The CEECEC Handbook: Ecological Economics from the Bottom-Up
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This Handbook, comprised of 14 chapters and a glossary, is the product of collaborative efforts between environmental activists and ecological economists from around the world, all belonging to the CEECEC network (see List of Partner Organisations). CEECEC is a project funded by the European Commission’s Science in Society programme, running from April 2008-September 2010, under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Its overarching objective is twofold: to build the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) to participate in and lead ecological economics research on sustainability issues for the benefit of their organisational goals, while at the same time to enrich ecological economics research with highly valuable activist knowledge.
CEECEC has taken an approach illustrative of what Andrew Stirling of SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex, has called cooperative research. This is a new form of research process which involves both researchers and non-researchers in close co-operative engagement, encompassing a full spectrum of approaches, frameworks and methods, from interdisciplinary collaboration through stakeholder negotiation to transdisciplinary deliberation and citizen participation. This is not new in practice. For instance, the first reports on the State of the Environment in India were put together in the 1980s by drawing on knowledge of both activist organizations and academics across the sub-continent. In CEECEC, CSO partners with total autonomy chose the conflicts they wanted to focus on to develop case studies. The CEECEC team at ICTA UAB, other academic partners, and other participating CSOs, further developed the case study drafts, deciding on the appropriate concepts from ecological economics to be applied or presented in those contexts. Environmental CSOs, particularly those concerned with environmental justice (we refer to these as Environmental Justice Organisations, or EJOs), frequently carry out research on environmental conflicts, writing reports as part of their advocacy work. What CEECEC provided to these EJOs was a critical audience of interested activist and academic partners who asked questions, gave encouragement, made comparisons, and suggested key words and references, keeping in mind the final objective of developing a Handbook (as well as a series of lectures) useful for teaching ecological economics from the “bottom-up” instead of from first principles.
The resulting Handbook chapters are the product of cooperatively written case studies of environmental conflict, real examples through which the concepts and tools of ecological economics are taught from the bottom-up. Chapter one, entitled The Manta–Manaos Project: Nature, Capital and Plunder comes from Accion Ecologica in Quito, Ecuador, and describes conflicts related to plans for a multimodal transport corridor that will eventually connect Ecuador to Brazil. Chapter 2, also transport related, comes from A Sud in Rome, Italy. Entitled High Speed Transport Infrastructure (TAV) in Italy, it looks at the conflict that arose in Val di Susa near Torino. Chapter 3 also comes from Accion Ecologica in Ecuador, and as the title The Mining Enclave of the Cordillera del Cóndor suggests, is related to mining and mineral extraction by transnational companies in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon in territory belonging to the Shuar people. Chapter 4, from the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, Austria is called Aid, Social Metabolism and Social Conflict in the Nicobar Islands and looks at the impacts on the local population of the tsunami of 2004 and the emergency “aid” that followed, and how the use of materials and energy changed in these communities. Chapter 5, written by the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, India moves on to the topic of Participatory Forest Management in Mendha Lekha, a tribal or adivasi village in Maharashtra, relying on the good management of the commons for their livelihood. Chapter 6, also on the topic of forestry is set in Cameroon, called Forestry and Communities in Cameroon, submitted by the Centre pour Environnment et Developpment, a member of the Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) network. It deals with international trade in forest products, highlighting export prices, local social impacts, and problems of corruption. The focus of Chapter 7 from ICTA at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain is also set in Africa and looks at land grabbing, with the title Let Them Eat Sugar: Life and Livelihood in Kenya’s Tana Delta. Chapter 8, another contribution from India’s CSE, is called Local Governance and Environmental Investments in Hiware Bazar, Mahrashtra, India, focusing particularly on successful water harvesting and new institutions for water use. Chapter 9, from Sunce in Split, Croatia is called Nautical Tourism Development in the Lastovo Islands Nature Park, and as the title suggests, looks at the negative impacts of increased nautical tourism in this protected area, discussing possible policy tools for promoting the development of sustainable tourism. Similarly, Chapter 10 from Endemit Ecological Society in Belgrade, called Local Communities and Management of Protected Areas in Serbia is concerned with national park management, but also analyses the costs and benefits arising from the construction of a large dam on the Danube. Chapter 11 is the third chapter to come from CSE, entitled Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in India from the Bottom-Up, and deals with a case that arose in the Himalayas, long before PES came into vogue. Chapter 12 from REBRAF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil takes a different approach to PES. This chapter, The Potential of REDD and Legal Reserve Compensation in Mato Grosso, Brazil proposes new means for paying for carbon storage and capture. Chapter 13, a second contribution from A Sud in Italy looks at the complex situation of The Waste Crisis in Campania, Italy, looking at debates on the risks from waste incineration, and the role of different actors in Italian society in this crisis from activists to the so-called “eco-mafia”. Finally, Chapter 14 comes from VODO, based in Brussels, Belgium, and raises the bar for the practice of corporate social responsibility in a case study entitled Environmental Justice and Ecological Debt in Belgium: the UMICORE Case.
Site of CEECEC www.ceecec.net/