictions facilitated the disaster and Brazil’s on-going struggle to respond to environmental justice at local scales.

Abstract

The Indian government has set an ambitious target for reducing the import of fossil fuels by 10% and introducing an all-electric car fleet by 2030. The Government of India launched the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 in 2013 to promote Electric Vehicles (EVs) in India with the objective of providing incentives for use of EVs; encouraging research & development in the areas of battery technology, system integration, testing infrastructure; and promoting charging infrastructure. The Indian government is also working on a scheme by which an electric car can be purchased free of cost: zero down payments, and monthly payments out of savings on the cost of petrol. It is envisaged that sooner or later, e-vehicles will transform the automobile market and provide environmental sustainability to the society. Political stability to provide stable policies is expected to play a key role in driving the growth of such vehicles. So far, preliminary research has been undertaken on perception of Indian Society on EVs. Based on empirical research, this paper attempts to address the gap. A study was conducted from November 2016 to April 2017 in Delhi-NCR with a sample size of 220 professionals working in manufacturing and service industry to understand the upcoming green transport facilities and their perceived environmental benefits as perceived by the residents of the society. Convenience sampling was used to collect the data. The Study highlighted that the design and utility of the EVs need to be reshaped so that it can compete with the gasoline vehicles in the current environment. Almost 95% of the respondents are ready to pay a premium for new technology or EVs. The study revealed that infusion of capital support and government subsidies can play a key role in acquiring new customers and establishing the market for EVs in the Indian market. The results show that there is a need to enhance awareness of NEMMP scheme within the society so that the EV market share can be increased. The results highlight that with availability of options, society will use the transport system which is environment friendly.

Abstract

This study aims to identify the features and characteristics of feminist elites as well as their circulation rate in official political positions. The study questions include the role of a profession, educational level, and class of origin in the recruitment of feminist elites. It stems from the hypothesis that a direct correlation exists between the mechanism of recruiting feminist elites and their characteristics, according to the criterion of class differentiation based on social status and financial wealth. The study used a complex combination of scientific methodologies, including the elite approach, which is especially important as a result of its ability to convert arguments into measurable variables, and a comparative approach was used to compare the features and characteristics of feminist elites in two reigns. From the study, it was observed that feminist elites are characterized by caste and wealth, higher educational degree, and in addition obtaining degrees from Western universities, prevailed. This result demonstrates the higher value of Western universities. The study also found that the circulation rate of political feminist elites dramatically increased in the reign of King Abdullah compared with the appointed feminist elites in the reign of King Hussein.

About the Authors

Pages 203-208
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Index

Pages 209-219
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Cover of Environment, Politics, and Society
DOI
10.1108/S0895-9935201825
Publication date
2018-05-02
Book series
Research in Political Sociology
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78714-776-8
eISBN
978-1-78714-775-1
Book series ISSN
0895-9935