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GEOG Week 6 Notes

by: jared.stein Notetaker

GEOG Week 6 Notes geog 1972

jared.stein Notetaker


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These are my notes for Week 6 for GEOG 1972 Sections 100 & 200 with Prof. William Travis
Environment-Society Geography
Professor Travis
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by jared.stein Notetaker on Sunday October 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to geog 1972 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Professor Travis in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Environment-Society Geography in Geography at University of Colorado at Boulder.


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Date Created: 10/02/16
9/27/16 Week 6 Lecture 1 I. When Markets Fail to Achieve Desirable Environment and Society Interactions A. Externalities 1. The spillover cost or benefit, paid for by those it affects not by those who produced it a. Industrial activity • Industrial plants lead to pollution off-site that must be paid for by someone else to clean up b. Pollution and degradation become the focus of the modern day “environmental problem” c. Externalities aren’t managed by the market B. Three Ecological Problems of Markets 1. Non-Market Goods a. The marketplace makes once scarce or rare materials more available by influencing investments in new sources and/or substitutes. b. Sperm Whale oil became rare in the 19th century (used to make kerosene) but replaced with Petroleum (oil) • Yet before the substitute was found, Sperm Whales were driven to the brink of extinction • International bans on whaling had to be imposed before the whale could go extinct • This ban may have been what forced people to seek out a substitute • The bans intervened and replicated a market force before the whales went extinct c. Markets have adjusted slowly to the declining rainforests and global warming d. There is no market for declining biodiversity 2. Money and Nature a. It’s hard to give value to ecological conditions in terms of money. • “Can’t put a dollar value on everything” b. History has shown that the market is volatile, subject to bubbles and bursts • Not always a bad thing as capital (invested $$) moves from crisis to crisis: • Declining forests → invest in forestry • Plastic getting expensive → invest in recycling programs • Fossil Fuels are running out → invest in biofuels • However flow of money may be out of step with environmental systems and social values • Market investments are usually reactive not proactive • Capital investments throws money at problems once they become problems (that’s when it’s profitable) but not before they are problems (because nobody cares about them) c. The crisis of equity • “Applying the logistics of the market to the environment raises basic questions about equity and rights.” • The “marketizing” of the environment • Limits availability of environmental services (clean air, the wilderness) to those who can pay for it • The environment and “commons” become a tourism enterprise and basic/necessary services are supplied by private industries. (Power is largely privatized..yet we all still get it so this may not be all bad) C. Semi-Market Solutions 1. Mix of regulation meant to extend market forces to the non-market failures 2. Cap and Trade a. Market-based system to manage environmental pollutants where a total limit on all emissions in a jurisdiction (State, Country, Worldwide) and individual people or firms possess transferable shares of that total, theoretically leading to the most efficient system overall to maintain and reduce pollution overall. b. Problems • How is the cap set? Is this based on politics? Good or bad science? • Tendency towards banking and offsets (no-net-loss of wetlands case in the book) • Geographical Equity • What if you live next to the plant that bought the credits to pollute • Does the regional environment benefit at all from Cap and Trade? II. Institutions and “The Commons” (Ch 4) A. Open Access Resource 1. Resource with no effective exclusion of any would-be users 2. A “common”, not partitioned and sold to private owners B. Common Property 1. A good or resource whose characteristics make it difficult to fully enclose and partition. a. Non-owners enjoy resource benefit b. Owners sustain the costs from the actions of others 2. Typically some creative institutional management results from part b ^^ (Usually a government, institution, or some sort of collective of users) C. Institutions 1. Rules and norms governing a collective action, especially referring to rules governing common property and environmental resources like rivers, oceans, and the atmosphere D. The Prisoner’s Dilemma 1. An allegory for game-theory which serves to demonstrate human nature in which multiple individuals making decisions in pursuit of their own interests tend to create outcomes that are non-optimal for everyone. E. Tragedy of the Commons 1. Applying this kind of thinking to our interaction with the natural world leads to some potentially grim and tragic conclusions. a. Some think the degradation of the “commons” is inevitable b. Many elements of the environment have “commons” property 2. What is the Solution? a. Super-policing by some higher authority accepted by commons users (“mutual coercion mutually agreed upon”) b. Strong property rights invested in individuals (people buy up commons) 3. Property rights allow exclusion/control of use. a. Property rights impose costs of overuse on the single owner 4. The world is full of degrading commons a. Fisheries b. Atmosphere c. Common grazing land d. Public lands (open space/parks) 9/30/16 Week 6 Lecture 2 I. The Evidence and Logic of Collective Action A. The Airline Industry 1. Rather than let countries restrict airlines based on individual national limits • Some airlines would be pressured more than others 2. Instead all decided to restrict across the board a. Could cost industry $24 billion anually b. Groups decide to place restrictions on themselves and one another to protect the commons c. meant to lower emissions • What if one airline “defects”, what is the punishment? • Is there any way to measure or enforce B. From the Book 1. The evidence of logic and collective action a. Right around the time the logic behind The Prisoner’s Dilemma and The Tragedy of the Commons was becoming widely accepted, evidence of the contrary began to mount b. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and geographers observed resource management around the world, they continued to report behaviors that didn’t fit Hardin’s predictions • Found examples of complex systems for management of difficult- to-enclose resources (fish, trees, and pasture) • Didn’t rely on tyrannical enforcement or exclusive property rights C. Elinor Ostrom 1. Elinor Ostrom was a political scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on how societies manage natural resources. 2. Her work countered the logic behind The Tragedy of the Commons a. Said government may not be the best allocator of resources b. Showed that under certain circumstances, when communities are given the right to self-organize, they can democratically govern themselves to preserve the environment. c. People recognize that their self interests are linked to the good of the society. If water dries up from any one person using too much, we all suffer, including the one who used too much. II. Creating Sustainable Environmental Institutions A. Real World Commons 1. Problems in managing fisheries: a. How do fishers keep the number of fishing boats to a reasonable level b. How do fishers compensate individuals for time and effort expended in managing the fishery c. How does the group reach decisions about what rules are fair d. How do they know if rules are being followed, since fish population are hard to track and count e. What do they do to rule-breakers who over-harvest fish at times when the group has decided to be restrictive f. How do they solve conflicts over rights. g. What keeps any locally crafted system from being nullified by a higher authority at the state or federal level. B. Solutions to the “Tragedy” found in real world cases 1. Boundaries: The resource and the user groups should have clearly defined boundaries. That means that the fishery in our example should have specific territory or population of fish rather than a nebulous area. Equally important, the fishers who have rights to use the fishery by necessity must be specified; it cannot be open to anyone with a boat who sails into the area from elsewhere. 2. Proportionality: Costs accrued in managing should be in line with benefits. People who bear the costs of organizing or monitoring our hypothetical fishery should enjoy equal or higher access rights than those who do not. There should be some form of compensation for any investments in equipment or labor that members of the commons commit to the group. 3. Collective Choice: Arrangements need to be in place so that the specific rules for managing the resource are made by the resource users themselves and/or can be modified through some kind of deliberative group forum. Fishers, in our example, should be able to set the limits for fishing together. 4. Monitoring: Some system of monitoring needs to exist so that people’s behaviors and uses are known to the group and so that the status of the resource itself is checked in order to allow for adjustments. This means that some resources must be dedicated to keeping an eye on what vessels are coming and going from the fishery and to taking a reliable sampled census of fish stocks. In line with previously noted principles, the costs of such activities need to be borne fairly throughout the group, and the system for implementation should be decided collectively. 5. Sanctions: Sanctions must be imposed on violators, but these should be graduated, meaning that the system should encourage voluntary compliance with rules, have low punishments for first offenders, and only turn to coercion as a last resort. For our fishery, this means that fishers should expect to monitor one another and comply with rules voluntarily. Should a fisher be found in violation of a limit on the amount of fish they take or some other provision (through the monitoring system established above), they can be encouraged to return to compliance without undue or disproportionate duress or expulsion . 6. Conflict resolution: Social mechanisms must be developed to resolve conflicts between users. There are many possibilities for mutual complaints in a common property system, and in the case of our fishery, a robust management system would allow a low- cost way to work out mutual grievances without turning toward expensive litigation or calling in higher-order authorities. These mechanisms might be a small council of respected citizens, a mediation system using an outside third party, or any number of other socially appropriate systems. 7. Autonomy: For a common property management system to work, it is essential that it is allowed at least some measure of autonomy from higher or non-local authorities. Imagine dedicating several years of careful work in developing a community management system of fishers described above, only to have a government official from a distant municipality arrive, review the rules, and begin meddling with their specifics. Where this can be expected to happen, it is unlikely fishers would take the time and effort to craft such a system in the first place.


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