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Automobility and Oil Vulnerability

Unfairness as Critical to Energy Transitions

Ana Horta

Abstract

Climate policies in the European Union require a substantial reduction in carbon emissions from road transport. However, in the last decades the system of automobility has expanded considerably, establishing a process of path dependence that is very difficult to reverse. Changes in current patterns of automobility may increase oil vulnerability of citizens dependent on the use of the car, aggravating forms of social inequity. Based on an analysis of how television news framed a period of oil price rises in a country highly dependent on car use, the article shows that oil vulnerability may resonate with socially shared sociocultural meanings such as lack of trust in political leaders, which may aggravate the social perception of unfairness and compromise public support for energy transitions toward sustainability.

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“Litigation Is Our Last Resort”

Addressing Uncertainty, Undone Science, and Bias in Court to Assert Indigenous Rights

Bindu Panikkar

Abstract

The permitting of large-scale industrial mines is often controversial and litigious. This article examines three legal battles over the exploratory permitting of the Pebble mine in southwestern Alaska to examine the logics and rationalities used to legitimize the permitting, the alternate epistemic arguments made by the resistance movements to redraw state-constructed boundaries, and differing definitions of land-based resources, pollution, and bias. It asks how conflicting knowledge claims and epistemic injustice are debated and settled in court. All three legal cases observed demonstrate conditions of scientific uncertainty, undone science, and bias, failing to hold space for diverse representations within legal claims. Citizen science is partially successful in addressing epistemic injustice, but to effectively mediate justice, law must distinctively question both knowledge construction and phronetic risks, including values, intent, bias, privilege, and agency, and take into consideration the ontological multiplicities and civic epistemologies of the parties within legal claims.

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Overconsumption as Ideology

Implications for Addressing Global Climate Change

Diana Stuart, Ryan Gunderson, and Brian Petersen

Abstract

In response to climate change projections, scientists and concerned citizens are increasingly calling for changes in personal consumption. However, these calls ignore the true relationship between production and consumption and the ongoing propagation of the ideology of overconsumption. In this article, we draw from Western Marxist theorists to explain the ideology of overconsumption and its implications for addressing global climate change. Drawing from Herbert Marcuse and Guy Debord, we illustrate how production drives consumption, how advertising promotes false needs and excess, how these power relations are concealed, and how they undermine social and ecological well-being. Specific to climate change, continued widespread support for increasing levels of production and economic growth will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Given the relationships between production and carbon emissions, effective mitigation efforts will require significant systemic changes in work, production, consumption, advertising, and social norms.

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Park Spaces and the User Experience

Reconsidering the Body in Park Analysis Tools

Eric A. Stone and Jennifer D. Roberts

Abstract

As a strategy for combating physical inactivity, obesity, and other health conditions, the apperception of greenspace and importance of human-nature relationships have increased in recent decades. With this raised awareness in greenspace, the development of park auditing tools has been positioned primarily in the material conditions (e.g., physical environmental conditions) of parks. An examination of existing park auditing tools has shown that by focusing on particular material conditions, built environment and active living scholars have set aside other characteristics, namely, those that consider the user (e.g., the active human), as a separate concern from the focus of these tools. We have sought to engage with these tools to examine how they can be more effective in analyzing both the physical and human elements of parks and other natural environments.

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Plastic Packaging, Food Supply, and Everyday Life

Adopting a Social Practice Perspective in Social-Ecological Research

Lukas Sattlegger, Immanuel Stieß, Luca Raschewski, and Katharina Reindl

Abstract

This article presents practice-theoretical conceptions of societal relations to nature as a fruitful alternative to common system approaches in social-ecological research. Via the example of plastic food packaging, two different practice-theoretical approaches to food supply are discussed regarding their suitability for relating the material properties of packaging to their everyday use by producers, retailers, and consumers: (1) the network approach (portraying food supply as a network of practices; these practices include material elements that interrelate with other elements like competence or meaning) and (2) the nexus approach (investigating the interrelation between social practices and material arrangements in which they take place). Depending on the given research interest, both perspectives have their pros and cons: the network approach is stronger in understanding the everyday use of technologies, while the nexus approach encourages the integration of infrastructures and environmental contexts that are not directly observable within the practice.

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Explicating Ecoculture

Tracing a Transdisciplinary Focal Concept

Melissa M. Parks

Abstract

Ecoculture is an emerging focal concept reflecting the inextricability of nature and culture. It is applicable to and employed in many disciplines, yet it is rarely defined, cited, or interrogated, causing potential inconsistencies in scholarly operationalization. In the present analysis, I use Steven H. Chaffee's method of explication to develop an analytical review of ecoculture. I explore the primitive terms—ecology and culture—before assessing the scholarly use of the derived, compound term. I trace ecoculture across multiple disciplines, synthesizing operationalizations into one transdisciplinary theoretical framework. I find that ecoculture connotes interconnectedness and place relations, and has been critically operationalized in ways that problematize dominant human-centered ideologies, making it a productive scholarly frame that emphasizes the relationships between humans, their cultures, and their ecologies.

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Hydrologic Habitus

Wells, Watering Practices, and Water Supply Infrastructure

Brock Ternes and Brian Donovan

Abstract

Private water wells and municipal water supplies function as different systems of water provision, creating distinct—but understudied—patterns of water consumption. This article examines private well ownership to assess the relationships among conspicuous water consumption, cultural practices, and environmental structures. We surveyed well owners and non-well owners throughout Kansas, a state highly reliant on groundwater (n = 864). Borrowing insights from Bourdieu's analysis of cultural consumption, this research considers the relationships between demographic variables and watering routines. We provide evidence that well ownership is a significant predictor of conspicuous water usage, and suggest attention to individuals’ hydrologic habitus—a disposition toward water usage shaped by infrastructure, class, and pertinent social variables—facilitates a better understanding of well ownership, drought-time watering, and conspicuous water consumption.

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Natural Sciences and Social Sciences

Where Do the Twain Meet?

C. S. A. (Kris) van Koppen

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Neglected Tropical Diseases

Creating a New Disease Grouping

Samantha Vanderslott

Abstract

Neglected tropical diseases show how a disease group can be formed to compete in the global health policy marketplace. The naming and branding of a new disease category is used to organize activities, direct attention and resources, and rationalize the governance of diseases. The politics of classification involves processes of negotiation and conceptual development by key actors. Here, discussions about central characteristics, naming, and inclusion and exclusion criteria are rarely settled. Contradictions are present in the “tropical” and “neglected” characterizations, as well as choices of universalist rather than particularist approaches. Interacting with these considerations is a continued progression in means of dealing with disease from health actors and changing attributes of diseases in populations.

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Hendrik Paasche, Katja Paasche, and Peter Dietrich

Abstract

Geoscientists invest significant effort to cope with uncertainty in Earth system observation and modeling. While general discussions exist about uncertainty and risk communication, judgment and decision-making, and science communication with regard to Earth sciences, in this article, we tackle uncertainty from the perspective of Earth science practitioners. We argue different scientific methodologies must be used to recognize all types of uncertainty inherent to a scientific finding. Following a discovery science methodology results in greater potential for the quantification of uncertainty associated to scientific findings than staying inside hypothesis-driven science methodology, as is common practice. Enabling improved uncertainty quantification could relax debates about risk communication and decision-making since it reduces the room for personality traits when communicating scientific findings.