The Elgar Companion to Geography, Transdisciplinarity and Sustainability 1786430096, 9781786430090

Offering a cutting-edge, transdisciplinary approach to bio-physical and bio-cultural scales of sustainability, this Comp

571 39 18MB

English Pages 448 [441] Year 2020

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

The Elgar Companion to Geography, Transdisciplinarity and Sustainability
 1786430096, 9781786430090

Table of contents :
Front Matter
List of contributors
Introduction: the scale of sustainability—the limiting universe where everything and nothing is sustainable
Part I: Foundational Binaries of Geography and Sustainability
1 Packing transdisciplinary critical geography amidst sustainability of mountainscapes
2 A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability for a high-energy, urbanizing, digitalized human species
3 Sustainable development and the concept of scale
4 Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues
5 The dance of sustainability: a call to engage geographers in local- and global-scale research
6 Sustainability and globalization
7 The climate framework in sustainability research: a geographic critique from the Global South
Part II: Integration of Disciplinary Development for Sustainability
8 Why sustainability matters in geography
9 Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus
10 The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability
11 A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies
12 Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment
Part III: Resource Exploitation and Cycling of Accommodation
13 Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability
14 Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity
15 Feeding futures framed: rediscovering biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes
16 Sustainable urbanism or amenity migration fad: critical analysis of urban planning of Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador
Part IV: Country Examples: Non-Traditional Actors/Tek
17 Land cover and land use change in an emerging national park gateway region: implications for mountain sustainability
18 Listening to the campesinos: sustaining rural livelihoods in the tropical Andes
19 Decolonizing ecological knowledge: transdisciplinary ecology, place making and cognitive justice in the Andes
20 Cultural sustainability and notions of cultural heritage: a review with some reference to an Asian perspective
21 Threats to sustainability in the Galapagos Islands: a social–ecological perspective
22 Celestial bird’s eye view: tracking forest cover change in the Bellbird Biological Corridor of Costa Rica
23 Andean indigenous foodscapes: food security and food sovereignty in mountains’ sustainability scenarios
Part V: Postcript
24 Montology: an integrative understanding of mountain foodscapes for strengthening food sovereignty in the Andes
25 Sustainability: Cooperation Industry Earth 2300 – “Think local planet, act regionally”
Part VI: Epilogue
26 Sustainability thinking: the road ahead

Citation preview


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 1

20/04/2020 14:23

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 2

20/04/2020 14:23

The Elgar Companion to Geography, Transdisciplinarity and Sustainability

Edited by

Fausto O. Sarmiento Department of Geography, University of Georgia, USA

Larry M. Frolich Department of Natural Sciences, Miami Dade College, Florida, USA

Cheltenham, UK • Northampton, MA, USA

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 3

20/04/2020 14:23

© Fausto O. Sarmiento and Larry M. Frolich 2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Published by Edward Elgar Publishing Limited The Lypiatts 15 Lansdown Road Cheltenham Glos GL50 2JA UK Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. William Pratt House 9 Dewey Court Northampton Massachusetts 01060 USA

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Control Number: 2019956777 This book is available electronically in the Social and Political Science subject collection DOI 10.4337/9781786430106

ISBN 978 1 78643 009 0 (cased) ISBN 978 1 78643 010 6 (eBook) Typeset by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 4

20/04/2020 14:23

Contents List of contributorsviii Introduction: the scale of sustainability—the limiting universe where everything and nothing is sustainable Larry M. Frolich, Esmeralda Guevara and Fausto O. Sarmiento


PART I FOUNDATIONAL BINARIES OF GEOGRAPHY AND SUSTAINABILITY   1 Packing transdisciplinary critical geography amidst sustainability of mountainscapes15 Fausto O. Sarmiento   2 A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability for a high-energy, urbanizing, digitalized human species Esmeralda Guevara and Larry M. Frolich


  3 Sustainable development and the concept of scale Bernard Debarbieux and Jörg Balsiger


  4 Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues  Rachid Cheddadi, Fausto O. Sarmiento, Alain Hambuckers, Ali Rhoujjati, Pierre Taberlet, Francesco Ficetola, Alexandra-Jane Henrot, Louis François, Frédéric Boyer and Majda Nourelbait


  5 The dance of sustainability: a call to engage geographers in local- and global-scale research Carol P. Harden   6 Sustainability and globalization Helena Norberg-Hodge

79 93

  7 The climate framework in sustainability research: a geographic critique from the Global South Kenneth R. Young


PART II INTEGRATION OF DISCIPLINARY DEVELOPMENT FOR SUSTAINABILITY   8 Why sustainability matters in geography Friedrich M. Zimmermann and Susanne Zimmermann-Janschitz


  9 Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus Axel Borsdorf and Andreas Haller



SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 5

20/04/2020 14:23

vi  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability 10 The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability William Dunbar and Kaoru Ichikawa


11 A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies Ricardo Rozzi


12 Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment David Harmon


PART III RESOURCE EXPLOITATION AND CYCLING OF ACCOMMODATION 13 Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability Eduard Müller


14 Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity Nigel Dudley


15 Feeding futures framed: rediscovering biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes235  Genevieve A. Holdridge, Fausto O. Sarmiento, Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch, Bynum Boley, James K. Reap, Eric A. Macdonald, María Navarro, Sarah L. Hitchner and John W. Schelhas 16 Sustainable urbanism or amenity migration fad: critical analysis of urban planning of Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador Mario E. Donoso-Correa and Fausto O. Sarmiento


PART IV  COUNTRY EXAMPLES: NON-TRADITIONAL ACTORS/TEK 17 Land cover and land use change in an emerging national park gateway region: implications for mountain sustainability 270 Lynn M. Resler, Yang Shao, James B. Campbell and Amanda Michaels 18 Listening to the campesinos: sustaining rural livelihoods in the tropical Andes 293 Christoph Stadel 19 Decolonizing ecological knowledge: transdisciplinary ecology, place making and cognitive justice in the Andes Sébastien Boillat


20 Cultural sustainability and notions of cultural heritage: a review with some reference to an Asian perspective Ken Taylor


21 Threats to sustainability in the Galapagos Islands: a social–ecological perspective342 Carlos F. Mena, Diego Quiroga and Stephen J. Walsh

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 6

20/04/2020 14:23

Contents  vii 22 Celestial bird’s eye view: tracking forest cover change in the Bellbird Biological Corridor of Costa Rica Steve Padgett-Vasquez


23 Andean indigenous foodscapes: food security and food sovereignty in mountains’ sustainability scenarios Juan A. González and Fausto O. Sarmiento


PART V  POSTCRIPT 24 Montology: an integrative understanding of mountain foodscapes for strengthening food sovereignty in the Andes  José Tomás Ibarra, Antonia Barreau, Carla Marchant, Juan A. González, Manuel Oliva, Mario E. Donoso-Correa, Berea Antaki, Constanza Monterrubio-Solís and Fausto O. Sarmiento 25 Sustainability: Cooperation Industry Earth 2300 – “Think local planet, act regionally” Thomas J. Christoffel



PART VI  EPILOGUE 26 Sustainability thinking: the road ahead Fausto O. Sarmiento and Larry M. Frolich



SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 7

20/04/2020 14:23

Contributors Berea Antaki is Research Associate, Neotropical Montology Collaboratory, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Jörg Balsiger is Professor of Geography, Department of Geography and Environment, and Institute for Environmental Governance and Territorial Development, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Antonia Barreau is based at the Center for Local Development, Education and Interculturality (CEDEL), Villarrica Campus, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and the Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (CIIR), Faculty of Social Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Sébastien Boillat is Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland. Bynum Boley is Associate Professor of Natural Resources, Recreation and Tourism, Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Axel Borsdorf is Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, and Founder and Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Innsbruck. He was the President of the Austrian Geographical Society and Vice-President of the Austrian Latin America Institute. Innsbruck, Austria. Frédéric Boyer is a Researcher, Alpine Ecology Laboratory, University of Grenoble Alps, France. James B. Campbell is based at the Department of Geography, Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA, USA. Rachid Cheddadi is Professor of Paleoecology at the University of Montpellier, France, and Director of Research of the National French Research Council. He is Lead Principal Investigator of a global research project VULPES for vulnerability of populations under extreme scenarios of climate change, University of Montpellier, France. Thomas J. Christoffel is Principal of Regional Intelligence-Regional Communities, LLC, Virginia; a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association, USA. Bernard Debarbieux is Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Geography, Department of Geography and Environment, and Institute for Environmental Governance and Territorial Development, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Mario E. Donoso-Correa is based at the Unit of Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction, Catholic University of Cuenca, Ecuador, VLIR-IUC Programme on Migration and Local Development, Flemish Universities and University of Cuenca, viii

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 8

20/04/2020 14:23

Contributors  ix Ecuador, and Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, University of Cuenca, Ecuador. Nigel Dudley is an Industry Fellow of the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland. He is Principal of Equilibrium Research and Chair of the WCPA Specialist Group on Natural Solutions, Bristol, UK. William Dunbar is Senior Communications Coordinator in the International Satoyama Initiative project at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Tokyo, Japan. Francesco Ficetola is Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy. Louis François is Professor, Department of Astrophysics, Geophysics and Oceanography, University of Liége, Liége, Belgium. Larry M. Frolich is Professor of Natural Sciences, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL, USA. He is former editor of the Journal of Sustainability Education. Juan A. González is Director, Institute of Ecology, Fundación Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina. Esmeralda Guevara is a sustainability coach and school teacher, Miami, FL, USA. Andreas Haller is an urban geographer and landscape researcher, Institute for Inter­ disciplinary Mountain Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Innsbruck, Austria. Alain Hambuckers is a Senior Professor, Department of Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Unit of Research (SPHERES), University of Liège, Belgium. Carol P. Harden is Emeritus Professor of Geography, University of Knoxville, TN, USA. She is a former president of the Association of American Geographers, and is known in the Andes as the “Queen of Rain” for her work on water impact and soil compaction. David Harmon is an independent researcher on protected places, biocultural and linguistic diversity, and secular values. He co-founded the non-governmental organization (NGO) Terralingua, for Biocultural Diversity. He is also Executive Director of the George Wright Society, Hancock, MI, USA. Alexandra-Jane Henrot is a research scientist, Department of Astrophysics, Geophysics and Oceanography, University of Liége, Liége, Belgium. Sarah L. Hitchner is Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Center for Integrated Conservation Research (CICR), The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Genevieve A. Holdridge is a Geographer Post-Doc, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Denmark. José Tomás Ibarra is based at the Center for Local Development, Education, Interculturality (CEDEL), Villarrica Campus, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (CIIR), Faculty of Social Sciences, Pontificia

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 9

20/04/2020 14:23

x  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Universidad Católica de Chile. He is also an Associate Researcher at the Millennium Nucleus Center for the Socioeconomic Impact of Environmental Policies (CESIEP) and the Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Kaoru Ichikawa is a Researcher at the Institute of Policy Research, Kumamoto City, Japan. Eric A. Macdonald is Associate Professor of Environmental Design and Landscape Management, College of Environment + Design, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Carla Marchant is Assistant Professor, Institute of Environmental and Evolutionary Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile. Carlos F. Mena is based at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. Amanda Michaels is based at the Department of Geography, Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA, USA. Constanza Monterrubio-Solís is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Center for Local Development, Education, Interculturality (CEDEL), Villarrica Campus, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (CIIR), Faculty of Social Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Eduard Müller is Founder and President of University for International Cooperation, San José, Costa Rica. María Navarro is Professor of Agricultural Education and Associate Director of the Honors Program, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Helena Norberg-Hodge is Founder/Director of Local Futures and The International Alliance for Localization (IAL). She is also a founding member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, the International Forum on Globalization and the Global Ecovillage Network, London, UK. Majda Nourelbait is a Researcher, Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution (ISEM), Université de Montpellier, France. Manuel Oliva is Director, Institute of Research for Sustainable Development of the Cloud Forest (INDES-CES), National University Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza de Chachapoyas, Amazonas, Peru. Steve Padgett-Vasquez is based at Geospatial and Business Development Solutions to Energy and Environmental Sectors, Project Consulting Services, Inc. He was formerly with the NASA DEVELOP National Program, Atlanta, GA, USA. Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch is Assistant Professor of Geography and Anthropology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Diego Quiroga is Dean and Professor, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 10

20/04/2020 14:23

Contributors  xi James K. Reap is Professor and Director of Historic Preservation, College of Environment 1 Design, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. He is also a consultant for ICOMOS on cultural heritage law. Lynn M. Resler is Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, VA, USA. Ali Rhoujjati is Professor of Paleoecology, Department of Forestry, University of Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco. Ricardo Rozzi is Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA, and Director, Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, Omora Ethnobotanical Park, Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, and Universidad de Magallanes, Puerto Williams, Antarctic Province, Chile. Fausto O. Sarmiento is Professor of Geography and Director, Neotropical Montology Collaboratory, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. He is a former chair of the Mountain Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers, and former Fulbright Scholar Ambassador, Athens, GA, USA. John W. Schelhas is based at the Adjunct faculty of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Yang Shao is based at the Department of Geography, Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, VA, USA. Christoph Stadel is in the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria. Pierre Taberlet is Emeritus Professor, Laboratory of Alpine Ecology, Institute of Alpine Geography, University of Grenoble, France. Ken Taylor is Emeritus Professor, Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Stephen J. Walsh is Distinguished Professor of Geography and Director, Center for Galapagos Studies and the Galapagos Science Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. Kenneth R. Young is Professor of Geography, Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA. He is a former visiting director of the Geography program, the National Science Foundation, USA. Friedrich M. Zimmermann is Emeritus Professor at the Department of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, Austria and founder and former director of the RCE Graz-Styria (Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development). Susanne Zimmermann-Janschitz is Professor at the Department of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, Austria and former chair of the Disability Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 11

20/04/2020 14:23

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 12

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability—the limiting universe where everything and nothing is sustainable

Larry M. Frolich, Esmeralda Guevara and Fausto O. Sarmiento

THE GEOGRAPHY OF SUSTAINABILITY: THE ROLE OF SCALE As geographers, our currency is scale. In the physical realm, our maps are defined by their scale. And in the cultural realm, the importance of a tradition or artefact also depends on its scale. Which is not to say, by any means, that a larger scale lends more value. Just as with monetary currency, the ability to effect good work depends on knowing the scale and appreciating its importance. A 1-dollar transaction might have just as much impact on quality of life as the multi-trillion-dollar global economy. And, by the same token, a minute drawing of the interior of a room might have equal significance, if we understand its scale, as a map of the world. Or a tiny cultural artefact, with significance to only two people, might hold more meaning than a tradition carried out by half the globe’s population. The layperson may find this generalization paradoxical, but those of us, as geographers, in the business of making sense of time (c.f., historicity) and place (c.f., spatiality) underneath the global and local power relations that control our existence, will agree wholeheartedly. In recent years, we’ve seen a focus on how sustainable, at some scale, our physical and/ or cultural realms might be. One of the goals of the current edited volume, then, is to look across disciplines and see what we can understand about this geography of sustainability from a multitude of perspectives that go beyond multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary to crosscutting transdisciplinary approaches. As critical geographers, we must pay close attention to our scale and the possibilities for scaling up or down. At the extremes of scale, be it spatial or temporal, everything, as well as nothing, is sustainable. We are unable to even fathom the 13 billion plus years of existence that the cosmologists provide for our universe. And even then, the so-called “Big Bang” is best understood as an event horizon beyond which we have not, so far, been able to peer. But upcoming super-instruments, like the James Webb Space Telescope (NASA 2019) and the radio land-based array observatories (NSF/NRAO 2019) include design elements to pierce that event horizon, at which point, as has happened often in the past, our conception of what we mean by “our universe” will change. We will demonstrate that in the vastness of the scales of space and time, everything is sustainable—that is, the universe is infinite—and nothing is sustainable—that is, we cannot conceive of something that has no limits and so it must begin . . . and end. Even the relatively short 4-billion-year scale of life on Earth carries this same “everything and nothing is sustainable” burden. At the other end of scale, quantum mechanics also reaffirms that everything and nothing is sustainable. We can agonize, at a scale where we can touch and feel a material, whether it will last forever or not. But when we look at what is inside, at the infinitesimal scale, we find something that can only be described using complex statistical mathematics. 1

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 1

20/04/2020 14:23

2  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability According to the quantum mechanics model, the ultimate physical particles that make up matter may only exist, statistically speaking, when we try to measure them. These quantum particles may also be able to surmount the supposed speed-of-light limit and cross distances instantly. Are they anything more than statistical probabilities, and, if that is all they are, then are they at once completely unsustainable, yet also eternal? If calculus, the mathematics that allows rigorous and precise approaches to the binaries of infinities and infinitesimals, can describe these phenomena at the extremes of scale, then, as Richard Feynman said, it is the language that God speaks (Feynman et al. 2011). Clearly the daily discourse about sustainability is not at the scale of the Big Bang or Quantum Mechanics, although we risk reactionary responses when we ignore that grander context. We must deliberately, and with deliberation, decide on what scale we most effectively analyze geographic sustainability and with what discipline or cluster of disciplines we can attempt such approximations. If, on the extreme scales, nothing and everything is sustainable, then why does it matter how long things last? That must depend on the scale of analysis, and the political climate that controls decisions and policies that affect generational concerns of the present. Before we look at some examples that are within the grasp of our everyday minds (hopefully no calculus required!), let’s be sure we erase any potential pre-reactions based on political sentiments or expediency.

THE POLITICS OF SUSTAINABILITY: CHANGE TO KEEP THE SAME At both ends of today’s political spectrum, some irony can be discovered in views about sustainability (Avelino et al. 2016). Among political progressives, for decades, environmental conservation has been a central goal. Under the rubric of conservation, a resistance to change drives the discourse, despite a dissatisfaction with the status quo, under which current lifestyles, consumption levels and policies are seen as unsustainable. Yet, rather than embrace technological solutions, much of the rhetoric is about conserving and preserving wild areas, returning or rediscovering lower consumption lifestyles and rejecting new technologies. The result can be not only viewpoints that are contradictory, but hypocritical lifestyles that depend on high levels of consumption of cutting-edge technologies in defense of pristine wildlands and a so-called traditional, or minimalist, way of life. At the same time, political conservatives believe that environmental conservation should not interfere with capital development and business opportunities. However, despite this drive for an expanded human economy, the rhetoric values maintaining the social status quo and supporting only existing industries, especially fossil-fuel-based development. New technologies, particularly in the energy sector, are seen as unacceptable, often solely because they are promoted by political progressives. The result is again viewpoints that can be contradictory and, as with progressives, hypocritical lifestyles that strive for everexpanded affluence while rejecting the potential for new sources of energy, which, at some point, must be the basis for economic growth. Debarbieux and Balsiger (Chapter 3) dive into the ramifications of scale and sustainable development highlighting the tendencies of traditional politics.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 2

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability  3 Wherever an individual’s political ideologies lie, we must, as natural and social scientists, look to the realities of what the data tell us and analyze them in the context of a scale that makes sense. Only then do we have a chance of applying the lens of sustainability in a rigorous way (Miller 2005). However, we are still faced with the question of what we mean by, and how we might defend, the idea of sustainability.

THE SPIRIT OF SUSTAINABILITY: WHAT IS QUALITY OF LIFE? Rationalism and the birth of so-called “Western Thought” required two pillars. The first is an assumption that we share a common reality that can be described, probed, tested and explained. The second is that this understanding of that common reality can be parlayed into improvements in quality of life. The sustainability movement takes its roots from deep within these two foundational pillars. Whether we are trying to understand extinction rates, global climate change, economic inequalities or resource utilization, we assume that a rigorous analysis will bring light on a shared common understanding of the question, and that we will then use that understanding to foment better quality of life. However, what we mean by quality of life can, and perhaps inevitably must, become a spiritual question. One part of the shared common understanding is that death cannot be eliminated, and most people might also agree that suffering cannot be eliminated. So, if death and suffering are the impediments to much of what we might call quality of life, how do we pursue their diminution? Here, religion and spiritual beliefs may be just as important as a scientific rational approach. Is there anything special about human quality of life, or are other non-human species equally or more important? Do we give primacy to animals, or to plants, or to microbes? Are quick young deaths better than later, prolonged deaths? Or is minimizing suffering at the end of life more important than prolonging it? How can we optimize the distribution of a resource to most improve quality of life? Is it more important to reach more people with a minimal increment, or a few people with a maximal increment improvement? How can we measure suffering, and how can we be sure we are reducing it, or maximizing that reduction? Interestingly and probably detrimental to the goal of maximizing well-being, the most common measures for quality of life are economic, under an assumption that more is better, especially with regards to production as in gross domestic product (GDP), Global Hunger Index (GHI), etc. (Gullone & Cummins 2012) and income (as in median income for a population or an individual’s personal income bracket). More capital is almost always assumed to link with higher quality of life. This leads to monetizing nature and assigning commodity value to ecosystem services. But human capital is rarely considered. And capital goods are most often reduced to their monetary equivalent with little regard to their intrinsic value—in other words an inventory of firearms is considered as equal to an inventory of tulips if they have the same dollar valuation. A call for the inclusion of a non-monetary, and even spiritual, component to the analysis of quality of life has been heard from the fringes of many scientific disciplines, including environmental economics and perhaps notably sustainability studies (Kenter 2016). As geographers interested in sustainability, we must move beyond some of the basic assumptions of economics and bring personal, social, community and spiritual measures to our valuation of quality of life, and thereby the inherent sustainability of a given resource or

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 3

20/04/2020 14:23

4  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability practice. A true quality of life framework for sustainability suggests that we should appraise the Nature Values to People (NVP) on the same level as Ecosystem Services (ES) to have a better grasp of well-being assessments (Díaz et al. 2015). Guevara and Frolich (2016) delve more deeply into an analysis of how well-being metrics should be measured and also tabularize many of the known GDP alternatives. Finally, the new effort of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is a global effort to formalize a more robust and inclusive approach to how well-being and quality of life are measured. Science fiction and popular culture also provide insights on problematic or unsustainable futures. In the recent set of Marvel Avengers Super-Hero “Infinity Wars” movies, the compellingly sympathetic villain, Thanos, has slaughtered half of the population on his home planet under the belief that this would allow utilization of the remaining resources to end suffering for those who survived. Now, he believes the same principle must be applied universe-wide. Lewis Thomas (1978) argued that life is surely the “toughest membrane in the universe” and we concur that we are naïve to be concerned about its ultimate lasting sustainability. In the end, Thanos is defeated, but to what end if the remaining resources of the universe are so scarce that the incursion of massive suffering is inevitable. And, by the same token, if life is ultimately impermeable to death, where, how and on what scale do we apply our lens of sustainability to strive for ever-increasing quality of life? And how do we dare define this, and its corollary, the diminution of suffering? Theory can only take us so far, and the scale of sustainability, the often hypocritical politics from both ends of the political spectrum that surround it, and the attempts to define sustainability in the spiritual realm, must frame our debate. But in the end, we are also compelled to take real decisions and real policy about the scalable world around us. The larger-scale questions might best serve to frame a rational analysis of the data, and to take informed decisions within a discipline of moderation. Let’s then look at some examples of how binary issues encountered in this Elgar Companion book, which can present initially as opposites, might help us arrive at moderation with regard to applying scaling of sustainability to geographic analyses.

THE SCALE OF CITIES: WHEN DOES RURAL BECOME URBAN? By any measure, the appearance of cities and the phenomenon of urbanization is paramount to the geography of sustainability. Even the most outlandish superlatives do not fully capture how impactful our transition to an urban species has been and will be. Furthermore, few other topics are more suitably rooted in the larger discipline of (environmental) geography, and more fruitfully analyzed through the lens of sustainability. Guevara and Frolich (Chapter 2) point to the need to identify binary thinking to assess the impacts of high-energy cities and impending urbanization fronts. As this young twenty-first century unfolds, humanity’s greatest evolutionary ­transition— the demographic–ecological shift from the farm to the city—will reach its culmination. More than half the world’s population already lives in an urban environment, and over the next 50 years, most of the other half will be joining us (Gu et al. 2019). These are times of dramatic evolutionary change for the species in a way that has not been seen before—more important than the great migrations out of Africa to inhabit all the ­continents, more

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 4

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability  5 important than the great leap into sedentary agricultural communities after millennia of nomadic hunting and gathering, more important than the initial transition to an industrial economy. The advantages of the urban environment are numerous. People desire a vibrant central district with cultural, banking and industrial infrastructure. Cities provide economies of scale, ease of provisioning for basic necessities, a concentration of human diversity and the fomentation of innovation through access to new technologies. At the same time, migration to the urban environment presents the risk of a decrease in quality of life, to levels of misery among economically poor segments of the population. The great challenge for the twenty-first century is to analyze the key elements of urban culture that promote higher quality of life, within the framework of an integral evolutionary ecology that includes the human being. The geography of sustainability is at the core of this analysis. In the modern urban areas of the world today, the problem of the confrontation between human beings and the “natural” world is solved with an approach where socio-economiccultural processes are recognized as part of the natural world, and where economic activities are seen as fundamentally ecological in nature—that in fact economies are nothing more than ecologies where energy can be represented as monetary currency (Vermeij, 1993). A realization of the paradigm of nature pristine is presented by Sarmiento (Chapter 1) analyzing the need of transdisciplinarity approaches to understanding mountains with the new integrative, crosscutting science of montology. He argues, following Nicolescu (2002) for a change of paradigm whereby we will manage the urban/rural dynamics by considering mountainscapes as socio-ecological production landscapes (SEPLS). Sarmiento points, as a leading example, to the International Program of the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) headquartered at the University of the United Nations’ Institute for Global Sustainability (UNU-IGES) in Japan while Dunbar and Ichikawa (Chapter 10) present this innovative collaborative program in detail. Conurbations, where amalgamated cities become megalopoli, and exurbations, where cities have expanded towards the wooded edges, blur the boundary between urban and rural, resulting in a new class of manufactured landscape: the “rurban,” where SEPLS are highlighted (Kendal & Raymond 2019). However, rurality is still manifest around the world, such as the Satoyama landscapes of Japan: these traditional environments call for a unique understanding of conservation within the framework of a sustainable geography (Subramanian et al. 2018). The effect of urbanization on the human species is all-encompassing. At every level—from individual to family to society to population to species—virtually all aspects of human life change in the urban sphere. A new concept, the Technosphere, complements the Biosphere in the Total Human Ecosystem concept (Naveh et al., 2002). Virtually every contribution to this volume on the geography of sustainability addresses, sometimes directly or sometimes peripherally, this greatest of all human transitions. Christoffel (Chapter 25) brings forth the tight “sister-discipline” relationship between geography and urban planning. He dismisses the term “urbanization” and rather sees cities as fundamental to human culture in today’s world. Cities are “smart” in and of themselves—an emergent intelligence. They illustrate a higher evolved form that is selfperpetuating and self-governing, a high-value and high-maintenance super-organism in the cityscape. Taylor (Chapter 20) calls for a fourth pillar of sustainability (after ecological, social and economic) which he labels cultural. In the social sciences, especially geography and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 5

20/04/2020 14:23

6  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability anthropology, the idea of culture has traditionally come from the study of pre-urban socalled indigenous cultures (Cosgrove & Jackson 1987). Ironically, even the ability to label something as “cultural” is an urban phenomenon, rooted in the notion of the appreciation of “culture and the arts.” Now, the term has come full-circle and includes the cultural contribution of city lifestyles—not only in terms of class-defined “cultural activities” like museums and theatres—but an urban culture that might include street-life, popular music, clothing fashion and more. This newly defined urban human culture affects who we are at every level, from the individual to the species to the new urban super-organism. For the geography of sustainability, urban culture and all that it encompasses must be a part of the analysis and the solutions that are proposed. Taylor defines the Historical Urban Landscape (HUL) as an essential part of sustainability analyses, where the cultural traditions that emerge from urban lifestyles are seen as a driving creative force for “poverty alleviation, gender and youth empowerment, and sustainable use and conservation of natural resources.” Zimmerman and Zimmerman-Janschitz (Chapter 8) call for the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology, on a global scale, with an emphasis on urban areas, to guide sustainability decision-making with regards to the geography of inclusion. They focus on equity for the disabled, or differentially abled, population, but their approach is quintessentially urban and applicable across the broad spectrum of our newly defined urban culture. GIS technology itself, inasmuch as it blankets our globe, making a “Google Earth” and mobile interactive mapping possible (Wood et al. 2007), required all the technological advantages and demands of an urban species to come into being. We then see how GIS technology and its derivative mapping allows for a distinctly wildland-based analysis of land cover around Glacier National Park by Resler et al. (Chapter 17) and long-term land use change in Costa Rica by Padgett-Vasquez (Chapter 22). Resler et al., despite their focus on a relatively remote pristine wilderness, still surrounded by rural lands, see significant urban effects, including loss of traditional farmland, “ex-urban” development, loss of impervious land cover and increased forest fragmentation. They conclude that the concept of “mountain protected area” must be challenged, based on the ubiquitous effect of cities. Finally, Borsdorf and Haller (Chapter 9) look at the particular challenges faced by mountain cities. They elegantly place the city within its natural geographic context, examining how tectonic activity and the orographic terrain impact urban life and its cultural components. They identify how the geography of mountains, which transcend political boundaries, interact with the lifestyle necessities of people living in mountain cities, which are political–social–cultural constructs, thereby merging the physical and cultural aspects of the geography of sustainability. However, Donoso-Correa and Sarmiento (Chapter 16) present an example from southern Ecuador where a case is made for better planning against smart growth and the recovery of elements of village lifestyle in a more harmonious farmscape dynamics.

THE SCALE OF NATURE: WHEN DOES PRISTINE BECOME HUMAN DOMINATED? The natural–human binary is only subtly distinct from the urban–rural spectrum. Increasingly, humans as a species are defined by the city construct, while the built

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 6

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability  7 e­ nvironment is frequently conflated with the urban environment, leaving rural/agricultural and natural/pristine as subsets or correlated concepts. At the same time, we can identify and utilize a binary that is based on the extent to which the human element is present in the landscape. Pristine wilderness, completely untouched by humans, may exist only on other worlds now. But we can certainly consider the extent to which the human presence, as distinct from non-human natural processes, might influence the geography of sustainability. The role of agricultural and rural geographies is particularly important in this context. Holdridge et al. (Chapter 15) focus on the importance of small-scale indigenous farming practices. They recognize that locally developed farming regimes, with a rich history, still have much to contribute to an increasingly globalized food distribution system. They point out the value of indigenous farming systems for their flexibility, their diversity and the fact they still feed a large part of the world’s population. González and Sarmiento (Chapter 23) add to this view with their analysis of how small farms using indigenous technologies and TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge) provide food security for the Andean region and serve as a “Noah’s Ark” for food crop diversity worldwide. In a provocative crosscutting fashion, Ibarra et al. (Chapter 24) propose a research agenda for complex foodscapes, making a special plea to protect the biocultural microrefugia as nodes of agrobiodiversity futures. The “human” end of this binary overlaps significantly with the “urban” end of the previous binary, as human culture becomes predominantly, or at least in its majority, an urban culture. Rozzi (Chapter 11) promotes biocultural landscapes as the appropriate way to integrate human and natural components of the ecosystem. He views humans as one more, if not very important, species that forms the landscape and proposes a philosophical and legal framework, ecosocial governance, ethical foundation and educational basis for this analysis. He proposes a “biocultural ethic” that incorporates his “3Hs”: Co-inHabitants, Life Habits and Habitats: To foster intercultural dialogues that incorporate both the biophysical and the cultural heterogeneity of the planet, we offer the perspective of the biocultural ethic. Its central concept relies on the vital links between (i) the well-being and identity of the co-inhabitants (humans and otherthan-humans), (ii) their life habits, and (iii) the habitats where they take place (Rozzi 2012a). This formal proposal of the “3Hs” (co-inhabitants, habits and habitats) offers a conceptual framework to analyze, from a biocultural viewpoint, the worldviews of cultures from different geographic regions, historical periods and/or socio-environmental contexts, and provides a methodological approach to undertake three tasks that contribute to favoring sustainable geographies. (Rozzi, Chapter 11, this volume)

Dudley (Chapter 14) seeks to ultimately define what “natural” means. He promotes moving beyond notions of “natural” as meaning devoid of human influence, to “authentic” ecosystems, which he defines as “a resilient ecosystem with the level of biodiversity and range of ecological interactions that would be predicted as a result of the combination of historic, geographic and climatic conditions in a particular location” (Dudley 2012). He considers to what extent integration with humans is “natural” and values the services that ecosystems provide. Müller (Chapter 13) sees stress from population growth and resource utilization as so extreme that “regenerative development” is called for, where environmental, social, political and cultural systems must be oriented not just towards sustaining, but regenerating from the losses that have already accumulated.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 7

20/04/2020 14:23

8  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The Galapagos Islands are presented as one of our great examples of where humans and nature have interacted and sometimes collided. Mena et al. (Chapter 21) appreciate how the islands evolved for millennia with no human presence, have been significantly impacted since the arrival of humans and their introduced species, continue to feel strong pressure from that impact, but also remain a great worldwide treasure for viewing pristine processes of evolution, while bringing that biological diversity to the cultural world through a well-developed tourism infrastructure. They conclude with a concern that “lack of understanding about how external pressures like tourism and economic development, population growth and increasing production of waste and pollution will affect key ecosystems now and into the future.”

THE SCALE OF PLACE: WHEN DOES LOCAL BECOME GLOBAL? For decades we’ve heard the slogan: “Think Globally, Act Locally.” But in an increasingly globalized world, instantaneous communication around the planet, and fast, efficient movement of people and goods can make the entire planet at times feel local, the so-called “glocal.” In fact, people increasingly have closer relationships in other cities and on other continents than with their neighbors. Furthermore, the mass, globalized provisioning of resources into urban cultural landscapes may actually be more resource efficient than a distributed, locally-based production model. Again, the scale is crucial since some resources or products may scale up into mass production and distribution more readily, more healthfully and more efficiently than others. One of the dangers of a capitalist model is when initial scale-up allows for market dominance, making it impossible for smaller-scale producers or distributors to compete, even though they may have a better, healthier and even ultimately more efficient product. Large-scale market players can even afford to lose profits until they eliminate competition. On the other hand, many sustainability advocates make the faulty assumption that small-scale is always better. Dwellings are probably most energy efficient in buildings that are six to 12 stories high (Ali & Moon 2007). Transportation and distribution infrastructure are also probably most efficient in densely populated areas, even when sourcing might be far from local. However, cities, on a global scale, also bring higher economic standards of living and overall increased consumption. The highest levels of energy use come about, anywhere in the world, when, after some number of generations of dense urban living, certain populations return to suburban, ex-urban and rural lifestyles for amenity migration (Gosnell & Abrams 2011). Proponents of these lifestyles might feel as if they are returning to a more locally-based and sustainable way of life, but, on a global scale, they become the highest users of resources. The well-developed urban data infrastructure also makes it much easier to collect massive amounts of quantitative data on the economic efficiency of resource distribution and capital/infrastructure development. However, purely economic analyses, as we’ve mentioned before, do not always arrive at the best solutions to improve quality of life or provide for long-term sustainability. Harden (Chapter 5) is especially sensitive to the need for multiple-scale analysis, and strongly promotes the role of transdisciplinary geographers: Geographers are uniquely equipped to study and understand the spatial relationships of actions that increase or decrease sustainability and that link local to global scales.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 8

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability  9 She draws three lessons from the analysis of scale: (1) that small actions can, in their multiplicity, have larger effects, both positive and negative; (2) that we can clean up our past mistakes and learn from trying to do this on a small scale and then amplifying it; and (3) changes in behavior are possible and can lead to massive-scale improvements in quality of life, as evidenced by the spread of xeriscaping, recycling and the use of LED light bulbs. Finally, Harden insists on the importance of feedback, on measuring the real effects of actions and then adjusting them. She insists on the keystone role that geographers can play in finding the linkages among scale when analyzing system feedback: To ensure that actions intended to increase sustainability are indeed having the desired outcomes, it is important to approach the quest for sustainability through multiple scales and with wellinformed understandings of those scales and how they are connected.

Norberg-Hodge (Chapter 6) makes a strong case for locally sustainable economic practices. Based on decades of experience in Ladakh, India, she believes that the rapid trend towards globalization has led to the loss of locally sustainable farming, ecosystems and cultural practices. She expands this experience into a critique of the dominance of globalized systems, and calls for a reversion to local economies, with detailed analysis of the multiple elements, including trade treaties, capital flows, banking practices, tax systems, indicators of well-being, land use regulations and health and safety regulations, that must be changed to favor local economic development. At the same time, Christoffel (Chapter 25) believes that planning for the built environment must cross the local to global spectrum, under the rubric of the geography of sustainability, arguing that the: framework for geography’s contributions from its broad base and role as a scientific integrator of knowledge in support of planning processes whose implementation by public and private governing bodies affects the built and natural environments. This challenge will soon be recognized as being so great that boundaries between disciplines, trades and skills, nations and peoples, will have to be crossed to solve the sustainability challenges. Planning, informed by greater science and real-world experience, will have to network even more broadly, becoming more comprehensive, so implementation will be more effective at all levels and in all circumstances. The deepest, most basic community motive can be brought forth at a greater level for action, as individuals and groups understand the need of human civilization for sustainability long term. This is the level of understanding this volume supports. The future of geography is sustainability.

THE SCALING OF TEMPERATURE: WHEN DOES WEATHER BECOME CLIMATE? This binary, from local weather conditions that change from minute to minute to longterm modeling of the global climate, has, obviously, been the focus of an immense research and analysis effort (Pachauri et al., 2014), far beyond the scope of this volume. However, it is worthwhile pointing out that the discipline of geography incorporates virtually all of the kinds of sub-analyses that should be, but are perhaps not always, included in climate models. Not only are physical processes important, but cultural, social, demographic, and economic processes may well affect the ultimate outcome of a climate model. Young (Chapter 7) makes a case for how the climate framework is biased by a Global North

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 9

20/04/2020 14:23

10  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability perspective and calls for the inclusion of Global South views. An important contribution of this volume is that the meteorological climate changing is but one of the climates that have affected farmscapes and cityscapes alike. Mostly in the developing world, there are other climates that have had and continue to have deleterious environmental effects, such as religious climates, political climates, investment climates, armament racing climates. Again, whereas this volume does not even begin to pierce into this topic, we believe it is worthwhile to call for a comprehensive, physical–cultural geographic approach to the multiple temporal and spatial scales of climate change.

THE SCALING OF DEATH: HOW MANY MUST DIE TO CALL IT EXTINCTION? This binary has also been the subject of decades-long interdisciplinary research programs that include not only a comparison with the historical fossil record, but the short- and long-term monitoring of populations and theoretical modeling of everything from what a species is, to how phylogenetic trees should be constructed, to the rate of genetic change, clade dynamics, and more (Edie et al., 2018). The impact of human landscape alteration and a globalized transport system that now routinely carries species across and between continents adds to the complexity of this topic. Cheddadi and the Vulpes project (Chapter 4) discuss the paleoecology of extinction and how it might inform our understanding of the geography of sustainability. With the idea of preventing mass extinctions, the nuanced articulation of Harmon (Chapter 12) calls for underlining the importance of protected areas, such as national parks and equivalent reserves, and their role in preserving elements of the ecosystem that have been placed under stress through the pressures of urban development. He posits that there are geographies of commitment that need to be incorporated in the decision-making towards sustainable futures.

THE SCALING OF THE SACRED: WHEN DOES SPIRITUALITY BECOME RELIGION? In the discussion of spirituality as manifested from the cryptosystem of cultural values, the incorporation of indigenous points of view are highlighted by Stadel (Chapter 18), who argues in favor of listening to the murmur of the tropical mountains and the claims of Andean people in order to better define sustainability scenarios. He presents specific adaptations to climate change and highlights the resilience of the ecosystem to withstand the impact of changing precipitation patterns and changing temperatures. TEK is seen as a way to incorporate non-traditional actors in the debate around sustainability scenarios. The role of spirituality and religion in the geography of sustainability must be framed from a local perspective. Boillat (Chapter 19) introduces the ontology of place in the context of indigenous wisdom. He formulates conditions for assessing how perceptions of change in the environmental space and place are affected by the spiritual milieu. Indigenous ecological knowledge (IEK) applied to the consideration of animistic mythology can be mixed with Catholic (Western) dogma and the indigenous approach to managing conflict, leading to the development of syncretic landscapes. He concludes that

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 10

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability  11 considering the “plurality of place concepts and place making processes in sustainability research can play a crucial role in understanding and bridging systems of knowledge and values.” Syncretism of religions has helped to mold unique identity markers that fuse the binary terminus into a continuum of shared values, generally based on respect for Mother Earth (Pachamama), accentuation of the reciprocity of community members (Ayni) and the possibilities to envision the “good living” or Buen Vivir (Sumak kawsay) that have made the Andean lifescape (Guevara and Frolich, 2016).

CONCLUSION We are glad that the reader has entertained the concepts presented in this introduction, so as to avoid a fatalistic outlook on sustainability. We wish to emphasize that the randomized occurrences of natural processes can provide a frame of understanding for the actual cultural responses of society resulting in an ever-changing mindscape. Navigating this topography necessitates a clear sense of scale and an appreciation for the potential of scaling up or down in reference to sustainability issues in geography (Sarmiento & Frolich, 2012). As geographers interested in questions of sustainability, we must employ our daily currency of analysis: the temporal and spatial scale. In so doing we wield a powerful tool for arriving at rational useful and applicable approaches to what can seem to be intractable problems of space/time pulses. Choosing the appropriate scale of reference, however, carries its own set of potential pitfalls. First, we must be aware that at the extremes of scale, sustainability has no meaning. If we delve out to the supra-telescopic infinities of the universe, or inwards to the submicroscopic infinitesimals, we can only arrive at the conclusion that everything, or if you like nothing, is sustainable. At these extreme scales, time and space lose their tangible meaning and we are left with larger questions in the scientific domain of cosmology and quantum mechanics or in the spiritual domain of where, how and why all this that surrounds us is possible. But we mustn’t neglect this larger framework for the value it holds in providing perspective on the realizable and understandable scales within which we contemplate what is sustainable, how it can be sustained and why it should be sustained. The other major pitfall we encounter is a tendency towards political polarization around sustainability questions. Here, allegiance to a particular brand of politics can lead even academic practitioners to hypocritical and contradictory policies and conclusions. Whereas those on the left-leaning progressive side of politics tend to promote change and adoption of new technologies to help solve problems while incorporating diverse cultural approaches, they also believe that conservation of so-called (and probably non-existent) “wildland” areas is central to sustainability. Meanwhile those on the right-leaning conservative side of politics tend to promote economic growth even at the cost of sensitive ecological environments but negate the value of many new and alternative technologies, especially in the energy sector, which at some level is the basis for all economic growth. Our hope is that this Companion book to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability can provide some helpful perspectives on the scale of sustainability problems as they relate to particular aspects of the physical and cultural world. We know that our

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 11

20/04/2020 14:23

12  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability selection of topics may be iconoclastic and we by no means intend to be comprehensive. However, we believe this small effort will provide some insight to a few fascinating scalerelated problems in the geography of sustainability. Questions such as how we are going to adapt, as a species, to the massive scale of worldwide urbanization, how we are going to find a balance between local and global economics, at what scale we address tenacious problems such as weather and climate change, the extinction of species and changes in cultural practice all require the kind of appropriate scale-based solutions and policies that we as geographers provide. Finally, we believe the transdisciplinary nature of the scale-based geographical approach has much to offer to the analysis of sustainability issues. Geography, with its emphasis on spaces and “–scapes,” stands at the threshold of every discipline—neither science nor humanity, neither art nor engineering, geography embraces all (Sarmiento & Frolich, 2012). This volume includes engineers and architects, environmental scientists, social justice proponents and many cross-disciplinary workers of all kinds, not to mention the geographers themselves. The trope of the different geographies, to incorporate hybrid approaches of the physical and the cultural under one comfortable canopy where people in their dendritic spaces perform the rhizomic function of planetary well-being, brings a powerful set of comprehensive tools to the study of sustainability issues. Sustainability, transdisciplinary approaches, and geography at large, will be tallied against the measure of a satisfying, fulfilling lifestyle and the diminution of suffering. Our greatest hope is that this small contribution might, for our readers, their future efforts and the people they might touch, be a small step in this direction.

REFERENCES Ali, M.M., & Moon, K.S. 2007. Structural developments in tall buildings: Current trends and future prospects. Architectural Science Review 50(3): 205–223. Avelino, F., Grin, J., Pel, B., & Jhagroe, S. 2016. The politics of sustainability transitions. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 18(5): 557–567. Cosgrove, D., & Jackson, P. 1987. New directions in cultural geography. Area: 95–101. Díaz, S., Demissew, S., Carabias, J., Joly, C., Lonsdale, M., Ash, N., . . . & Bartuska, A. 2015. The IPBES Conceptual Framework—connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14: 1–16. Dudley, N. 2012. Authenticity in nature: Making choices about the naturalness of ecosystems. London: Routledge. Edie, S.M., Huang, S., Collins, K.S., Roy, K., & Jablonski, D. 2018. Loss of biodiversity dimensions through shifting climates and ancient mass extinctions. Integrative and Comparative Biology 58(6), 1179–1190. Feynman, R.P., Leighton, R.B., & Sands, M. 2011. The Feynman lectures on physics, Vol. I: The new millennium edition: mainly mechanics, radiation, and heat. New York: Basic Books. Gosnell, H., & Abrams, J. 2011. Amenity migration: Diverse conceptualizations of drivers, socioeconomic dimensions, and emerging challenges. GeoJournal 76(4): 303–322. Guevara, E., & Frolich, L.M. 2016, El Buen Vivir and “The Good Life”: A South–North binary perspective on the indigenous, the sacred, and their conservation. Chapter 3. In: Sarmiento, F. & S. Hitchner (eds), Indigeneity and the sacred: Indigenous revival and the conservation of sacred natural sites in the Americas. New York: Berghahn Books. Gullone, E., & Cummins, R. (eds). 2012. The universality of subjective wellbeing indicators: A multi-disciplinary and multi-national perspective (Vol. 16). Berlin: Springer Science and Business Media. Kendal, D., & Raymond, C.M. 2019. Understanding pathways to shifting people’s values over time in the context of social–ecological systems. Sustainability Science 14(5): 1333–1342. Kenter, J.O. 2016. Shared, plural and cultural values. Ecosystem Services 21: 175–183. Miller, C.A. 2005. New civic epistemologies of quantification: Making sense of indicators of local and global sustainability. Science, Technology, and Human Values 30(3): 403–432.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 12

20/04/2020 14:23

Introduction: the scale of sustainability  13 NASA. 2019. National Aeronautic and Space Administration website. webb/main/index.html (accessed March 28, 2019). Naveh, Z., Lieberman, A., Sarmiento, F.O., & Ghersa, C. 2002. Ecología de Paisajes. Teoría y Aplicación. Edición de estudiantes. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, EUDEBA. Nicolescu, B. 2002. Manifesto of transdisciplinarity. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. NSF/NRAO. 2019. National Radio Astronomy Observatory website. (accessed March 28, 2019). Pachauri, R.K., Allen, M.R., Barros, V.R., Broome, J., Cramer, W., Christ, R., . . . & Dubash, N.K. 2014. Climate change 2014: synthesis report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Geneva: IPCC. Sarmiento, F., & Frolich, L. 2012. From mindscapes to worldscapes: Navigating the ever-changing topography of sustainability. Journal of Sustainability Education (3): 1–3. Subramanian, S.M., Yiu, E., Leimona, B., Villanueva, A.B., Díaz-Varela, E.R., Chao, J-T. . . . Dasgupta, R. 2018. Enhancing effective area-based conservation through the sustainable use of biodiversity in socioecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS). Satoyama Review 4(1): 1–13. Thomas, L. 1978. The lives of a cell: Notes of a biology watcher. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Vermeij, G.J., 1993. Evolution and escalation: An ecological history of life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Wood, J., Dykes, J., Slingsby, A., & Clarke, K. 2007. Interactive visual exploration of a large spatio-temporal dataset: Reflections on a geovisualization mashup. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 13(6), 1176–1183.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 13

20/04/2020 14:23


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 14

20/04/2020 14:23

1.  Packing transdisciplinary critical geography amidst sustainability of mountainscapes Fausto O. Sarmiento

INTRODUCTION This Elgar Companion book seeks to frame sustainability as an exemplar of transdisciplinary science informing critical geography while improving future scenarios for the world communities that are debating prospective fates between the rich North and the poor South, the modern urban and the backwards rural, and everything in between. Through the following pages the reader will find unorthodox views about sustainable development and sustainability science, challenging dialectics and incorporating alternative propositions for defining sustainability as the maintenance, improvement or regeneration of living conditions in the planet for both human and more-than-human constituents (Gibbes et al. 2018). The use of mountain studies exemplifies the new narrative of integrative, holistic approaches for geoliteracy about mountainscapes and will serve to motivate further research in the field of transdisciplinary mountain science. Earlier calls for transdisciplinary approaches to understanding landscapes were made by Naveh and Liebermann (1984) who viewed landscape ecology as a transdisciplinary, ecosystem-education approach, based on general system theory, cybernetics and ecosystemology as a branch of the total human ecosystem science. Yet, despite the more comprehensive planning angle exhibited in Europe contrasting to the more geospatialbased landscape ecology of North America (Forman & Godron 1984), the notion of transdisciplinary science still retained the character of positivistic Western Ecological Knowledge (WEK). It was not until 1992 with the development geographies of the Global South approach to Political Ecology that transdisciplinarity became a paradigm to understanding nature and culture from a Latin American perspective (Naveh et al. 2002) and from the critical move to activate interdisciplinary studies and multidisciplinary studies favoring the integration of alternative epistemologies (Lang et al. 2012). “Mountains” as an exemplar of the challenge of packing sustainability from frameworks of development geographies, area studies and biogeography of socio-ecological systems (SES) add to a decadal effort from a plethora of mountain scholars of inserting a recognizable goal of a new transdisciplinary field, montology (Mahat and Boom 2008). The reason for this contemporary framing of sustainability is the impetus that new paradigms to understand human–environmental relations from several perspectives at the same time (Dunlap and Van Liere 1978; Dunlap et al. 2000; Boillat, Chapter 19, this volume) bring to post-phenomenological landscape studies in the geographies’ frontier of decolonial theories and hybrid narratives. Recently, the search for integrative approaches to the understanding of Complex Adaptive Systems (CASs) and the long-term stewardship of mountain ecosystems as SESs has led to a renewed focus in “montology” (Haslett 1998). Thus, the evolving theoretical and practical applications of critical geography 15

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 15

20/04/2020 14:23

16  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability require a fresh effort, echoing from its initial postulation in 1977 to develop the discipline of mountain studies from a new angle towards sustainability (Allan n.d.). The integrative bridging of science and humanities via transdisciplinary approaches is now perceived as necessary to understand even the most complex of issues and grandest challenges of the present day (Baer & Singer 2014). This chapter peruses an onomastic context to reflect lexicographic domains­—not easily translated into English—to help comprehend unorthodox geographic traditions of sense of place. In so doing, this chapter shows how the transdisciplinary approach of montology challenges geographic realism and informs the complete SES dimension of sustainable mountainscapes.

HISTORICITY Unlike past disciplinary trends in geography’s subfields, and due to increasingly available sources of information, funding and academic training at present, most scholars interested in mountain issues find themselves now navigating a labyrinthine circuitry of environmental cognition, mostly guided by reductionist premises and positivistic methodologies for field research, theoretical dogmas and applied technologies for mountain terrains (Price 2015). These scholars have found themselves locked in binary silos that brand them as either “physical geographers” or “human geographers.” However, with the realization by ecologists and social scientists alike that geography is the environmental science par excellence (Wulf 2015a), more professional geographers have, indeed, internalized notions that navigating the CAS of mountains must be done along the spectrum of the two disciplinary poles, allowing for integrative, comprehensive and critical views of sustainability (Wilcock and Brierley 2012) of the space/time compression of the present (Massey 1999) in contrast with the static, descriptive views of mountain geography of the past (Wulf 2015b). Sustainability science and landscape ecology theorists called this “cross-disciplinarity” (Wu 2006). Being more than inter- or multidisciplinary (Annan-Diab and Molinari 2017), modern assessments of SESs require transdisciplinarity when considering research priorities of sustainability (Wu & Hobbs 2002); this approach is something that Jack D. Ives has long suggested as “montology” to advocate for mountain cognition (Mainali and Sicroff 2016). According to Mahat and Boom (2008), conceptualizing disciplinary fragmentation in mountain research and development indicated that: The term montology has been used in oral communication and in print many times over the past twenty-five years. According to Jack Ives, the term was first informally introduced by Frank Davidson in 1974 in Munich, Germany, at the same conference in which the journal Mountain Research and Development (MRD) and a future International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) were envisioned (Jack Ives in personal communication with Robert E. Rhoades). The Munich conference proceedings reported: “just as oceanography has spawned a number of major and minor institutions concerned with the protection and development of ocean resources, so mountainology, once its importance and implications are realized, will lead to a proliferation of institutional responses” (GTZ, 1974: 186). In subsequent discussion between Frank Davidson and Jack Ives, the term mountainology was dropped in favor of montology.

Notwithstanding the lexicographic difficulty with the call for montology in 1974, the “Club of Munich” persisted in the effort, which became stronger with the addition of

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 16

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  17 American scholars such as Paul Baker, Ben Orlove, Steve Brush and Colin Rosser, and the consolidation of the International Mountain Society (IMS) and its journal MRD (Ives 2005). It is because of this momentum that in the Cambridge Mountain Conference of 1977, the myriad sources of information on mountains evidenced the need for transdisciplinary approaches. The conference proceedings, compiled in 1982 by Susanne Fairclough, records: At the Cambridge Mountain Conference in 1977, participants discussed the creation of a discipline for the study of mountains, as has been accorded to oceans, and gave it the name of montology, to denote an active, protective emphasis (Allan n.d.).

The term montology was included in the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary in 2002, generating debate between those that saw it as jargon or unnecessary, and those that claimed disciplinary identity with the exclusive moniker. Because of the ambivalence towards montology in the mountain scientific community, a call to move “mountains” up in the global environmental agenda was formalized (Bandyopadhyay and Perveen 2004), which prompted Rhoades (2007) to state the need for more discussion on whether mountain scholars and practitioners needed a field of their own. The application of transdisciplinary science started with Piaget (1972) and became standard in modern academia (Hadorn et al. 2008), with the popularity of this approach reflected mainly in three substantive gains: (a) holistic health science and medicinal issues (Klein 2008); (b) the bridging of disciplines (Veteto 2009); and (c) the need for integration (Nanshan 1998). Not only the recognition of mountainscapes as CASs, but also the realization that those mountainscapes were actually SESs propelled scholarship towards seeking explanatory research for emergent properties of mountain sustainability (Polk 2014), including their diversity, memory, openness, synergy, uncertainty and resilience, particularly amidst global environmental transformation, including climate change research (Xishi and Yuanchang 1996). These efforts towards mountain studies have coalesced now in the Feldafing Accord of 2010, prompting universities and governments to create research institutions for mountain research among countries of Asia and the European Alps. These trends have repercussions in what Sarmiento (in press) calls “the Montology Manifesto,” calling for action to transgress academic silos, affording mountain research not only to the established research centers, but welcoming unorthodox institutions, foundations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community driven mountain work both in the sciences and the arts.

TRANSGRESSIVITY A decade later, the cross-disciplinary imperative became a tour-de-force, as the need to better define Mountain Geography was overt. Thus, several attempts to develop a comprehensive textbook for mountains, whether in alpine geography, ecology, geomorphology or forestry, existed. Recent productions of integrative approaches given by Price et al. (2013) incentivize the intersection of the physical environment with the human dimensions (Sarmiento 2015). Highly respected mountain scholars have also incorporated Ives’s montological vision, including Axel Borsdorf, Christoph Stadel, Yuri Badenkov, Robert Rhoades and Larry Hamilton (Ives et al. 2016). Here, I use the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 17

20/04/2020 14:23

18  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability


So ph ol

y ac


it e

lit eo

ra cy




Ecoliteracy Figure 1.1 Interacting transgressivity among the realms of critical thinking geo-/eco-driven onomastics of Mountain Specificities (sensu Jodha 2003) to describe the disciplinary transgression and referenciality (Westphal 2011; Tally and Battista 2016) by using foreign words that lack direct English translation, in a review of critical physical geography (see Figure 1.1) of the three dimensions needed to truly contest the theme by rethinking Mountain cognition (sensu Tadaki 2017) by being: 1.  Critical in or geoliterate, in the physical biogeographic mountain setting, encompassing descriptive, meristic variables; 2.  Critical of or ecoliterate, in the socio-ecological mountain production system, including analytical, non-meristic variables; and 3.  Critical through or sopholiterate, in the mental mountain imaginaries, encircling mythological, ethical and morality variables. This new epistemology seeks to radicalize geoscience (sensu Castree 2017) with linguistic artifacts conveying ideas without a readily translatable English word, so that the reader is forced to use whole sentences (instead of single terms, as a way to integrate disparate concepts from several subjects) to execute transgression towards mountain cognition (Prieto 2011) to sustainability. Examples of those untranslatable terms include Arabic (barzahk), Portuguese (saudade), Sanskrit (kharma), Spanish (arraigo), French (terroir), and German (Gemütlichkeit) languages. I invite anglophone readers to try and think about unfamiliar terms, to realize the move to geocritical acceptance of montology as a foreign word, and to get on track with its customary use by mainstream researchers. Indeed, as geocriticism becomes the tool of choice for understanding environmental literature (Prieto 2016), the accent placed on fuzzy boundaries of science and humanities

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 18

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  19 become notable, making geoliteracy more relevant than ecoliteracy when confronting research questions dealing with the hybrids of science and humanities, because ecoliterate points to the “nature only” shrewdness of the biological landscape, while geoliterate points to “nature/culture linkages” sagacity of the biocultural landscape. In-depth understanding of “Mountain Research” reflects a tendency to shift from the archaic term orology (Greek etymology for mountain and knowledge) to the postmodern term montology, (mixed Latin and Greek etymology for mountain discourse) posing a trend to incorporate more-than-human elements and spiritual dimensions in understanding those mountainscapes as SESs. Even specialized bibliographies on mountain geography (e.g., Resler & Sarmiento 2016) are inclusive of this new trend of multifunctional approaches for complex adaptive systems (CASs) with holistic premises and postmodern and poststructuralist methodologies for mountain cognition (Sarmiento et al. 2017). Earlier pundits of the term criticized this etymological mixing, without realizing that many scientific disciplines mix Latin and Greek roots, including mineralogy, inscriptology, phraseology and oceanology (Yuanchang 1986). New integrative research includes not only multidisciplinary (sensu lato) or interdisciplinary (sensu lato), but transdisciplinary teams (sensu stricto) that allow a crosscutting of collectives of researchers and practitioners to understand farmscape transformation for agrobiodiversity (Zimmerer et al. 2017) or the risk of glacier retreat and climate change adaptation for resiliency and risk assessment (Carey 2010). As of late, funding agencies have prioritized transdisciplinary teams for successful proposals. An example is the creation of groups that take such an approach in American universities with NSF funding: TARN (Transdisciplinary Andean Research Network) funded by NSF as a Collaborative Research Network (Polk et al. 2017) or the SENTINELS group for mountain observatories (, MtnSEON (Mountain Social Ecological Observatory Network ( and the NMC (Neotropical Montology Collaboratory ( Another international example is the project VULPES (Vulnerability of Populations Under Extreme Scenarios) funded by the Belmont Forum (https://www.belmontforum. org) for global research on mountains and climate change applications, dealing with microrefugia conservation research into mountain forests’ paleodynamics and current ecological trends in several selected sites around the world (https://vulpesproject. (Cheddadi et al. 2017). Further indication of this vogue in favor of montology is the policy implemented by the German International Cooperation for Development (GTZ) to only fund development projects if they observe transdisciplinary tenets. Academically, the effort is invigorated by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies in Sustainability (UNU-IAS) running, from UNU headquarters in Japan, a successful International Program of the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) of productive landscapes and seascapes ( Another important contribution comes from sustainability science researchers who have identified the transdisciplinary basis of montology (Lang et al. 2012). In the City of Science, near Tokyo, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) chair on Nature–Culture Linkages keeps many scholars at Tsukuba University busy researching biocultural heritage ( that contributes to training students in a Master’s program on Mountains. A key move in favor of montology came from MRD, the journal Mountain Research and Development, which

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 19

20/04/2020 14:23

20  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability adopted a guide to incorporating articles dealing with mountain knowledge generation, application and sharing, with clear reference for inclusion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), soft and hard science, to understand the Global North–Global South dynamics of mountain sustainable development. Coincidentally, MRD was founded and edited by Jack D. Ives and published by the IMS until 2000, when the new open journal became available online edited by Hans Hurni at the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern. At present, Thomas Breu (U Bern) and David Molden (ICIMOD) are editors-in-chief, working with associated editors Anne Zimmermann, Susanne Wyman von Dach and Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel, at the Center for Development and Environment at the University of Bern. By that time, AAAR, the Journal of Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research was also produced to publish work done at the polar and mountain regions, from an interdisciplinary perspective, produced by INSTAAR at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in the United States of America. Renewed and more fertile publication of mountain research is now presented by the Elsevier/Chinese Academy of Science collaboration in producing JMS, the Journal of Mountain Science, with a cadre of illustrious mountain scientists acting as part of its international editorial board, coordinated by Professor Dunlian Qiu of the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment in Chengdu, China. Of note is the improved production of Pirineos, the oldest published outlet, as the Journal of Mountain Ecology, published by the National Council of Science and Technology of Spain, under the editorial oversight of the Pirenaic Institute of Ecology in Jaca, where editors Teodoro Lasanta-Martinez and María Estela Nadal-Romero imprinted an effective outreach for online publishing, particularly emphasizing Alpine and Ibero-American authorship. Similarly, the continuation of editorial leadership of JAR on mountain research with the highly regarded Revue de Géographie Alpine/Journal of Alpine Research produced by the Institute of Alpine Research and other research centers of the University of Grenoble, France.

MOUNTAINS, TRANSDISCIPLINARY SUBJECTS With the advent of critical social theory and postmodernism, scientific disciplines that followed strict frameworks of quantitative descriptive phenomena of dialectics in the hypothesis-testing procedures have found the need to incorporate qualitative, analytic phenomena of trialectics that require a different mindset, and concomitant different tools and protocols, such as onomastics and term causation, political ecology explanatory tropes and critical biocultural heritage paradigms (Sarmiento 2016a). Thus, in order to understand mountain theory from either side of the scientific divide, whether following Cartesian determinism or Spinozan relativism, the need for a transdisciplinary field for mountain studies is evident for sustainability applications (Painter 2008; Hansson 2012). Following Gregory (1994), this “cartographic anxiety” created by linkages of nature/­culture defiant against truism urges the epistemology of geoliteracy (critical- in), ecoliteracy (critical- of) and sopholiteracy (critical- through). Thus, montology becomes a tour-de-force in current thinking and practical applications of mountain research, particularly in the Global South, where the majority of humanity practices non-Western thought and speaks languages other than English. Translation of whole ideas into a single word will help to cleave geographic referents of mountains.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 20

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  21

MASINTIN (or dynamic resonance)


ANDEANITUDE Subducted and inferred from mental imaginaries


a Am

ll ki

ANDEANESS Induced and conceived from socio-cultural attributes

AYNI Reciprocity





ANDEANITY Measurable and quantifiable physical attributes

Ama llulla

passive Character

YANANTIN (or complementary dualism)


Figure 1.2  The Sarmiento trilemma for Andean identity The Arabic term al-barzahk describes a condition for the Islamic world, what Catholics interpret as “purgatory” in Western thinking. However, it goes much further in describing the fuzzy line that separates two adjacent fields that are often hard to separate. For instance, the line that separates life from death, light from darkness, or the line that separates the present from the past, or even the separation of the seen and the imagined, some even suggest that separates what constitutes the realm of humans and of gods. This is precisely what montology does in helping to understand the trifecta of mountain ecosystems, by helping to form a complete picture of the mountainscape. Using the example of the Andes, for instance, mountains can be (de)ducted from what it seems, and can be touched and measured (or Andeanity). They can be (in)ducted from what it appears and can be conceived and planned (or Andeaness). Also, they can be (sub) ducted from what it means and can be revealed and imagined (or Andeanitude). The Sarmiento trilemma has now been applied to explain Andean identity and the forces that move effective mountain conservation (Sarmiento 2016b) based on the reciprocity concept of the Andean lifescape (or Ayni). The Sarmiento trilemma for Andean identity can be applied to find the essence of place in other mountain systems, by incorporating the so-called deep ecology consideration of landscape dynamics; hence, you may think of Alpeaness, Appalachianity, or Himalitude when you are searching for the hidden mental framework of the Alps, the physical spatialities of the Appalachians or the sacred and spiritual markers of the Himalayas (see Figure 1.2).

GEOCRITICAL MONTOLOGY LONGED FOR Despite having mountains present in the scenery of major urban centers, the meaning of mountain livelihood is diminished due to municipal facilities and infrastructure that

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 21

20/04/2020 14:23

22  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability allow for easy connectivity, short travel time, flat terrain or central locations for city businesses or harbors to export to the global society, mostly associated with the lowlands and deltas (Messerli and Ives 1999). In the past, however, mountain civilizations developed their core areas in isolated, often forgotten valleys, where they remained in the backwardness of the edge, the marginal space where they evolved in unique groups and hegemonic empires. The endemicity generated by this geographical isolation produced a subspeciation of groups with different cultures, languages, creeds and available resource uses in the creation of mountain myths (Sarmiento 1987; Lewis and Wigen 1997; Zimmerer et al. 2017). It is here that the Portuguese term saudade comes into place, as something that is longed for without proper realization. Most citizens, including the suburbanites and exurbanites of amenity migration areas worldwide, have shown a trend to incorporate the “mountain specificity” needed to survive in the faraway port cities or megalopolises. This longing for the mountain is evident in the manifestation of second-home development or summer home retreats of the expatriates around the world, particularly in the tropical mountains (Moss 2006). The metageography of mountains as part of the identity of “the Self ” makes a mountaineer easily identifiable as “the Other.” As the old Irish saying goes: “You can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can never take the mountains out of the girl”; montology allows putting personalized perspectives in the deeply ingrained notion of mountain lifescapes, often politicized and appropriated by contested political ecologies (Ives and Messerli 1989; Debarbieux 2008; and Chapter 3, this volume). In the current globalization race, mountains provide the much needed brake not only to the monotonous flat topography, but enhance landscape quality by providing strategic landscape services, including fresh water, fresh air, ample vistas, resource potential, wildlife refuge, spiritual fulfillment, theophanies and epiphanies, sanctuaries for ancient practices, national pride, historical memory, tourism and recreation, and more intangibles worth protecting as biocultural heritage for the sustainable future (Termorshuizen and Opdam 2009). Therefore, it is in the appreciation of many literary texts and its diffusion through the world’s cultures that montology gets a grip on this integrative effort of geoliteracy (Tally and Battista 2016).

TRANSGRESSIVITY OF MOUNTAIN LORE The cross-disciplinarity of the sciences and the humanities has flourished recently with the inclusion of scholarly trends to fuse geopoetics, history, religion and other non-science fields as proxies to understand the reality of modern landscapes towards sustainability. Going beyond the confines of the discipline has helped to transgress fields. This recognition is now fueling the training of future scientists as part of STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and medicine) to complete the biased STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Hybrid teams are becoming popular across North American campuses, just as collaborative multiversities are now replacing the individualistic universities in the Global South. With the first book on geocriticism, which appeared in French in 2007, and its English translation (Westphal 2011), the term transgressivity took hold in many social science writings on the need to break down borders, debunk stereotypes and open frontiers

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 22

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  23 to mesh the sciences and the humanities, even the physical sciences with the social sciences themselves. On the other hand, the transdisciplinary spatial turn is highlighted for the complex urban–rural edges (Soja 1996) and particularly in the integration of multimethods research to inform the challenge of framing shifting mosaics of mountain environments (Zimmerer 1994). However, in order to effectively integrate knowledge, the sequence of events has to exhibit an organized order or self-organizing trend, typical of the so-called Gestalt systems (Naveh et al. 2002). In Gestaltism, there are different factors that have to work together to create order out of chaos, among them: Emergence of the whole before the parts; Reification of objects with imaginary to fill the gaps; Multi-stability by having alternative pathways seeking to avoid uncertainty; and Invariance by locking patterns to fast recognition. Montology allows the integration of scientific methods and traditional wisdom to follow the Gestalt principles of spatial arrangement (á la Bradley 2014), including the laws of simplicity; of closure, of symmetry oriented to a central place; of figure/ground contrasting elements; of uniformity and connectedness; of common regions, proximity, continuation; of synchrony or common fate, parallelism, similarity; of focal points or locus; and of past experiences towards landscape memory. Going back to ancestral practices of the Hindu river civilizations, and followed by those of Hinduism and Buddhism affiliation, the cumulative actions of the Self propel the individual towards higher and more complex levels of integration. The Kharmic sense of spiritual account towards improvement of soul and body reinforces the needs of the new transdisciplinary science of montology to achieve higher organization and complexity to truly understand sustainable mountainscapes (Sarmiento and Hitchner 2017). An important account of a lifetime effort is given in Ives (2013).

THE REFERENTIALITY OF MOUNTAINOUS ENVIRONMENTS In the recognition that mountains, by definition, are heterotopic spaces, it follows that anthropogenic landscapes are what we could consider literary palimpsests, often with bioengineered modification by ancient practices that have been sustained by ritual, force or conviction, that prompt us to read our version of the landscape from a paradigmatic narrative. Debarbieux and Rudaz (2015) have pointed to the realization that historicity and political maneuvers have created the idea that we have about mountains, which becomes clear in the confusion of biologists and ecologists when tabulating diversity of neotropical forests that “look” pristine (realized mountainscape), but in reality are hidden SESs and CADs (fundamental mountainscape). These interventions have since millennia constructed anthromes that mountain folk deeply respect and care for (Scheiber and Zedeño 2015). An example from the Andes brings the Spanish term arraigo as reference for the love of the land, not only in the territoriality of their construction, but also in the imaginary and representation of ancestry, identity, even nationality. As Borsdorf and Stadel (2016) show in their Andean portrait, the people of the highlands exhibit a highlighted trait of deep arraigo. However, the term is more than just rootedness of a person in the area of residence; they are intrinsically linked to the essence of land in space and time. This linkage requires recognition of the social belonging to a place made by intimate relationships with the various elements of the mountainscape. In the Kichwa

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 23

20/04/2020 14:23

24  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability language or runashimi, the word pachamama describes not only the land and its products, but also the tenderness of rearing as part of the communal effort, where reciprocity or ayni is manifested as the engine of social cohesion of different mountain groups or ayllu, and gratitude is acknowledged with payments and offerings or “pagamentos” to the land linked in space, with the three commandments for Inka wellbeing or sumak kawsay, when they are balanced within the trilemma: Do not steal (ama sua), do not lie (ama llulla) and do not be lazy (ama killa) (see Figure 1.2). They are also intimately linked with the landscape in time, as they train the young in the labor of the land, but also respect the old by providing them a hierarchical place of power with elders often running decision-making in small citadels or Llakta. The links in time go back several generations, as it is common for them to bury the dead underneath the floors inside their houses, mimicking the ancestral practice of mummifying the dead. Having this intimate relationship with the land makes “arraigo” one of their most cherished values (Sarmiento 2012). Conversely, one of the worst punishments in the Andes is to take the person away from his/her homeland. Extirpated prisoners of war or mitima were often forced to colonize faraway lands during the Inka territorial expansion. Even at present, Andean communities’ first and foremost political platform is land ownership, communal territories titling, and water rights associated with their cherished homeland or manta.

HUMAN IMPACTS ON MOUNTAIN SERVICES Montology is now proposed as the transdisciplinary venue to understand mountain science, as it was first observed by the father of ecology in the 1800s. Humboldt was inspired in the realization of using pragmatism and positivist research within romanticism and qualitative idealization of the territory in mountain areas to recreate natural history. Such a distinctive approach, already championed by Humboldtian views of landscape character and the human impact of the Tropical Mountains after his visit to Chimburasu in 1802 (Wulf 2015b), has occupied the scholarly agency of many geographers, ecologists, anthropologists and other scientists in developing geoecology (e.g., Troll 1968). The ensuing ecological geographies of mountains were highly influenced by island biogeography theories of isolation, colonization and extinction. Later, the geographical ecologies of mountains were also cautiously developed as apolitical spaces with interest only to natural sciences, i.e., geology, flora and fauna (Ives 1980) until the realization of the political agency of conflictive power struggles was made evident not only for mining and agroindustry in the Third World countries (Zimmerer 1994) and the generation of their endogenous perspectives (Sarmiento 2000), but also for the survival of anarchists and their way of non-conformism in “Zomia” (Scott 2009). Montology is claimed to become the venue for inclusion of alternative environmental cognition of mountains, away from the current emphasis on ecosystem services and biodiversity. With either indigenous or TEK that incorporates a third dimension, mountains are rooted also in the emotional geographies of biocultural heritage and the trope of sustainable development (Zhong 2000; Bernstein 2015). Furthermore, the Humboldtian paradigm for horizontally segmented zones on the slopes has been added to with the new montological approach of vertical integration, with important lowland–highland dynamics that encompass not only the biota or the gea, but also the human driver of landscape

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 24

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  25

Source:  Photo by the author. Taken on-site at the installation of the tri-lingual plaque in 2003. A script from the English section is included above. Pictured are park rangers, the superintendent of the Chimborazo faunal reserve and workers from the signage company.

Figure 1.3  The Chimborazo cairn honoring Humboldt and montology change (Sarmiento 2002). Humboldt is immortalized with a bronze plaque that lies on a cairn at Chimborazo’s snowline (see Figure 1.3), including the words geoecology and montology recognized in Kichwa for the Andean world, in “Español” for Latin America, and in English for the Global North (Sarmiento 1999).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 25

20/04/2020 14:23

26  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

MOUNTAINS IN A CHANGING STATE OF MIND The transition to sustainability of mountains from geoecology and landscape ecology gets fuzzy because of the inclusion of non-linear pathways of organization of the Gestalt system, as the CASs of mountains is affected by farmscape transformation. As Lima (2013) stated, it is imperative for us to grasp a new metaphor to understand the world: instead of the arborescent description of dendritic representations, we need to assume a new network analysis of rhyzomic representations of science, allowing horizontal symbiotic collaborations and bottom-up approaches instead of a rigid verticality of hierarchies and step-wise procedures of top-down practices. The French term that describes the effects of unifying multisensorial inputs to create an emotional and fulfilling reality, terroir, comes to mind. When tasting the first sip of red wine, after the “catador” expertly pours the rested wine into the glass, observes it descending the glass walls and bubbling on the expanded surface of the goblet, sniffs the aroma and wets the tip of the tongue before splashing the internal membranes of the mouth, the rush of sensations makes it possible to discern, from memory and imagination, all things that were dear and cherished from the place of origin. Terroir, thus, is not only this flavor of fruit or that flower aroma that have integrated the fermented drink, but even the soil, the temperature, the sound of the rivulets, or the wind in the slopes of the vineyard, the youthful voices of friends, the smoke of the cabin nearby, the eyes of the loved one, or even the ambiance of the cozy fireplace or the family diners at the table, all in a swallowing of sensed memory landscape. Montology allows, like terroir, the possibility of integrating the tangible and intangible heritage of mountains into a Gestalt system of cognition that is organized with non-linearity, decentralization, interconnectedness, interdependence, multiplicity, and cartographic anxiety. This essence of place given by montological practice allows for sacred geographies to participate in the decision-making of the conservation of mountain systems towards sustainability (Sarmiento 2016a) with brand new lenses (Taylor 2010).

THE ROAD AHEAD: LOOKING FOR PARADISE? The National Geographic Society (NGS) in the United States has identified “GeoLiteracy” as our most important educational target for instruction to obtain geographic literate youth (Edelson 2011), to which the International Geographical Union (IGU) aptly welcomed the Three-I’s approach into the “Home of Geography,” the putative headquarters of the geographical academy worldwide. I argue that montology must be incorporated as the de facto trend to provide geoliteracy about the mountains of the world. By using the transdisciplinary science of montology, we are inclusive of the whole content that affects mountain cognition (Avriel-Avni & Dick 2019). By using montology, we are not only using the Three-I’s approach (Interdependence, Interconnectedness, and Implications) in our study of mountains, but, also, we are facilitating the inclusion of what in German is called Gemütlichkeit, a welcoming feeling of hominess, peace, and prosperity that you perceive in the place you love. It is neither the physical appearance of the house environment (Umwelt) of the mountain space, nor the imagined sensorial agreement of the home environment (Lebenswelt) of the mountain place, but it evokes the actual social construct

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 26

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  27 of the shared built environment (Mitwelt) of the mountainscape or SES (Westphal 2011). The fact that montology eases the categorization of positivistic science, allowing the spatiotemporal identities—or tempusculus—in the transgression of disciplinary fields (sensu Tadaki 2017), should be recognized, as well as the new referentiality of TEK coupled with WEK to understand dynamic CASs. It makes sense having transgressed referents as the only pathway to comprehend holistic mountain landscapes to juggle myths of the “axial age” or the “dark green religion” as drivers of sustainable future (Provan 2013). As the age-old quest for finding paradise requires—which in many cultures has often been associated with somewhere up there in the mountains (c.f. Shangri La, Meru, Xanadu, Satoyama, Hallelujah, Sumak waka urcu, Zomia, Apu, Tepuy, etc.)—this utopian space/ place/landscape/inscape of the mountain ontological challenge is herein made manifest with the use of montology to frame sustainability.

CONCLUSION Framing montology as an exemplar of transdisciplinary science informs critical geography of mountains towards sustainable futures. The geo-/eco-driven onomastics translates conceptual frames that illustrate the need for transdisciplinary science to guide our current understanding of mountains. The different examples of foreign words make evident the competency of montology as a transgression of disciplinary fields and the referentiality of a new understanding of the mountainscape. Using foreign terms without direct English translation obviates the about-face of reductionistic mountain cognition that separates pieces of knowledge into hard disciplinary silos, in favor of holistic translational ecologies of development. The historicity of the term favors a branding exercise of mountain studies rather than a completely new, alternative way to understand mountainscapes. I invite mountain scientists to consider adding fundamental and applied research dealing with the new approach to generate a stronger body of evidence in favor of montology. With the argument exhibited in the geoliteracy, ecoliteracy and sopholiteracy of current epistemologies, a new mountain ontology has been made evident. I envision that students and mountain scholars of the greater South will actively contribute with reinforcing the need to develop the transdisciplinary science of montology for a sustainable mountain lifescape. After a paradigmatic shift requiring novel approaches studying mountain SESs, not only interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary, but also transdisciplinary, those crosscutting collective efforts are required to develop a sound understanding of the CASs of sustainable mountainscapes. It is also imperative to create new research networks and learning clusters, or to invigorate those already formed, to translate hard science into practice, just as much as the soft science smoothly favors power relations to shift in favor of development policies that are equitable and meaningful for studying mountain phenomena. By allowing all research done about mountains—whether from the physical or social sciences, the humanities, or the traditional and indigenous ecological knowledge—and its concomitant reification of mountain arts, politics and management, the affirmation of integrative work of montologists will secure the right path towards the sustainability of mountainscapes.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 27

20/04/2020 14:23

28  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am indebted to J. Ives, B. Messerli, D. Gade and Y. Badenkov for their mentorship on montological causes, and to many seasoned scientists that shared feedback on integrative challenges of disciplinary hybrids and overall transgressivity of mountain cognition in the tropics, including R. Rozzi, T. Ibarra, C. Pizarro, M. Bush and R. Cheddadi. This work is a contribution to the Belmont Forum funded project VULPES (Project ID: ANR-15MASC-0003). I am grateful to the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute’s Neotropical Montology initiative LACSI’s NRC Title VI (ED/NRC/P015A140046).

REFERENCES Allan, N.J.R. (n.d.). Cambridge Mountain Conference participation and proceedings. Program in Social Sciences, UC-Davis (personal communication). Annan-Diab, F. and Molinari, C. 2017. Interdisciplinarity: Practical approach to advancing education for sustainability and for the Sustainable Development Goals. The International Journal of Management Education 15(2): 73–83. Avriel-Avni, N. and Dick, J. 2019. Differing perceptions of socio-ecological systems: Insights for future transdisciplinary research. Advances in Ecological Research 60: 153–190. Baer, H. and Singer, M. 2014. The anthropology of climate change: An integrated critical perspective. Advances in Climate Change Research. New York: Routledge. Bandyopadhyay, J. and Perveen, S. 2004. Moving the mountains up in the global environmental agenda. OP-CDEP 3. Center for Development and Environment Policy (CDEP). Calcutta: Indian Institute of Management. Bernstein, J.H. 2015. Transdisciplinarity: A review of its origins, development, and current issues. Journal of Research Practice 11(1): Article R1. (accessed March 28, 2019). Borsdorf, A. and Stadel, C. 2016. The Andes: A geographical portrait. Berlin: Springer. Bradley, S. 2014. Design principles: Visual perception and the principles of Gestalt. Smashing Magazine. March 28. Carey, M. 2010. In the shadow of melting glaciers: Climate change and Andean society. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Castree, N. 2017. Unfree radicals: Geoscientists, the Anthropocene, and left politics. Antipode 49(S1): 52–74. Cheddadi, R., Henrot, A., François, L., Boyer, F., Bush, M., Carré, M. . . . Zheng, Z. 2017. Microrefugia, climate change, and conservation of Cedrus atlantica in the Rif Mountains, Morocco. Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution 5(114): 1–15. Debarbieux, B. 2008. Le montagnard: imaginaires de la terrotorialité et invention d’un type humain. Annales de géographie 660: 90–115. Debarbieux, B. and Rudaz, G. 2015. The mountain: A political history from the Enlightenment to the present. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dunlap, R.E. and Van Liere, K.D. 1978. The “new environmental paradigm”. The Journal of Environmental Education 9(4): 10–19. Dunlap, R.E., Van Liere, K.D., Mertig, A.G., and Jones, R.E. 2000. New trends in measuring environmental attitudes: Measuring endorsement of the new ecological paradigm: A revised NEP scale. Journal of Social Issues 56(3): 425–442. Edelson, D.C. 2011. Geo-literacy. National Geographic Education. March 25 (revised May 28, 2014). Fairclough, S. 1982. The Mountain Environment Collection of M.I.T.’s Dewey Library and Associated Bibliographies. Manuscript. Forman, R. and Godron, R. 1984. Landscape ecology. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Gibbes, C., Hoplins, A.L., Inurreta Días, A. and Jimenez-Osorio, J. 2018. Defining and measuring sustainability: A systematic review of studies in rural Latin America and the Caribbean. Environment, Development and Sustainability. (accessed March 28, 2019). Gregory, D. 1994. Geographical imaginations. Oxford: Blackwell. GTZ. 1974. Münchener Konferenzbericht, 1: 186. Munich: GTZ. Hadorn, G.H., Hoffmann-Riem, H., Biber-Klemm, S., Grossenbacher-Mansuy, W., Joye, D., Pohl, C., Wiesmann, U. and Zemp, E. (eds). 2008. Handbook of transdisciplinary research. Vol. 10. Zurich, Switzerland: Springer.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 28

20/04/2020 14:23

Transdisciplinary critical geography amidst mountainscapes  29 Hansson, D. 2012. Unpacking Spinoza: Sustainability education outside of the Cartesian box. Journal of Sustainability Education 3: 1–17. Haslett, J.R. 1998. A new science: Montology. Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters 7: 228–229. Ives, J.D. (ed.). 1980. Geoecology of the Colorado Front Range: A study of Alpine and Subalpine environments. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Ives, J.D. 2005. Himalayan misconceptions and distortions. What are the facts? Himalayan Journal of Science 3(5): 15–25. Ives, J.D. 2013. Sustainable mountain development: Getting the facts right. Lalitpour, Nepal: Himalayan Association for the Advancement of Science. Ives, J.D. and Messerli, B. 1989. The Himalayan dilemma: Reconciling development and conservation. London: Routledge. Ives, J.D., Messerli, B. and Sarmiento, F.O. 2016. Obituary for a mountain champion: Lawrence Hamilton, 1925–2016. Mountain Research and Development 36(4): 569–570. Jodha, N.S. 2003. La Agricultura de Montaña, pp. 403–428. In: F.O. Sarmiento (ed.) Montañas del Mundo: Una Prioridad Global con Perspecitvas Latinoamericanas. Quito: CEPEIGE – Ediciones Abya-Yala. Klein, J.T. 2008. Evaluation of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research: A literature review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35(2): S116–S123. Lang, D.J., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P. and Thomas, C.J. 2012. Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: Practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability Science 7(1): 25–43. Lewis, M.W. and Wigen, K. 1997. The myth of continents: A critique of metageography. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Lima, M. 2013. The book of trees: Visualizing branches of knowledge. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Mahat, T.J. and Boom, D. 2008. Concept note 13. E-conference on “Overcoming fragmentation in mountain research and development. Is montology an answer?” Manuscript submitted to FAO’s international mountain conference. ICIMOD. Mainali, K. and Sicroff, S. (eds). 2016. Jack D. Ives, Montologist: Festschrift for a mountain advocate. Lalitpour, Nepal: Himalayan Asociation for the Advancement of Science. Massey, D. 1999. Space-time, “science” and the relationship between physical geography and human geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 24(3): 261–276. Messerli, B. and Ives, J.D. (eds). 1999. Mountains of the world: A global priority. New York: Parthenon. Moss, L.A. (ed.). 2006. The amenity migrants. Seeking and sustaining mountains and their cultures. Cambridge, MA: Wallingford. Nanshan, A. 1998. My perspective on montology. Journal of Mountain Research 1. Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-SDYA199801000.htm (accessed March 28, 2019). Naveh, Z. and Liebermann, A. 1984. Landscape ecology: Theory and application. New York: Springer-Verlag. Naveh, Z., Lieberman, A., Sarmiento, F.O. and Ghersa, C. 2002. Ecología de Paisajes. Teoría y Aplicación. Edición de estudiantes. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, EUDEBA. Painter, J. 2008. Cartographic anxiety and the search for regionality. Environmental and Planning A 40: 342–361. Piaget, J. 1972. The epistemology of interdisciplinary relationships, pp. 127–139. In: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) (ed.) Interdisciplinarity: Problems of teaching and research in universities. Paris, France: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Polk, M. 2014. Achieving the promise of transdisciplinarity: A critical exploration of the relationship between transdisciplinary research and societal problem solving. Sustainability Science 9(4): 439–451. Polk, M.H., Young, K.R., Baraer, M., Mark, B.G., McKenzie, J.M., Bury, J. and Carey, M. 2017. Exploring hydrologic connections between tropical mountain wetlands and glacier recession in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. Applied Geography 78 (1): 94–103. Price, M.F. 2015. Mountains: A very short introduction. London: Oxford University Press. Price, M.F., Byers, A.C., Friend, D.A., Kohler, T. and Price, L.W. (eds). 2013. Mountain geography: Physical and human dimensions. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Prieto, E. 2011. Geocriticism, geopoetics, geophilosophy, and beyond, pp. 13–27. In: R.T. Tally Jr. et al. (eds) Geocritical explorations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Prieto, E. 2016. Geocriticism meets ecocriticism: Bertrand Westphal and environmental thinking, pp. 19–35. In: R.T. Tally Jr. and C.M. Battista (eds) Ecocriticism and geocriticism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Provan, I. 2013. Convenient myths: The axial age, dark green religion, and the world that never was. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. Resler, L. and Sarmiento, F.O. 2016. Mountain geographies. Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. New York: Oxford University Press. Rhoades, R.E. 2007. Listening to the mountains. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. Sarmiento, F.O. 1987. Antología Ecológica del Ecuador: desde la selva hasta el mar. Quito, Ecuador: Editorial Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 29

20/04/2020 14:23

30  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Sarmiento, F.O. 1999. Mount Chimborazo: In the steps of Alexander von Humboldt. Mountain Research and Development 19(2): 77–78. Sarmiento, F.O. 2000. Human impacts in man-aged tropandean landscapes: Breaking mountain paradigms. Ambio 29(7): 423–431. Sarmiento, F.O. (ed.). 2002. Las Montañas del Mundo: Una Prioridad Global con Perspectivas Latinoamericanas. Quito, Ecuador: Editorial AbyaYala. Sarmiento, F.O. 2012. Contesting Páramo: Critical Biogeography of the Northern Andean Highlands. Matthews, NC: Kona Publishing, Higher Education Division. Sarmiento, F.O. 2015. On the antlers of a trilemma: Rediscovering Andean sacred sites, pp. 49–64. In: R. Rozzi, S.T.A. Pickett, J.B. Callicot, F.S.T. Chapin III, M.E. Power and J.J. Armesto (eds) Earth stewardship: Linking ecology and ethics in theory and practice. New York: Springer. Sarmiento, F.O. 2016a. Neotropical mountains beyond water supply: Environmental services as a trifecta of sustainable mountain development, pp. 309–324. In: G. Greenwood and J. Shroder (eds) Mountain ice and water. New York: Elsevier. Sarmiento, F.O. 2016b. Identity, imaginaries and ideality: Understanding the biocultural landscape of the Andes through the iconic Andean lapwing (Vanellus resplendens). Revista Chilena de Ornitología 22(1): 38–50. Sarmiento, F.O. (in press). The Montology Manifesto. Journal of Mountain Studies. Sarmiento, F.O. and Hitchner, S. (eds). 2017. Indigeneity and the sacred: Indigenous revival and the conservation of sacred natural sites in the Americas. New York: Berghahn Books. Sarmiento, F.O., Ibarra, J.T., Barreau, A., Pizarro, J.C., Rozzi, R., González, J.A. and Frolich, L.M. 2017. Applied montology using critical biogeography in the Andes. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 107(2) (special issue on Mountains): 416–428. Scheiber, L.L. and Zedeño, M.N. (eds). 2015. Engineering mountain landscapes: An anthropology of social investment. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press. Scott, J.C. 2009. The art of not being governed: An anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Soja, E. 1996. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined places. Oxford: Blackwell. Tadaki, M. 2017. Rethinking the role of critique in physical geography. The Canadian Geographer 61(1): 73–83. Tally Jr., R.T. and Battista, C.M. 2016. Introduction: Ecocritical geographies, geocritical ecologies and the spaces of modernity, pp. 1–15. In: Tally et al. (eds) Ecocriticism and Geocriticism: Overlapping territories in Environmental and Spatial Literary Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Taylor, B.R. 2010. Dark green religion: Nature spirituality and the planetary future. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Termorshuizen, J.W. and Opdam, P. 2009. Landscape services as a bridge between landscape ecology and sustainable development. Landscape Ecology 24(8): 1037–1052. Troll, C., 1968. Geo-ecology of the Mountainous Regions of the Tropical Americas: Proceedings of the UNESCO Mexico Symposium 1966. Colloquium Geographicum 9. Bonn, Germany: Ferdinand Dümmlers Verlag. Veteto, J.R. 2009. From mountain anthropology to montology? An overview of the anthropological approach to Mountain Studies. Horizons in Earth Science Research 1: 281–297. Westphal, B. 2011. Geocriticism: Real and fictional spaces. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Wilcock, D.A. and Brierley, G.J. 2012. It’s about time: Extending time–space discussion in geography through use of “ethnogeomorphology” as an education and communication tool. Journal of Sustainability Education 3: 1–27. Wu, J. 2006. Landscape ecology, cross-disciplinarity, and sustainability science. Landscape Ecology 21: 1–4. Wu, J. and Hobbs, R. 2002. Key issues and research priorities in landscape ecology: An idiosyncratic ­synthesis. Landscape Ecology 17(4): 355–365. Wulf, A. 2015a. The forgotten father of environmentalism. The Atlantic. December 23. https://www.theatlantic. com/science/archive/2015/12/the-forgotten-father-of-environmentalism/421434/ (accessed March 28, 2019). Wulf, A. 2015b. The invention of nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. Borzoi Book, A.A. Knopf. Xishi, D. and Yuanchang, Z., 1996. The second discussion on montology. Mountain Research 2. http://en.cnki. Yuanchang, D.X.Z., 1986. A preliminary discussion on montology. Journal of Mountain Research 3. http://en.cnki. (accessed March 28, 2019). Zhong, X.H., 2000. Montology outline and mountain research in China. Chengdu: Sichuan Science and Technology Press. Zimmerer, K.S., 1994. Human geography and the “new ecology”: The prospect and promise of integration. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 84(1): 108–125. Zimmerer, K.S., Cordova Aguilar, H., Mata Olmo, R., Jiménez-Olivencia, R. and Vanek, S. 2017. Mountain ecology, remotedness, and the rise of agrobiodiversity: Tracing the geographic spaces of human-environment knowledge. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 107(2): 441–455.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 30

20/04/2020 14:23

2.  A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability for a high-energy, urbanizing, digitalized human species Esmeralda Guevara and Larry M. Frolich

INTRODUCTION Maps were humans’ first interactive media. A map aims to put in front of us, on a small scale, the reality of a much larger-scale world. As such, the map becomes useful as we explore the world it portrays. From that seemingly simple idea, we get the discipline of geography, attempting to capture not only the physical reality of the world, but the cultural milieu of the people living in it. These simple roots then allow us to develop beautiful and complex evolutionary trees of understanding, about who we are and where we live, as represented through media—written, pictorial and increasingly interactive. Geography is our tool to interactively explore, at a manageable scale, the physical and cultural world around us. We were recently visiting some friends whose four-year-old child was very adept at interactively swiping icons and images around a “smart-phone” home screen, that everyday map from which we organize our daily digital lives. The family’s giant living room television had been, until recently, one-way media—an image broadcaster with no interaction. But the installation of a “smart TV” system brought the interactive smart-phone style icons onto the giant TV screen. We watched with amusement as the four-year-old went right up to the giant screen and attempted to swipe the icons around. That moment—a small child swiping at icons on a giant TV screen—captures something profound about who we are, geographically, as a species at this moment in history. It encapsulates our union into a digital world where we all live now as cyborgs—few of us with actual implants, but just as successfully “linked in” intimately through our tiny swipe-screen smart-phones and broadly through our ubiquitous interactive digital devices. Worldwide, for most of the upper and middle economic classes, being connected to the larger digital world is requisite—an assumed extension of our cerebrum (as well as our emotional centers). That four-year-old swiping at the screen also represents the power of the urban environment where a large percentage of the population can become wealthy enough, economically, not only to own this kind of cutting-edge technology, but also to actually entrust it to the hands of their four-year-old children. The fact that our friends with the four-year-old are first-generation Southern hemisphere immigrants to the U.S. gives weight to that moment from a global perspective, as many of our traditional geographical constructs lose ground to a globalizing, digitizing and urbanizing world where a four-year-old swipes, so far futilely, at a giant screen full of familiar interactive map-like icons.


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 31

20/04/2020 14:23

32  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

WHAT IT MEANS TO GO URBAN—THE BINARIES OF EVERY DAY During the course of the twentieth century, half of the world’s population migrated from rural agricultural environments into urban areas, mostly in the Northern hemisphere (Hall 2014; Cohen 2003; Zimmerman 1926). The United Nations has identified the year 2013 as the inflection point for half of the world’s people to live in a city (UN-DESA 2014). Current demographic tendencies indicate that, as the twenty-first century unfolds, most of the rest of humanity will join the urban migration, mostly in the Southern hemisphere (Castles & Miller 2003; WHO 2014). This creation of a planetary city will take us towards the “Ecumenopolis” of urban architect Apostolos Doxiadis (1974), as time and space are further united in the great megalopolises on each continent. The advantages of the urban environment are numerous. People desire a vibrant central district with cultural, banking and industrial infrastructure (Carrión & Hanley 2005). Cities also provide economies of scale, ease of provisioning for basic necessities, a concentration of human diversity and the fomentation of innovation through ease of access to new technologies (Johnson 2006). At the same time, migration to the urban environment presents the risk of a decrease in quality of life, to levels of misery among economically poor segments of the population (Mingione 1996, Wratten 1995). This process of degradation in urban areas occurs when the coupling between the human being and the biogeographic reality of the area is lost (Satterthwaite 2003) since not only does a globalized urban culture develop, but the foundation for a localized rural cultural is lost in its entirety (Sarmiento 2012). The challenge for the geographical disciplines that promote sustainability in the twenty-first century is to analyze the key elements of globalized urban culture that promote a good quality of life, within the framework of an integral ecology that includes the human being. In the modern urban areas of the world today, the problem of the confrontation between human beings and the “natural” world is solved with an approach where socio-cultural processes are recognized as part of the natural world, and where economic activities are seen as fundamentally ecological in nature—that in fact economies are nothing more than ecologies where power can be represented as monetary currency. Both ecologies and economies depend, for their fundamentals, on the underlying physical–biological–cultural ecosystem (Sarmiento & Viteri 2015). The effect of urbanization on the human species encompasses every aspect of life. Since the beginning of the Anthropocene around 14,000 years before the present, humans have gradually come to occupy and alter more and more of the planet’s surface. These are times of dramatic evolutionary change for the species (Harari 2016) in a way that has not been seen before—more important than the great migrations out of Africa to inhabit all of the continents, or the great leap into sedentary agricultural communities after millennia of nomadic hunting and gathering. At every level—from individual to family to society to population to species—virtually all aspects of human life changes in the urban sphere. A few examples follow. ● ●●

Air  Pollutants in urban areas drastically change air quality and are correlated with high incidence of respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies. Water  A distribution network of piped water and sewers, although not ubiquitously present in urban areas, and sometimes available in rural areas, nonetheless,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 32

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  33





is a hallmark of cities around the world. Establishing a centralized water utility involves the development of safe water sources, treatment plants, a piped distribution network for potable water delivery and sewage disposal along with sewage treatment plants. Control of waterborne diseases is much easier with a well-regulated urban water system, although the risk of unintentionally, or maliciously, spreading contamination across wide areas also exists. While people relieve themselves of the daily hard work of carrying water to the hearth, they also lose knowledge about the source of the water, and the primal, and often spiritually gratifying, sense of seeing water naturally in its place as rivers, lakes, springs and lagoons. Earth  Most land surface in an urban area, rather than being used for agricultural plantings, is instead paved for roads and sidewalks, or cemented and built over with houses, buildings and other needed structures that serve a high-density population. Energy  A comprehensive electric grid provides most of the energy needs in urban areas, from lighting to environmental control to cooking, storing and processing of food. More recently, as we become cyborgs, the cost in energy of maintaining the digital grid that supports our virtual existence is increasing, often at exponential rates. Instead of being transported on foot or by horse, people in the urban area depend on the use of vehicles with fossil-fuel-powered gas or diesel engines. For home and building heat, rather than using wood or charcoal, as is common in rural areas, gas or oil furnaces are common employed. In warm areas, houses are cooled with air conditioners that run off the electric grid. Food  The challenge of distributing mass quantities of food to a large urban population dramatically alters the sources, the provisioning, the use and the preparation of food. In a rural area, food may go directly from the plant to the pot. Diet is often limited to locally, temporally available products that are harvested on the spot. Urban markets, although sometimes provisioned by local farmers, often bring food in from different distant areas, even other states, countries or continents. The typical resident of an urban area buys their food using their salaried monetary gains. Supermarkets and restaurants allow for the purchase of processed and cooked meals, sometimes brought over long distances, thereby eliminating a large part of the domestic work to prepare and cook food. Excess food, and kitchen waste, in an urban area is often “thrown away” into the garbage stream that usually goes to a land-fill, rather than being used to feed home-grown stock animals as would be common in a rural area. Living place  The layout and style of a house, the materials used to build it, the building techniques that are employed, and the fact that most people pay someone else to build their home are small examples of how living places have changed in the urban environment. More impactful is the presence of services such as potable water and sewage, electricity, cable TV and internet, all of which fundamentally change the typical household family activities. The types of furniture and appliances that are typically present also change the household members’ activities: something as simple as the presence of a sofa, much more likely in an urban house, leads to more sedentary time and a drastic change in how the musculo-skeletal components of the body are used. The presence of a washing machine frees up large amounts of time that can be devoted to study, hobbies or other past-times that increase brain activity instead of the physical work of washing clothes (Rosling 2010).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 33

20/04/2020 14:23

34  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Physical activity  In urban areas, people tend towards a sedentary lifestyle where use of the physical body for daily transport is extremely rare. Jobs tend to require sitting or passing large periods of time with little physical movement, all of which leads to very little use of muscles to move the body. While physical trauma and injury may be diminished, diseases related to low activity levels, such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and some respiratory problems are at high levels and continue to rise in urban areas. ●● Transportation  The transition from walking to the use of motorized vehicles, private or public, results in significant shifts in how the physical body is used, as well as a change in the opportunities to meet other people (perhaps more frequent on public transport and less frequent in private cars). Some urban areas have a high density of pedestrians while other urban areas, and particularly Northern hemisphere suburbs, are virtually devoid of people on the street since they are all inside houses, offices or cars. ●● Education  Educational systems in urban areas tend to include more schools, larger schools and a higher level of teacher preparation. The variety of schools, colleges and universities results in diverse educational options in urban areas. Other educational installations, such as museums, libraries and bookstores, further enhance educational opportunities in the urban environment. Informal education networks, exposure to a wide variety of job-types, the diverse origins and enhanced online access, all result in a population that has a much more varied bank of experiences, educational and otherwise. ●● Health  As with education, the variety, level of training and type of health services that are available are much greater in the urban area. At the same time, folk medicines and traditional cures may be more difficult, or even impossible to find, although the realm of possibilities for “alternative medicines” may be far more variable. Western-style or allopathic medicine offers highly technified medical services and procedures, but the presence of numerous and varied systems of folk medicine means that the possibility for multiple approaches to health, well-being and quality of life are available in the urban setting. ●● Government  The government in the urban area tends to be more powerful with highly developed facilities and infrastructure based on a more lucrative and diversified tax base. The government has broad responsibilities such as maintaining road systems, water systems, sewage systems, fire and police services, and cultural facilities, among others. ● Family structure  Not surprisingly given all the other changes, the structure of the family tends to change in the urban setting. Mothers and fathers most often work outside the home. Same-sex couples, single mothers or fathers, and a wide variety of other gender diversified households give witness to the decreasing frequency of “traditional” nuclear families living in a single family home. An extended family is less likely to share a single home in the city. The number of children per family tends to fall substantially. In biological–evolutionary terms, the reduction, often drastic, of the birth rate may be the single most important impact of the urban area. As the birth rate falls to less than two births per woman, a demographic shift occurs from previously exponential population growth rates to stable or even declining population size. Many highly urbanized ●●

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 34

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  35 Northern hemisphere countries already are, or soon will see, declining total population numbers due to low birth rates, meaning the population is no longer growing, but rather decreasing. From these few examples, we can see how impactful the evolutionary migration to cities has been, and will be, for human life. The worldwide trend of moving to urban areas, followed by conurbation and the urban theory of ekistics science (Doxiadis 1968), suggests that the quality of life may increase in the city. Or, at least, there is the perception that the quality of life is better in the city. At the same time, economic poverty and other miseries are by no means eliminated through urbanization, and we must analyze what forces determine the way cities grow, and what key elements will support an urban evolutionary migration that leads to improvement, rather than loss, of quality of life. Urbanization leading to enhanced quality of life must be at the heart of sustainable geography. We delineate four binary systems that capture how sustainability issues might be understood in the context of urbanization. The two elements of each system, previously understood as opposed dichotomies, have undercut many attempts to create urban areas that promote better quality of life. We suggest that the supposedly opposing or conflicting components of each binary are better understood as complementary. In a binary system, the two elements, instead of being in conflict, or seen as opposing forces, are understood as corollaries where one depends on the other (Elbow 1993). Examples of binary systems include, in astronomy, the binary stars that orbit around each other in an ellipse (Schlosser et al. 1991), or, in computing, the most basic enumeration system used by integrated circuits or logic gates of zeros and ones. In both of these cases, the one component of the binary is fundamentally dependent upon the other. In order to guide a sustainable geography within the context of human evolutionary urbanization, we analyze how four different sets of concepts are best understood, not as mythological opposites, but as binaries that depend on each other (Figure 2.1). Human–Natural A supposed struggle exists between what humans create, and what happens in what is understood as an entirely separate “natural” world. This struggle takes roots in Judeo-Christian culture, starting with the creation story of the Bible and subsequently integrated into the entire notion of “development” and “civilization” that defines Western culture (Dove & Kammen 2015; Glacken 1967). In the twentieth century, urbanization and the new tourism industry (Wilson 1991) have spurred the idea of ​​ preserving and conserving nature in regions and zones designated as parks, reserves or wildlife areas (Sellars 1997; 1991). Western culture takes pride in having developed the fields of “ecology” or “environmental science,” with their focus on the importance of natural areas and regions. In so doing, these sciences give substance to what is revealed through ecological and environmental studies, most often with a conclusion that nature and natural areas are very fragile. But the supposed conflict between the human beings and nature, as revealed through environmental science, is better understood as a cultural construct: the idea of a ​​ nature apart from the human being is false (Frolich & Guevara 2015, Sarmiento 2003). Founding religions and beliefs of Eastern cultures integrate human beings into the world where nature can only be understood in terms

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 35

20/04/2020 14:23

36  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability






o arb




e n/R

l tua


bal S No outh– rth G bin lobal ary


$$$ Human– Nature binary

$$$ $$$


Wealth– Poverty binary

$$$ $$$

Rural–Urban binary

al iritu –Sp ary l a i in ter Ma ergy b En

Mayan “Life and Death” hieroglyph (Morley, 1975)

Figure 2.1  The North–South binary of sustainability and flows of transgressivity of its co-relationship with humans (Barnhart 1997; Kellert 1995). What is human or “cultural” and what is “natural,” then, only function as binary, not in conflict, but revolving around each other. A life and world of fulfillment looks for harmony in those orbits, especially in urban areas where most people live, and where ecologists and environmental scientists reject the presence of some mystical or pristine tradition idea of nature. We must accept that the notion of the “pristine” in nature has already been demystified by contemporary geographers (Denevan 2011) and ecologists (Balée 2014). Urban areas are, in every sense, as natural as a national park. We cannot advance a sustainable geography until we understand that harmony between what is natural and what is cultural is a binary where human development, even in the urban setting, revolves around and integrates as a part of nature.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 36

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  37 South–North From the beginning of the Age of Exploration, and with the formation of the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and English empires, a Western–Eastern division dominated our understanding of global geography (Lewis & Wigen 1997). But with industrialization and the arrival of the twentieth century, known as the “American” century reflecting the ascendancy of the American empire (Slater 1995), came a tendency to see global divisions in terms of North–South. Global North populations, in the countries of North America and Europe, were seen to be living in sophisticated cities whereas the populations of the South, understood as economically poor, were seen to be living in rustic rural areas or “the countryside.” Southern cities are understood to be made up of slums like the urban cortiços of São Paulo, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro or the slums of Quito (Perlman 1979; Carrión & Hanley 2005). In reality, the cities of the Global South have a rich culture, which can be seen to have equally influenced the North. Half of the population of the Global South is already located in so-called “primate cities” or urban areas. The rich Global South cultural heritage has become increasingly influential—Mexican food is now the number one type of restaurant in the United States (CHD North America 2017). We must understand, then, that the economies and cultural trends of the Global South and the Global North are involved and inter-dependent, as a binary system. A geography of sustainability demands that we redefine our understanding of global divisions in this way. Urban–Rural Undoubtedly, large extensions of agricultural land define a distinct rural zonification where massive populations of human beings cannot be concentrated. In this sense, there is an opposition between the rural and the urban. However, given that agriculture, or rather sunlight, forms the energy base for the survival of almost all life on the planet, it is better to think about how these two zones complement each other, and how an understanding of the rural might inform what it means to be urban, and vice versa . . . a true binary. In times of crisis, we have always seen a conversion of urban lands into orchards and gardens, such as the famous Victory Gardens of the United States during the Second World War (Thone 1943), or the urban gardens of Cuba that appeared when agricultural subsidies from the former Soviet Union dried up (Endres & Endres 2009). A typical city, be it in the North or in the South, will be hard-pressed to provide its own energy–agricultural–cultural base. But by recognizing a binary relationship with surrounding rural areas, an integrated approach to urbanization can be developed that favors improved quality of life with greater green belts, parks, gardens and nurseries. At the same time, in a digitized world, the cultural and educational diversity that comes with the urban concentration of land wealth and human innovation can now be dispersed across the zonation spectrum, even to the most remote areas where some people, inevitably, will still live. In a true geography of sustainability, rather than viewing rural and urban regions as competing alternative lifestyles and politically opposing viewpoints, they must be seen as binaries whose distinct land use and lifestyle, not to mention production–consumption regimes, are as dependent upon each other as are prey and predator. In fact, as cities shrink in population with lowering birth rates, rural zones within the city are becoming more common, and praised,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 37

20/04/2020 14:23

38  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability as a new way for cities to organize themselves. Examples, such as Detroit in the United States, are even seeing urban revitalization around agricultural lands within the city limits (Mogk et al. 2010). Wealth–Poverty Typically, wealth and poverty are understood as opposite ends of a scale where the assumed universal desire is to move up, or move rightward, to the wealthy end. But in reality, looking deeply into the complete needs of human beings (Max-Neef 1989, Elkins & Max-Neef 1992, Green 2014), economic wealth does not solve the search for quality of life. Common sense and a litany of proverbs reinforces this: “Money can’t buy you love”; “More money, more problems”; “Por la plata baila el mono [It’s for money that the monkey dances].” However, from a binary perspective, wealth is understood not only in economic terms, such that a rise in the level of economic wealth is accompanied by a fall in spiritual wealth. Urbanization can be understood in economic terms as a movement towards greater wealth, as reinforced by economic indicators that show concentrations of wealth in cities (Bloom et al. 2008). However, this strictly economic analysis neglects to take into account the loss of spirituality that can accompany urbanization. For example, when an urban couple purchases a stroller to wheel their baby down paved sidewalks—an economic act of urban wealth that relieves the parents’ tired arms—they, and their baby, lose the sense of the physical connection that comes from holding and carrying a baby in a less economically wealthy, rural environment. By appreciating wealth–poverty as a binary that incorporates a sense of spiritual wealth (literally incorporates itself into the quality of life that we embody in our corporeal selves), we arrive at a fuller and healthier understanding of what true wealth is, and how it affects quality of life. A geography of sustainability must justify full wealth accounting, not just from an economic point of view, but in a way that includes the spiritual (as more fully elaborated in the following section). Our goal, then, is to dispense with epistemologies of opposition, and reveal the integrated urban–rural environment as a human–natural system, developed in the Global South with equal strength and success as in the Global North. Urban and rural functions are then carried out under an understanding of the relationship between economic wealth and spiritual poverty and their dramatic impact on the quality of human life. By treating human–natural, south–north, urban–rural, and wealth–poverty as binaries, we change the dynamics of everyday life in a way that allows us to seek moderations that balance our evolutionary migration into the city. If nothing else, a geography of sustainability must look for balance in these essential elements of twenty-first-century physical and cultural life. In order to bring some reality to how this binary approach can bring sustainable geographical thinking to the reality of our everyday world, we give a brief sample analysis around food, in particular potatoes. The Human and Natural of Potatoes As a domesticated crop, potatoes, in their hundreds of cultivated varieties (Ramos 2000), are long distant from their “natural” source plant, which was a Solanum tuber from the Andes of South America, although which modern Solanum is closest to domesticated potatoes is difficult to discern (Bradshaw et al. 2006). But this analysis assumes that

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 38

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  39 human domestication is somehow distinct from the rest of evolutionary natural selection (Sauer 1969). That is, it assumes a human–nature dichotomy. A much better way of understanding domestication is as a co-evolutionary process where the two (or more) species involved are in a binary relationship as presented by McAuliffe (2016) in her argument for parasites. For potatoes, it is just as valid to ask how potatoes have been able to convince people to take care of them, as it is to ask what benefits humans have received from domesticating the potato (see Pollan 2001 for a book-length analysis of this question including a full chapter on the potato). In other words, there is no subject and object in natural selection—no human subjects manipulating natural objects. Evolution works on the currency of fitness—what particular combination of genes (or species that carry those genes). So, if we want to analyze how potatoes fit into a sustainable geography we must first recognize that we, too, are objects of this binary co-evolutionary relationship. The Urban and Rural of Potatoes Potatoes are the staple root crop with the greatest increase in production over the last 20 years (Birch et al. 2012). Obviously raw potato production takes places in agricultural or rural settings. But the increase in human consumption that has driven the market for more potato planting worldwide is in the form of potato chips and French fries—­distinctly urban food choices. In fact, most new varieties of potatoes are analyzed for their durability in transport and storability for later use. This serves an urban market where the raw potato might take a long time to get to a grocery store, and also the factory market, where vast quantities of ready potatoes are needed for mass production of chips and fries. Again, if we want to analyze potato production within a geography of sustainability, we must look at how this rural production–urban consumption binary revolves around itself. The North and South of Potatoes Given the potato’s fame in German cuisine, the well-known Irish potato famine and the Italian tradition of gnocchi, many people might identify its origin as a European or Western culture staple. But the potato takes its domesticated origin from the Andes of South America, and it was not until the Columbian Exchange (Crosby 2003) that it was brought to Europe. Later, European immigrants brought the potato back across the Northern Atlantic to North America where it has also permeated the cuisine, most recently in the form of fast food French fries and potato chips. The great agricultural domestications and cuisines that developed in the Southern hemispheres are not always recognized, or only recognized as annexes to European/Western culture. Even in our increasingly globalized world, there is often an assumption that technologies, and even cuisines, only travel from the supposedly advanced Global North to the supposedly primitive Global South. The two regions are seen as diametrically opposed, with a goal of the North (the subject always in the relationship) bringing the South (always the object in the relationship) up to speed, or to “full development.” But a truly sustainable geography analysis of something as simple as the potato shows us how Global South and Global North, to the point that they can even be clearly distinguished or defined, must be seen as binaries that constantly interchange ideas, products, technologies and more.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 39

20/04/2020 14:23

40  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The Wealth and Poverty of Potatoes The words “poverty” and “potato” together bring to mind the most famous of historical events involving potatoes—the Irish Potato famine. In fact, many people believe potatoes originated in Ireland, given the fame of this event, and it is not widely appreciated that their true origin is with the great Andean pre-Colombian agricultural civilization culminating in the Incan Empire (Mann 2006). Potatoes do have a history and reputation for “low cuisine.” They are the only staple crop that can go right from the field into the pot. Other staples, all grains, need some sort of processing be it drying, grinding or husking. Perhaps this ease of use has made potatoes a favorite among low-resource populations. A common full nutrition diet around the world is potatoes in combination with milk. In the case of the Irish Potato famine, this diet was subsistence for large parts of the Irish population, and when the potato crops failed in several consecutive years due to a new plague, late blight, thousands of people died. Even today, as potato production and consumption expand, the principle use, now in processed form as chips and fries, is still considered a low cuisine in urban foodscapes. However, as economically wealthier segments of the population begin to understand more about the true origins of potatoes, it is taking its place in haute cuisine, ironically in the form of traditional Andean heirloom landraces, such as the papa chilota and the chuño. These more delicate varieties come in a wide range of textures and colors and are being deliberately cultivated for high-end gourmet restaurant use, both locally in the Andean countries and for export to the Global North’s upscale food hubs. A full geography of sustainability must take into account how economic wealth and economic poverty have driven the history of the varieties of potatoes that are cultivated, where they are cultivated and how they are used as foodstuff for human consumption. Our analysis of potatoes fails to bring in a binary that forms perhaps the most significant component of what drives the geographies of sustainability—the material–spiritual energy binary. Potatoes may well be a “poor-man’s” food, later adapted through the wealth of urbanization into fries and chips, which, although they might not be considered haute cuisine are a packaged urban product that requires economic wealth to obtain. In a final twist, what in the past was considered the lowliest of potato varieties—heirloom landraces (chauchas) that were seen fit only for rural Andean home consumption—are now being specially shipped to high-end restaurants around the world. In all of this, the question that we have so far failed to address is how energy resources are expended to bring about this physical and cultural distribution. In the next section, we analyze the relationship between material energy, or its representation in currency, with spiritual energy, which is very difficult to measure and define.

WHAT KIND OF ENERGY DO WE USE? THE MATERIAL–SPIRITUAL BINARY Potatoes may well be a “poor-man’s” food, later adapted through the wealth of urbanization into fries and chips, which, although they might not be considered haute cuisine are a packaged urban product that requires economic wealth to obtain. Today, what in the past was considered the lowliest of potato varieties—heirloom landraces that were seen fit

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 40

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  41 only for rural Andean home consumption—are now being specially shipped to high-end restaurants around the world. In all of this, the question that we have so far failed to address is how energy resources are expended to bring about this physical and cultural distribution. Perhaps the most significant component of what drives the geographies of sustainability—the material–spiritual energy binary—transcends all the other aspects of urbanization that we have so far discussed. We need to analyze the relationship between material energy, or its representation in currency, with spiritual energy, which is very difficult to measure and define. As an entry-point into that analysis, we pose the rhetorical question: does a huge material energy expenditure into large-scale cultivation of an Andean heirloom chaucha potato that is then shipped thousands of miles to a high-end urban, Global North restaurant, retain the same spiritual energy that might be found when that same potato is consumed, from field to pot, in an economically low-resource kitchen in the Andes of South America? In ecology, the planetary function is thought to be driven by emergy (with an ‘m’) to emphasize the important metabolic function of the food chains in environmental accountability (Odum 1996). In geography, we believe that a robust analysis of resource use requires exploring the integration between human economies and the idea of natural resources. In this context, the ultimate geographical currency becomes energy or power, which is energy use over time. However, as living beings in a geographical world, as well as spiritual beings in a cultural world, we must look at the full picture of how different types of energies and powers contribute to a fulfilled life (Lovins 2011). A typical 60 kg human has a metabolism that uses energy at a rate equivalent to a bright light bulb, or about 130 watts. The typical human diet of some 2000–2500 calories daily provides the energy for this metabolic use of power. Among humans, when non-metabolic energy is considered, the range of power use extends across many orders of magnitude, with peak per capita power use in developing countries reaching tens of thousands of watts per individual (Moses & Brown 2003). This additional “non-metabolic” power use is provided principally by fossil fuels. Typically, as power use increases, the system is thought to gain selective advantage, whatever measure of power use might be employed. Ecologists use net productivity, evolutionary biologists use reproductive fitness, and economists use profit; we can understand any one of these as a measure of efficient power use (Vermeij 2004). Better performance in any of these areas, then, might result in a more viable economic entity, be it a “natural” organismal, populational or ecological entity, or a “cultural” economic/financial entity. (That increased viability may be transient depending on environmental change, which is basically how natural selection brings about evolutionary change.) High power-use economic systems have shown, at least in recent historical time, a great selective advantage. Higher profits result in greater ability to store and cycle energy, or its representation as money. Political power in today’s world scales with the ability to cycle resources and energy, or economic well-being. However, there must be some limit to the selective advantage for these kinds of material measures of power use. If nothing else, common sense tells us that too much accumulation of power in one place creates an extremely non-selective entity called an explosion. But even, outside the explosive range, as entities accumulate physical wealth through so-called efficient power use, they reach a point where quality of life, and very likely other aspects that lead to strong selective advantage, are diminished. Daly and Farley (2004) show how, past approximately 1950, increases in U.S. per capita gross national product (GNP) and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 41

20/04/2020 14:23

42  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability family income have not correlated with overall increases in life satisfaction. In fact, in recent times, overall satisfaction in monetarily rich Northern countries and regions has declined despite continued increases in financial measures of performance (Costanza et al. 2014; Frolich & Guevara 2015). Also, increases in economic wealth in the population are almost always accompanied by decreases in birth rates (Moses & Brown 2003), showing that the various measures of power use might naturally counteract each other. Once economic necessities are met, non-economic cycling of energy or spiritual power may be a more important contributor to overall well-being. Most sustainability efforts have focused on reducing economic power use among the wealthy and perhaps sustainably developing more power use, or at least greater access to power, among the poor. However, these efforts assume that reducing economic power use will come as a sacrifice. As Baldwin (1962) points out, though, the only thing repressed people want is power, and they may not want it on the same economic terms. Increased overall life fulfillment for individuals, and well-being among the population as a whole, might only be possible when the financially wealthy classes are convinced that they could (should?) unconditionally surrender their economic power and replace it with an even greater value of non-economic or spiritual power—the path to enlightenment!

THE MATERIAL–SPIRITUAL ENERGY BINARY—AN EXAMPLE, AGAIN FROM FOOD To return to our rhetorical question, does the high-Andean chaucha potato retain its spiritual energy when vast amounts of extra-metabolic, fossil-fuel-based, high-tech, transportation, storage, packaging and preparation have brought it to the plate of a customer at a haute cuisine restaurant in one of the world’s great urban centers? Or does it embody a different material–spiritual balance when it is harvested from a family chagra directly to a clay pot on the kitchen tulpa from where it is served? Urbanization worldwide, regardless of cultural constraints, leads to heavier fossil fuel contribution, and thus higher power use, in food provisioning. The local cultural basis for diet, especially what staples form the diet base of “foodies,” may greatly affect this pattern (Heron & Waters 2008). As we mentioned, the human diet of about 2000–2500 calories daily provides the energy for our daily 130 watt power use. However, in “developed” countries and economies, provisioning that 2500 calories—growing and transporting it—involves thousands of calories of fossil fuel “subsidies.” The amount of fossil fuel input will vary tremendously depending on the particular food item and how it is provisioned. Home vegetable garden products may have little or almost no fossil fuel subsidy, although this depends greatly on how the garden is managed. Factory-raised animal products transported long distances may have very high fossil fuel subsidies. Moreover, in the age of assembly lines, a simple box of yogurt would have components made in China, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil and Hawai’i, all of them packed in plastics produced from oil from the Middle East and eventually sold, perhaps in England. Extreme contributions of fossil fuel energy to food production and distribution may be a North American phenomenon related to the vast heartland breadbasket geography. However, urbanization worldwide, regardless of cultural constraints, leads to heavier fossil fuel contribution, and thus higher power use, in food provisioning. The local cultural

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 42

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  43 basis for diet, especially what staples form the diet base of “foodies,” may greatly affect this pattern (Heron & Waters 2008). In the sustainability paradigm, “food security” is often presented as an ideal measure of performance. It is an interesting concept that incorporates both the economist’s financial profit measure as well as the ecologist’s net productivity measure of performance. Solutions to food provisioning and increases in production are often provided by power-use heavy sectors of the economy. Green revolution technologies and the forced distribution of famine relief supplies show the success of power intensive agricultural production in terms of short-term selective forces. However, non-economic, or “spiritual” measures of fulfillment or well-being may require recognition of the local cultural base for diet, including the so-called “sacred” foods, and the long-term selective advantage may go to lower power use approaches, such as how gardening can provide “food security” but, above all, “food sovereignty.” The ability to buy food can be stored as money. And, to some extent, the food itself can be stored using power-dependent technologies such as refrigerators, cans and nitrogenrooms. However, despite these abilities, high power-use humans may also tend towards storing food energy in their own organism as accumulated fat reserves. Obesity should scale with high economic performance (profit well-being) related to food provisioning. The trade-off with non-economic or spiritual well-being may explain morbid or healthdetrimental obesity prevalent in the Global North. Green Revolution agriculture uses energy inputs to increase production by faster cycling of energy. More power input results in greater production output. Eventually, however, the nutritional value of the product may decrease, even as its weight or quantity increases. Again, lower power-use production techniques may create a “spiritually” and nutritionally more satisfying product. The modern supermarket may be a classic demonstration of this effect. At some point, the number of products to choose from, and the vast fossil fuel subsidy to their production and distribution, detract from the actual nutritional and spiritual satisfaction that their culinary potential might represent. We see this today with a movement, among spiritually thoughtful individuals, towards local food provisioning or “localvory,” and the recognition that freshness and ease of access may be a key component of a healthy and fulfilling diet (Heron & Waters 2008). One of the most satisfying ways to achieve more spiritual well-being from the food we eat is re-establishing the co-evolutionary domesticate relationship in our homes, perhaps by growing a vegetable garden or keeping chickens in our backyard. The reality of provisioning billions of people means that mass agricultural production will be a long-term necessity. However, home food production may alleviate some of the loss of spiritual well-being that accompanies provisioning through strictly financial arrangements, thereby bringing a much needed cultural and spiritual basis back to the diet. Part of a geography of sustainability must take into account this binary between material-based and spiritual-based power use.

WHERE IS OUR FUTURE—THE CARBON–SILICON BINARY As we become more fully integrated with the silicon-based smart devices that permeate our lives, we also become an increasingly map-reliant species. Many aspects of our digital lives, and our digital interactions can be understood as mapping, from the way we search through the geographical space of the internet, to the way we organize computer

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 43

20/04/2020 14:23

44  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability desktops and cloud-storage in tiny map-style folders for our images and text, to the way we organize multitudes of information from myriad sources, to even, of course, the way we navigate through the world while receiving instructions from a talking, real-time map. It is no accident that all the digital “Tech Giants” are very interested in mapping as well as transport. Google, the company that has taken the lead in maps that organize our digital lives, is investing heavily in all self-driving cars through their subsidiary Waymo. The race for internet and high-tech dominance will be won by the company or entity that fully maps the geographical space of our world—from every outdoor feature to the inside of every building (Farman 2010). Working out the relationship between how we navigate through the digital-silicon world and how we navigate through our real-carbon world is going to be one of the great challenges for the twenty-first century. Online interactive digital maps, digitally-based ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber, and scattered, untethered rental bikes and electric scooters, like Lyme and Byrd, are just the start. We can now easily search virtually all plane, train and boat routes, their costs, and where cars can be obtained in a dizzying array of online services. We can even live-track every ship on the seas and every plane in the skies on any internet-linked screen device. Streamlining our carbon-body mobility through the use of digital-map-scale devices will increasingly dominate how we live our lives. This will even come into our buildings, as smart-home/smart-building controls and appliances become ubiquitous, and onto the micro-scale of our body’s internal workings as digital-carbon hybrid robot swarms enter into our blood to find and repair our body‘s ailments. But every aspect of this carbon–silicon integration comes with a risk of throwing the potential binaries of urbanization, and the grand binary trade-off of the spiritual and material out of balance. The human–natural scale might seem fully skewed away from “nature” by our digital integration. However, some of the greatest online experiences are high-definition, fully immersed, three-dimensional recordings or portrayals of the natural world. And, without a doubt, our ability to appreciate the carbon life around us is enhanced by being able to take a photo of a particular plant or animal, and then have our smart device’s built-in access to image identification AI (artificial intelligence) identify it and provide background information. The urban–rural binary is also starting to close in as we un-carbon and silicon-digitize ourselves. The great advantages of an urban setting, including the social interactions and great educational institutions, are now available without physically moving through a city, but by going there online, from anywhere that we have internet access; or at least being able to visit the great cities of the world’s museums, attractions and more. Not only for pleasure and education, but also for work, many people now commute “digitally” from rural and remote locations. The realities of life in the binary of “developed” North and “developing” South are also being turned upside down. Technological leapfrogging means that landline phones have no legacy value in a developing country, as most people first connect to the phone network through a cell service. This technological leapfrogging leads to economies of infrastructure that can also be seen in smart electric grids that are fully renewable in countries like Ecuador and Costa Rica. As the Global South shows in a myriad of ways that late arrival to digital technology leads to economizing and innovating, we can no longer assume that we have a North–South trendline in development.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 44

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  45 Finally, the wealth and poverty binary is also flattened as we become increasingly digitalized. No longer are all the economically wealthiest people in the world from the North. Online, it can be very difficult to know someone’s material wealth. And the instant access, via portals like YouTube, Instagram or SnapChat, to put oneself in front of the entire world’s billions of digitally connected people at very low cost, means that fame and artistic recognition is more and more democratically accessible (Wesch 2008). At the same time, people around the globe and across economic classes are increasingly recognizing the value in spiritual wealth. Striving for more money at the expense of all else seems to be lost on a new generation that is mostly interested in having enough economic wealth to provide the basic necessities and maintain their connection to the internet. The other material “trappings” have limited appeal. For a geography of sustainability, we must look at how the carbon–silicon binary will play out as this century unfolds. Without a doubt, the above portrayal neglects the extent to which commerce and material consumption dominate people’s digital and online lives, with shopping taking a huge amount of web space. However, the potential to find spiritual fulfillment through our integration with the digital-technical world is immense and we must, as sustainability geographers, give attention to those elements of the virtual-digitalsilicon world that enhance sustainability in the real-analog-carbon world.

CONCLUSION: MAPPING THE PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL IN AN AGE OF DIGITALIZATION AND URBANIZATION A look at the most basic of geography concepts—continents—sheds light on how our binaries can help make sense of where a geography of sustainability can take us in today’s world. In standard U.S. geography education, we learn that the world is comprised of seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and Antarctica. In South America standard geography education, this is reduced to five with North and South America united as “America” and Europe and Asia united as “Eurasia.” From a Global South point of view, the physical observation of the land masses is what matters, since there is no water division between North and South America. Even if the human-built Panama Canal is to be accepted as a land mass division that justifies the U.S. version of two Americas, North and South America are not divided at the canal. Mexico is often included as part of North America, with a recognition that it doesn’t necessarily belong “culturally” and what to do with Central America has always been a problem. The only justification for geographically dividing the Americas is a cultural one, mostly based on the post-Colombian colonial conquest, and even that argument is falling apart as large parts of North America are being re-colonized by descendants of their original Spanish-speaking colonizers (Lewis & Wigen 1997). A physical division between Europe and Asia is even harder to justify. Again, a desire to set off the dominant Western culture with its roots in Europe is the only way to justify creating two separate continents out of the Eurasian land mass. In this case, Russia, central Asia and the Baltic region are hard to fit into either of the supposed continents. In today’s world we can so actively move through a digital map, be it Google Earth or any other interactive application, that perhaps we have no need for “defining,” academically and scholastically, how many continents are on this earth. Anyone with a

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 45

20/04/2020 14:23

46  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability smart-phone and an internet connection can find and define for themselves the continents through any of the fantastic interactive online digital maps. This is a global-scale example of how physical geography becomes integrated into our carbon–silicon binary interaction in a way that breaks down past understandings. In daily life, we find ourselves navigating through the world, on foot and in our vehicles, while constantly getting directions, both visual and voice, from a traffic-advising, route-optimizing digital map update. In a true geography of sustainability, we must consider how dramatically this carbon–silicon binary is going to change, at every scale, the way we physically understand, navigate and absorb the reality of the world around us. In the cultural world, the carbon–silicon binary is also redefining how we understand who we are geographically. Here, the pace of change in how we define our cultural spaces, what kind of language we use, how tribes are re-oriented through the digital media, its effect on local, national and global politics, ways in which deeply seated concepts like ­religion are changing, and what it means to be culturally spiritual takes on a new ­dimension, making this an overwhelming shift into a new way of understanding. A cultural geography of sustainability must start with a deep dive into what it will mean to be human as we integrate into a digitally connected worldwide ether. The ease with which physical geography, from local to global, is altered by a fully scalable interactive digital map is further amplified by the scale of cultural realignment that the digital interconnection is bringing about. It could be argued that local cultural norms are reinforced at the micro-neighborhood level, just as easily as it could be argued that full globalization is coming about through our carbon–silicon binary selves. A full exploration of the topic of cultural realignment through the carbon–silicon binary is beyond the scope of the current work, but is one that must be addressed as we contemplate what a true geography of sustainability means. Our friend’s four-year-old, swiping at the giant screen, is the epitome of the twentyfirst-century high-energy urbanized human. The future that awaits them will re-align basic concepts that have driven our geographic understanding of who we are, both physically and culturally. The material and the spiritual will continue to merge and play off each other as physical consumption becomes less important to a new generation of silicon–carbon cyborgs. A geography of sustainability will require examining how this realignment of fundamental concepts affects human quality of life. Fulfillment, or plenitude, or happiness, have always been illusive concepts. Within a geography of sustainability, we must re-examine what the principal contributions to quality of life are. By recognizing the need for balance among such fundamental binaries as the human– natural, Global South–Global North, urban–rural, wealth–poverty, spiritual–material and carbon–silicon, we take the first strides towards a geography of sustainability that can be applied to our urbanizing and digitalizing world.

REFERENCES Baldwin, J. 1962. The Fire Next Time. New York: Dell Publishing. Balée, W. 2014. Historical ecology and the explanation of diversity: Amazonian case studies, pp. 19–33. In: L.M. Verdade, M.C. Lyra-Jorge & C.I. Pina (eds) Applied Ecology and Human Dimensions in Biological Conservation. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. Barnhart, M.G. 1997. Ideas of nature in an Asian context. Philosophy East and West, 47(3), 417–432.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 46

20/04/2020 14:23

A binary South to North world: the geography of sustainability  47 Birch, P.R., Bryan, G., Fenton, B., Gilroy, E.M., Hein, I., Jones, J.T. . . . Toth, I.K. 2012. Crops that feed the world 8: Potato: are the trends of increased global production sustainable? Food Security, 4(4), 477–508. Bloom, D.E., Canning, D. & Fink, G. 2008. Urbanization and the wealth of nations. PGDA Working Paper No. 30. Retrieved on November 14, 2014 from: Bradshaw, J. E., Bryan, G. J., & Ramsay, G. 2006. Genetic resources (including wild and cultivated Solanum species) and progress in their utilisation in potato breeding. Potato Research, 49(1), 49–65. Carrión, F. & Hanley, F.M. (eds) 2005. Urban Regeneration and Revitalization in the Americas: Towards a Stable State. Washington, DC: The Wilson Center. Castles, S. & Miller, M.J. 2003. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. New York: The Guilford Press. CHD North America. 2017. Expert evaluates the Mexican restaurant industry, the second most popular menu type in the USA. Retrieved on July 1, 2018 from​ -mexican-restaurant-industry-second-popular-menu-type-usa/. Cohen, J.E. 2003. Human population: The next half century. Science, 302(5648), 1172–1175. Costanza, R., Kubiszewski, I., Giovannini, E., Lovins, H., McGlade, J., Pickett, K.E. . . . Wilkinson, R. 2014. Development: Time to leave GDP behind. Nature News, 505(7483), 283. Crosby, A.W. 2003. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Vol. 2). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. Daly, H.E. & Farley, J. 2004. Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications. Washington, DC: Island Press. Denevan, W.M. 2011. The Pristine Myth revisited. The Geographical Review, 101(4), 576–591. Dove, M.R. & Kammen, D. 2015. Science, Society and the Environment: Applying Anthropology and Physics to Sustainability. Oxford: Routledge. Doxiadis, C.A. 1968. Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements. New York: Oxford University Press. Doxiadis, C.A. 1974. Ecumenopolis: The Inevitable City of the Future. Athens, Greece: Athens Center of Ekistics. Elbow, P. 1993. The uses of binary thinking. Journal of Advanced Composition, 13(1) (Special Issue: Philosophy and Composition Theory), 51–78. Elkins, P. & Max-Neef, M. 1992. Real Life Economics. Oxford: Routledge. Endres, A.B. & Endres, J.M. 2009. Homeland security planning: What Victory Gardens and Fidel Castro can teach us in preparing for food crises in the United States. Food & Drug LJ, 64, 405–412. Farman, J. 2010. Mapping the digital empire: Google Earth and the process of postmodern cartography. New Media & Society, 12(6), 869–888. Frolich, L.M. & Guevara, E. 2015. Buen Vivir and “The Good Life”: A South–North binary perspective on the indigenous, the sacred, and their conservation, pp. 67–91. In: F.O. Sarmiento & S. Hitchner (eds) Indigenous Revival and Sacred Sites Conservation. New York: McGraw-Hill. Glacken, C.J. 1967. Traces on the Rhodian Shore: Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press. Green, M. 2014. What the Social Progress Index can reveal about your country. Ted Talks. Retrieved on November 14, 2014 from: your_country. Hall, P. 2014. Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design Since 1880, Fourth Edition. West Sussex, UK: Blackwell. Harari, Y.N. 2016. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. New York: Random House. Heron, K. & Waters, A.L. 2008. Slow Food Nation’s Come to the Table: The Slow Food Way of Living. New York: Rodale. Johnson, S. 2006. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. New York: Penguin. Kellert, S.R. 1995. Concepts of nature East and West, pp. 103–121. In: M.E. Soule & G. Lease (eds) Reinventing Nature? Responses to Postmodern Deconstruction. Washington, DC: Island Press. Lewis, M.W. & Wigen, K. 1997. The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography. Berkeley: University of California Press. Lovins, A. 2011. Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green. Mann, C.C. 2006. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. New York: Knopf Publishing. Max-Neef, M. 1989. Human Scale Development Conception Application and Further Reflections. Lanham, MD: Apex Press. McAuliffe, K. 2016. This is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate our Behavior and Shape Society. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Mingione, E. 1996. Urban Poverty and the Underclass. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Mogk, J.E., Wiatkowski, S., & Weindorf, M.J. 2010. Promoting urban agriculture as an alternative land use

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 47

20/04/2020 14:23

48  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability for vacant properties in the city of Detroit: Benefits, problems and proposals for a regulatory framework for successful land use integration. Wayne Law Review, 56, 1521. Morley, S.G. 1975. An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs (Vol. 57). Willenhall, UK: Courier Corporation. Moses, M.E., & Brown, J.H. 2003. Allometry of human fertility and energy use. Ecology Letters, 6(4), 295–300. Odum, H.T. 1996. Scales of ecological engineering. Ecological Engineering, 6, 7–19. Perlman, J.E. 1979. The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Pollan, M. 2001. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-eye View of the World. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Ramos, N.E. 2000. La biodiversidad en el mejoramiento genético de la papa. Cochabamba, Bolivia: Plural editores. Rosling, H. 2010. Hans Rosling and the magic washing machine. Retrieved on November 14, 2014 from https:// Transcript at magic_washing_machine​/transcript?language=en. Sarmiento, F.O. 2003. Impacto humano en los paisajes tropandinos [Human impact on tropandean landscapes], pp. 561–580. In: F. Sarmiento (ed.) Montañas del Mundo: Una Prioridad Global con Perspectivas Latinoamericanas [Mountains of the World: A Global Priority with Latin American Perspectives]. Editorial Abya-Yala, Quito. Sarmiento, F.O. 2012. Contesting Páramo: Critical Biogeography of the Northern Andean Highlands. Charlotte, NC: Kona Publishers. Sarmiento, F.O. and Viteri, X. 2015. Discursive heritage: Sustaining Andean cultural landscapes amidst environmental change, pp. 73–92. In: A. St Claire, K. Taylor, & N. Mitchell (eds) Cultural Landscapes: Preservation Challenges in the 21st Century. New York: Routledge. Satterthwaite, D. 2003. The links between poverty and the environment in urban areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 590(1), 73–92. Sauer, C.O. 1969. Seeds, Spades, Hearths and Herds: The Domestication of Animals and Foodstuffs. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Schlosser, W., Schmidt-Kaler, T. & Milonem E.F. 1991. Binary Star Systems: Challenges of Astronomy: Hands-on Experiments for the Sky and Laboratory. New York: Springer. Sellars, R.W. 1997. Preserving Nature in the National Parks: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Slater, D. 1995. Challenging Western visions of the global: The geopolitics of theory and North–South relations. The European Journal of Development Research 7(2), 366–388. Thone, F. 1943. Victory Gardens. Science News Letter 43(12), 188. UN-DESA. 2014. World Urbanization Prospects. Report from the United Nations Population Division. New York: United Nations. Vermeij, G.J. 2004. Nature: An Economic History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Wesch, M. 2008 (July 26). An anthropological introduction to YouTube. Retrieved on July 9, 2018, from https:// WHO. 2014. World Health Organization Urban Population Growth. Retrieved on November 15, 2014 from Wilson, A. 1991. The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez. Toronto: Between The Lines. Wratten, E. 1995. Conceptualizing urban poverty. Environment and Urbanization, 7(1), 11–38. Zimmerman, C.C. 1926. The migration to towns and cities. Journal of Sociology, 32, 450–455.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 48

20/04/2020 14:23

3.  Sustainable development and the concept of scale Bernard Debarbieux and Jörg Balsiger

INTRODUCTION Scale is one of those concepts scientists rarely spend much time second-guessing. In the natural and social sciences alike, scale is most often seen as an intrinsic feature of observation and analysis. It is also commonly used when relating actions or policies to jurisdictional perimeters. Yet the meaning and use of scale are largely taken for granted, considered unproblematic (Herod and Wright 2002). Discussions of sustainable development are no exception: diagnosis, prognostication, and recommendation regularly materialize without extensive reflection on scale beyond the well-trodden local–global dichotomy. This disregard ignores a lively debate that took place during the 2000s on the conceptual value and theoretical implications of the notion of scale. Often summarized under the heading “politics of scale”, the debate was grounded in political economic approaches (mostly in geography) to the study of socio-economic issues revealing shifts in so-called “power geometries” (Swyngedouw 2004). While the debate on scale subsequently impacted scholarship on environmental issues (Young 2002) and political ecology (Neumann 2009), it has so far barely dealt with sustainable development itself. Our contribution in this chapter is to address this gap by outlining a reflection on the scaling of sustainability. In so doing, we build on one of the central tenets of the earlier scale debate, namely a constructivist point of view and a focus on scale as a category of scientific, political and social practices that results from action and discourse (Moore 2008). We further question the dominant invocation of hierarchical, institutional levels for analysing sustainable development and invite researchers, social actors and policy makers to take into account more complex and nuanced perspectives that point to horizontal and network dimensions of sustainable development. We argue that paying attention to scale in the discussion and practice of sustainable development is important for at least two reasons. First, since the pursuit of sustainable development consistently involves numerous and diverse actors, taking explicit account of the scale of a given sustainable development initiative can help ensure that the voice of all actors with legitimate stakes are heard and taken into account. Second, because sustainable development constitutes the integration of different sectors (biodiversity, transport, agriculture, energy, education, etc.), careful consideration of scale can be useful when identifying contradictions, evaluating trade-offs and managing conflict. The argument we present in this chapter proceeds as follows. The next section introduces sustainable development as a global concept that is both the source and outcome of rescaling processes. We then take a closer look at how scaling has been used, suggesting that limiting analysis to processes of scaling up or scaling down misses much of the picture, and outlining the main reasons why this is so. The following two sections present, respectively, a way to combine the concept of scaling with framing and a way to think 49

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 49

20/04/2020 14:23

50  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability about the relationship between scales and networks. The penultimate section illustrates the consequences of this combination through an examination of sustainable development in two different settings: cities and mountains. We conclude with some thoughts on implications for practice and ideas for future research.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS A GLOBAL REFRAMING OUTCOME AND TOOL The history of sustainable development as a concept closely mirrors the emergence of efforts to frame analysis and recommendations at the global scale. The early milestones of this scaling can be found in the early 1970s, a decade before the adoption of the phrase itself, when NASA pictures of the earth taken from space became an instant harbinger of a new planetary awareness, and the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth (Meadows et al. 1972) and the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972 made headlines around the world. The term was first used in the World Conservation Strategy published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 1980 and became popularized at the end of the decade with Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report), the landmark report issued by the United Nations World Commission for Environment and Development (United Nations 1987). The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro put the notion at the very core of the international community’s reflections and recommendations. During the following 25 years, the concept was consolidated as a major reference, if not a guideline, upheld in global conferences – especially the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg and the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (nicknamed “Rio120” and held again in Rio de Janeiro) – as well as the action plans of major global organizations such as the World Bank. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the concept has assumed a central place in stimulating action “of critical importance for humanity and the planet” (United Nations 2015). The framing of sustainable development as a global issue has been the combined result of two scaling processes, one that entails the scaling up of constituent issues and one that relates to the identification of new issues at the global scale from the outset. The first process (scaling up) can be illustrated with reference to concerns over poverty and deforestation that appeared in the nineteenth century. In both cases, increased national awareness was linked to the experiences of industrializing societies, in this case the impact of energy and building demands on forest resources and the socio-economic consequences of rural destabilization and rapid urbanization. The two phenomena are of course much more complex, but the point here is that public policy issues found today on sustainable development agendas originally manifested at local and national levels. The scaling up of these issues took decades, as developments such as nature conservation, the emergence of welfare states and decolonization found legislative approval around the world, spurred by diverse patterns of policy transfer and policy diffusion. Indeed, government officials and scientific experts could build on extensive experience by the time they undertook to

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 50

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  51 rephrase and reframe traditional concerns for inclusion in global sustainable development discourse. The second process (the framing of emerging issues at the global scale from the outset) can be illustrated with the cases of the ozone hole and global warming. Formulated for the first time during the 1970s and 1980s, these two environmental problems had not previously been identified below the global scale. It is true that related issues were known and discussed under different names (e.g. air pollution or desertification), but they were rephrased and embedded in new vocabulary thanks to the collection and analysis of new types of data at the global scale. Their initial framing as global problems was also facilitated by the fact that problems could be caused in one place but their consequences observed somewhere else. As a consequence, the global scale is now upheld as the most relevant scale for observation, diagnosis and decision making: global problems require global solutions appears to have become a “new” old adage. Regardless of whether emerging problems have appeared on the global agenda by means of scaling up processes or of an initial global framing, these problems, whose histories of identification have been widely analysed in various disciplines and for various issues (see, e.g. Debarbieux and Rudaz 2015; Litfin 1994), have become associated with the concept of sustainable development as an overall framework for devising solutions to these same problems. While sustainable development can be considered an outcome of reframing processes that scale problems and solutions up to (or originating at) the global scale, it has at the same time become a tool for scaling down from the global scale. Most of the major initiatives designed to consolidate sustainable development as a global principle have unfolded inside the United Nations and its specialized agencies. It should therefore come as no surprise that even as states contribute to a global sustainability discourse, the responsibility for implementing sustainable development would ultimately lie with states (and their constituent parts). For example, the final declarations of the Johannesburg and Rio120 conferences make repeated reference to the national, subnational and local as the main institutional scales. To take but one of numerous examples of this kind, Morocco illustrates how global norms are transferred to the national scale in order to demonstrate how the country participates in international mobilization (and is able to take advantage of international opportunities) around sustainable development: the introduction to the final document of the 2015–2020 Moroccan National Sustainable Development Strategy adopted in 2011 considers it to be “a concrete reply to international commitments of Morocco and a way of getting recognition of donors and the international community” (Stratégie Nationale de Développement Durable, Ministère de l’Energie, des mines et de l’Environnement, Gouvernement du Maroc 2017; authors’ translation). Scaling down is not limited to a transfer from the global to national levels. Based on the common idea that sustainable development initiatives are more effective at the local level (for a critical view, see Brown and Purcell 2005), or following decentralization trends, several states have also implemented an internal downscaling of their sustainable development policies, requiring or encouraging subnational authorities and/or cities to adopt their own sustainable development visions and plans, for example through Local Agenda 21 (Brodhag 2005; Brodhag and Talière 2006; Gibbs and Jonas 2000, 2001; Lafferty and Eckerberg 2013).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 51

20/04/2020 14:23

52  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Limitations of the Upscaling/Downscaling Model Though useful for tracing vertical shifts of authority along a continuum between centralization and devolution, a narrow view of scaling sustainable development practices that only considers upscaling and downscaling is neither fully relevant nor sufficient. Treating sustainable development exclusively (even primarily) as a feature of territorial policies and relations between territorial levels greatly oversimplifies and distorts the spatial and scalar issues and processes related to sustainable development. Below we elaborate four key limitations of the model. First, the upscaling/downscaling perspective focuses on a strictly territorial, vertical, and (‘Russian doll like’) hierarchical approach to sustainable development; it is fixated on institutional levels rather than on scales broadly speaking: the global level correlates to an international regime, while downscaling processes are seen to proceed through increasingly more local territorial levels (states, provinces, districts, municipalities) where variants of Local Agenda 21 can be adopted. Arrangements of institutional levels are of course crucial for understanding sustainable development policy making; however, they are not the only forms of scalar processes that should be seriously taken into account. A much wider range of meanings of scale (scale-as-size, scale-as-level, scale-as-functional-scope) as used by the various stakeholders, especially scientists, needs to be taken into account when analysing sustainable development. Second, the upscaling/downscaling model does not sufficiently recognize autonomy at any specific political level. In particular, it has a tendency to view the local level as little more than the end-of-the-pipe in sustainable development policy making within a purely hierarchical system of dependence. On the contrary, research has shown that local initiatives can directly adopt global norms without steering or guidance from national or subnational levels (e.g. cities implementing international treaties such as on climate change); conversely, local actors may directly influence international rulemaking, bypassing national governments or even influencing national governments via pressure from above (the famous boomerang pattern of influence stipulated by Keck and Sikkink 1998). In general, multidimensional domains are often subject to complex multilevel architectures of separate but interlinked regulatory sites that constitute contested arenas of cooperation, norms diffusion and policy learning (Ansell and Balsiger 2011). The concept of glocalization (Robertson 1995), which denotes the local institutionalization of a global trend, is useful for understanding sustainable development. But, more importantly, a local sustainable development agenda or other local initiative can take shape without explicit connection to any global or national policy. During the last decades, we have been witnessing the rise of such initiatives in various fields: the so-called “territorialists” have promoted urban projects described as “sustainable selfdevelopment projects”, denying any capacity to actors other than the people living there to act in this direction (Magnaghi 2005). Several actors in Europe and North America have initiated alternative food systems guided by sustainability objectives in order to fight environmental, social and health problems generated by industrial food production, global supply chains and multinational business, without acting under the recommendations of any global or national agenda (Goodman et al. 2012; this example is further developed below). It is thus highly reductionist to think of local sustainable development initiatives as miniatures of regional or national initiatives. Sustainable development is not

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 52

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  53 fractal (Godard, 1994); its characteristics vary tremendously from place to place, from scale/level to scale/level. Third, the upscaling/downscaling model is based on the idea that international regimes are only defined by state coalitions or consensus (or power relations between states), that action for sustainability is mainly shaped by international recommendations and state policies, and that it is organized in the public sphere. While this does not leave much room for stakeholders other than states and international organizations, it is well known that many other types of stakeholders – private companies, scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, celebrities – have played important roles in defining sustainable development. Indeed, it is not so easy to assign companies, scientists or NGOs to a single institutional level or even to some kind of scale (nor is it easy to determine what kind of scale they promote when they engage in sustainable development initiatives). Even where the role of civil society is called for (i.e. in both Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030), interaction is supposed to focus on their respective governments, thus ignoring that civil society is able to organize itself and to influence policies and practices in various, including unconventional, ways. This third limitation illustrates the tendency of many analysts of sustainable development (and some of its promotors at the global scale) to fall into what John Agnew (1994) has called the “territorial trap”, i.e. to pay exclusive attention to territorial actors (states, inter-state organizations, sub-state institutions) when dealing with complex arrangements of stakeholders or to look at all socio-political and socioeconomic processes with territorial lenses. Fourth, a view of sustainable development scaling that posits vertical embeddedness as the principal axis of transposition misses the multidimensional character at the heart of sustainable development. Because each of these domains – think of them as scales – has its own functional logic and specific spatialities, it is virtually impossible to unify them in a single territory. A concept that is more useful for capturing the scalar dynamics of sustainable development is heterarchy, which refers to situations where overlapping elements lack a clear ranking and have varying degrees of connectivity (Balsiger 2012; Crumley 1995).

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS SCALES AND FRAMES Different paths can be followed when trying to escape these forms of oversimplification and to improve our understanding of sustainable development scaling. These paths share in common the idea that scale (as size, as level, as scale-level, or as relation) is shaped by discourse and action, requiring broader or alternative conceptions of the spatiality/ scalarity of collective action from those illustrated in the first section of this chapter. In this section, we suggest that scaling (as a tool for spatializing problems and solutions) be considered as inextricably linked with framing (as a generic mode of defining problems and foreseeing solutions), as hinted at above. Sustainable Development as a Framing Practice The concepts of frame and framing emerged in political sociology and political science in the late 1980s, particularly through the work of David Snow and Robert Benford (1988, 1992). As specialists of collective action and social movements, they focused on framing

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 53

20/04/2020 14:23

54  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability as a means to “assign meaning to and interpret relevant events and conditions in ways that are intended to mobilize potential adherents and constituents, to garner bystander support, and to demobilize antagonists” (Snow and Benford 1988, p. 198). They also proposed a clear distinction between three “functions” of framing: (1) diagnostic framing, which points at “some event or aspect of social life as problematic and in need of alteration”; (2) prognostic framing, which draws a solution from the respective problem; and (3) motivational framing, which is a “call to arms or rationale for engaging in ameliorative action” (1988, p. 199). Similarly, Rein and Schön (1993, pp. 146–148) define framing as “a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting, and making sense of a complex reality to provide guideposts for knowing, analysing, persuading, and acting” and, more generally, that a frame “is a perspective from which an amorphous, ill-defined, problematic situation can be made sense of and acted on”. From these perspectives, sustainable development can be considered as a frame and a way of framing, that is, a particular way of pointing at a problem and creating the problem at the same time, a way of shaping solutions or alternatives, of saying what is good and what is bad. Sustainable Development as a Scaling Practice Scale “is not simply an external fact awaiting discovery but a way of framing conceptions of reality” (Delaney and Leitner, 1997, p. 94). In other words, scale is not an intrinsic quality of space and spatial relations but has to be understood as a spatial modality of framing. This holds true in scientific discourse as well as in socio-political practice. Scientists use various conceptions of scale and various sets of scales, all more or less strongly derived from the scientific framing of the reality they want to analyse. For social scientists working on issues of governance, as noted above, scale is often synonymous with institutional level. To natural scientists, scale is often a methodological device for focusing on some part of reality, for example when selecting a spatial frame for observation or mapping (biodiversity indicators, socio-economic inequalities, epidemiologic data, etc.). Scale is sometimes considered as the structural level at which biophysical (biotopes, ecosystems, biomes) or social realities (neighbourhoods, urban areas, regions) appear to be organized. In short, scale in this sense is an epistemological construction tied to the observer’s model of understanding. As Sayre (2009, p. 98) wisely notes, “scales required for an analysis depend on the related issue, always particular, at hand”. In other words, scientists do not have a common conception of what is a scale and how to mobilize the notion. Socio-political conceptions are not that different. They also combine institutional levels and spatial frames for describing reality, along with frequent invocations of the “global”, the “regional” or the “local” devoid of any formal explanation of their respective meanings. What makes their rhetorical use of scale different from much scientific work is that the latter mobilize tools, instruments, and analytic models in an effort to render their way of scaling reality scientifically objective. By contrast, mundane use of scale, while often implicit, is always related to the interlocutor’s own framing of reality and intention to exert influence within the social world. As a consequence, “the politics of scale may often take the form of contending ‘framings’” (Delaney and Leitner 1997, p. 95) and the academic analysis of such politics

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 54

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  55 should focus on the “scalar practices of social actors”, not on scale itself as an analytical category (Moore 2008, p. 212). For this reason, Kurtz (2003, p. 894) proposes the concept of “scale frames”, defined as “discursive practices that construct meaningful (and actionable) linkages between the scale at which a social problem is experienced and the scale(s) at which it could be politically addressed or resolved”. In other words, scaling and framing are always entangled. Actors who invoke sustainable development are always simultaneously involved in its framing and its scaling, arguing for and shaping spatial issues and solutions according to their own vision, but also in concert or competition with one another. Scalar framing, beyond being useful to “spatially ‘frame’ problems and solutions”, allows stakeholders to “include or exclude certain actors, legitimate political projects, rework relations of power and coalesce political processes around particular scalar orders” (Moore 2008, p. 218).

CONVERGENCE, ADJUSTMENT AND COMPETITION IN THE SCALE-FRAMING OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT The fact that virtually all territorial organizations are invited to adopt sustainable development strategies and policies (and that many are indeed doing this) implies a convergence, where sustainable development has become a potentially universal way of framing present and future in the sense that full implementation requires universal participation. But this universality and its framing at the global scale also involves stakeholders other than territorial authorities: many multinational corporations (by themselves or within formal associations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development), scientists and their networks, and NGOs have adopted their own sustainable development agendas. What kinds of scale are at stake here? One relates to scale-as-size: the globe as the size at which corporations, organizations and networks may happen to develop. The other relates to scale-as-level: the global level at which all-embracing visions and agendas are defined and for which actors design their own sustainability strategies. The promotion of Partnerships for Sustainable Development in the wake of the 2002 Johannesburg Summit and their implementation at the global scale are a good illustration. This adoption of the global scale of action by a wide set of heterogeneous actors helps explain the success of the global framing of sustainable development. Scholars in different fields have proposed concepts such as transnational advocacy networks (Keck and Sikkink 1998) or global civil society (Lipschutz 1996) to capture the idea that an increasing number of non-territorial actors are engaging at this scale, challenging the common meaning of the global as an inter-state sphere, and promoting alternative conceptions of authority (from hierarchical authority to moral spheres of authority; see Rosenau 2000). In other words, the stakeholders of these global arrangements have either reframed the global scale as an alternative “discursive space” (Ford 2003, p. 129), or they have adjusted to become involved alongside inter-governmental organizations and states in an all-encompassing process aimed at producing a common agenda, thereby transcending institutional levels and heterogeneous networks. The unprecedentedly participatory development of Agenda 2030 can be seen as an example of such cooperation between states, inter-state and non-state actors as well as millions of contributors (Geller 2016).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 55

20/04/2020 14:23

56  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Upscaling and Downscaling Sustainability in Multi-stakeholder Arrangements Beyond the upscaling and downscaling processes proper to state (including sub-state and inter-state) institutions, other processes involving similar or alternative sets of scales are observed within non-state or multi-stakeholder arrangements. Alternative food systems are a good illustration of this. As noted above, the development of such systems since the 1970s has been based on a critique of globalization spearheaded by multinational corporations and global free trade agreements (from GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) to WTO (World Trade Organization)). Alternative food systems have had various priorities – favouring local circuits of production and commercialization (for reducing carbon footprints and promoting social interactions between producers and consumers), limiting intermediaries and ensuring decent remuneration of producers (for contributing to their well-being and acting for socio-economic justice), increasing food quality standards (to fight illnesses frequently associated with industrial food such as obesity and allergies) and providing monetary revenues to small producers living far from markets (for reducing socio-economic inequalities and keeping alive marginal socio-territorial systems). One can easily recognize various ingredients used for framing sustainability during the last decades. What kinds of scale, upscaling and downscaling processes do these alternative food systems promote? To begin with, the reference to the “local” is omnipresent: many of these alternatives have been invented in very specific places and most of them are especially attentive to sustaining local systems of production. However, other scales are also at stake due to upscaling dynamics, especially scale-as-size (often regional, national or transnational) for which alternative private distribution systems have settled, and scale-as-level (state and European Union (EU) for example) at which labels and standards are defined and legalized (municipalities, subnational levels) and at which these kinds of alternatives have been translated into policies (such as the promotion of local products in public services; see Pitt and Jones 2016). Simultaneously, downscaling has occurred (literally speaking) at the initiative of NGOs or private companies when encouraging local producers to adopt standards and norms required to enter alternative networks of distribution. The example of alternative food systems demonstrates how framing and scaling can be combined and how fundamentally political both operations are. A closer look at the role of scientists reveals still further evidence of complex scaling and framing dynamics relating to sustainable development. Scientists have their own way(s) of dealing with scale, but they are also important actors in sustainable development policies and initiatives. They provide conceptual expertise related to the notion of sustainability itself, carry out assessments of (natural, social, economic, or integrated) systems sustainability and sometimes promote alternative or improved practices. Under the term “epistemic communities” popularized by Peter Haas (1990), scholars have shown great interest in the various roles of scientists. As in the case of alternative food systems, this raises questions about their scalar practices. When academic expertise contributes to greater understanding and assessment of (natural, social, economic) systems sustainability as well as the promotion of alternative or improved practices, scientists are keen to rely on scalar systems. However, as noted previously, scientists rarely share a common conception of scale. Instead, when working on specific issues related to sustainable development, they invoke a specific set of scales

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 56

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  57 in accordance with the indicators and data they use, or the way they frame a scientific question in the first place. In the domain of sustainable development, the scales at which problems such as health, poverty problems, gender imbalance, or risks related to climate change are observed differ greatly. The question then becomes whether and how the (huge variety and heterogeneity of) sets of scales adopted by scientists match the scales and networks of actual sustainable development strategies? The most frequent answer is: by simplification. When scientists from different academic fields are willing to contribute to assessing or promoting sustainable development policies, experience shows that they usually adopt a rather simple set of scales. One example of simplification as a strategy for overcoming complexity can be found in a recent report on the assessment of urban sustainability. After recalling the difficulty of taking into account the large variety of scales required by an analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation related to urban biotopes and ecosystems, the authors propose to “choose a scale set (city–region, neighbourhood–district, site–block) that would help in considering scalar aspects of each benefit (of various types of green urban infrastructure) but still be simple enough to allow a general overview” (Dawson et al. 2014, p. 155). Another example is the simplification frequently found when devising indicators for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services that adequately reflect the social and policy dimensions. In a contribution by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the International Council of Scientific Unions to a United Nations General Assembly meeting on sustainable development, the authors suggest that “the task of developing more integrated and scalable indicators will be crucial for SDGs” and that “using indicators that make sense on a local scale and then possible to scale up on a regional and global scale opens up the possibility to engage local stakeholders, citizen groups, indigenous groups and many other knowledge holders in the monitoring, reporting and development of the SDGs” (Norström et al. 2014, p. 4). The demand for sustainable development indicators to be “scalable” suggests that scale does not matter for operationalization, nor does it matter at what scales scientists analyse the related issues.

SCALES OR/AND NETWORKS? Our analysis of scalar practices by various types of stakeholders has so far left aside an important spatial feature, namely that most actors are networks and adopt network practices, even if this is more evident for multinational organizations, social movements or scientific consortia than for state actors. The questions this raises are the following: are scalar practices and network practices two independent dimensions of institutional practices? If not, how are they linked? Is scaling essentially a network activity and networking a scalar activity? To these very general questions, observations of the dynamics of sustainable development initiatives can bring important elements of a response. Before dealing with sustainable development itself, however, it is necessary to stress that territorial institutions such as states or municipalities are also social networks. What constitutes the glue between the various units of a government, an administration, or a territory are the direct and indirect relationships that public officials and inhabitants of a given territory are able to develop. Sustainable development policies illustrate this well. One of the main challenges governments committed to sustainable development

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 57

20/04/2020 14:23

58  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability encounter is how to connect sectoral policies (and administrations) in ways that generate integrated, or at least complementary contributions to overarching sustainability goals. Therefore, the ability of a state to implement sustainability policies relies in large part on its capacity to function as a complex network. A similar logic applies to the downscaling of some policies. States that encourage or force subnational authorities to elaborate sustainable development strategies, thereby activating the hierarchical dimension of scalar organization in public institutions, often devise accompanying measures that emphasize networking such as training, collection and dissemination of best practices, study visits or technical backstopping. The same can be said at the global level: international agreements on sustainability commit states and only states but their elaboration (through negotiations) and implementation (e.g. through peer reviewing of national sustainable development strategies; see Meadowcroft 2007) involve complex networks of diverse actors. Attention to the network dimension of sustainable development policies creates a deeper understanding of their scalar dimension. Networks’ horizontal character contributes not only to the transfer of sustainability practices at upper and lower scale-levels, but also their diffusion at larger scale-sizes. Geographers who have shaped the field of “policy mobilities”, studying the practical modalities of the spatial dissemination of models of policies, have shown how sustainable development policy models have experienced such a mobility: in some cases policy mobility has led to the emergence of ad hoc neologisms such as “Vancouverism”, as stylized, packaged understandings of complex “local” approaches to urban planning, design and redevelopment first analysed in Vancouver, Canada (McCann and Ward 2012). While the network dimension of sustainability is important for all types of actors, it is most prominent among non-state actors. The main reason for this is that, as much of an oversimplification the downscaling/upscaling model may be, it is difficult to ignore the constitutional rules that tie territorial authorities to a specific level (municipality, district, province, etc.) by means of a jurisdictional envelope. In turn, territorial authorities, in contrast to non-state actors, have greater means to seek a fit between the scale of a problem and the scale of a solution.

SCALING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR CITIES AND MOUNTAINS In the previous sections we have drawn attention to the consequences of taking for granted the notion of scale when analysing and practising sustainable development. We have proposed that considering scale through the prism of framing and being attentive to the role of networking practices can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of what has become one of the most important global norms. In this section, we combine our analytical arguments, or focus on more specific ones, to show why and how o ­ bservers consider certain types of geographical objects and associated scales to be especially relevant for sustainable development. We illustrate this with reference to cities and mountains.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 58

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  59 The Scale-Network Issue: Framing and Scaling (Sustainable) Cities There is a wide consensus among scholars and policy makers that cities play a crucial role in sustainable development. With more than 50 per cent of the world population and roughly three-quarters of global economic activity, the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-HABITAT) estimated in 2011 that cities are the source of 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (UN-HABITAT 2011). Consequently, many international initiatives (such as the Habitat programme and Agenda 21) or supranational organizations (such as the EU through the 2007 Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities) have promoted sustainability assessments and the implementation of sustainable development plans for urban areas. In the 2030 Agenda, SDG 11 specifically seeks to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (United Nations 2015; see also Parnell et al. 2014). How can we explain such focused attention, especially when considering cities in comparison with such weighty SDG topics as hunger, poverty, or life on land? For some observers, the reasons are to be sought in the specificity of the object. For others, it is mainly a question of scale. Only a few suggest that both arguments are valuable. The first argument was used during debates on the opportunity of having an urban SDG, for instance in the form “urbanization and urban phenomena touch on all aspects of sustainable development” (Parnell et al. 2014, p. 38). In this view, cities are seen to somehow embody the necessity of integrating all the other SDGs. The second argument was mentioned above when we referred to the popularity of the “local” scale in sustainability projects: social interactions at the local scale and the material condition of daily life of those who interact are said to favour sensitivity to sustainability issues (Moore 2007). Moreover, it is often suggested that cities, being locales inhabited by heterogeneous actors, some being wide open to collaborative practices, are natural laboratories (Evans et al. 2016); both arguments are combined in such a statement. So let us assume that cities are a good context and a good scale-size for sustainability initiatives. But do they teach us anything more in terms of scaling? Does the involvement of numerous urban actors and stakeholders in sustainable development initiatives illustrate upscaling or downscaling processes or other dynamics in the scalar practices of actors? In a recent study based on a panel of 200 large and medium-sized cities across 11 European countries, Reckien and colleagues (2014) showed that 65 per cent have adopted climate change policies at least in terms of mitigation planning (energy savings and efficiency, transport, buildings, etc.), with half of these combining mitigation and adaptation planning (urban planning, water management). The same study shows that the involvement of cities in such plans is not correlated with the existence and ambition of a national plan: if many French, British and German cities seem to take advantage of ambitious national plans, cities in the Netherlands, which often combine mitigation and adaptation plans, do not have a national plan to back their efforts. We are invited to conclude from this study that municipal governments are an innovative milieu for sustainable development initiatives, but not a level activated by downscaling processes. A very popular book has recently made the same argument: Benjamin Barber (2013) attracted some attention when he stated that the future of a sustainable world is in the hands of the mayors of big cities, in part due to their capacity to cope with challenges that states are no longer able to address.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 59

20/04/2020 14:23

60  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability However, here again, it is overly simplistic to explain the commitment to sustainable development by urbanites and city governments as the result of a totally autonomous dynamic driven by the nature and size of cities as a type of place. First, echoing one of Barber’s claims, sustainable development dynamics among urban elites should be seen in the context of strong ties connecting elected representatives and technicians, ties that facilitate the transfer, adaptation or duplication of experiences. It is no coincidence that the so-called “policy mobilities” field has mainly studied urban policies (McCann and Ward 2011; Söderström 2014). Moreover, such ties tend to become more institutionalized over time as national and “transnational municipal networks” (Bulkeley et al. 2003) or “inter-urban networks” (Leitner and Sheppard 2002). Bulkeley and Betsill (2003) have studied one of these networks, Cities for Climate Protection (CCP), a Local Agenda 21 campaign set up in 1993 by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Commenting on this case study from the perspective of a theoretical discussion on the concepts of scale and networks, Bulkeley (2005, p. 880) recalls that such networks are “influential in so far as they shape the range and extent of state action, but are also an important site for the governance of global environmental issues in their own right”. She continues to suggest that “political authority is not confined to territorially delimited entities, such as global regimes and nation-states, but accrues in non-state spaces” (Bulkeley 2005, p. 881). However, based on her analysis of CCP, she insists that “networks have a scalar dimension”, this dimension referring to spatial extension (size) as well as “the ways in which they operate and the ways in which they are framed, configured and crystallised” (p. 888). Bulkeley shows how CCP sought “to rescale climate change as an issue with local causes and consequences” and to “reframe issues which are institutionalized and imagined as local [. . .] and having global dimensions” (p. 893). This discursive process of (local–global) rescaling involves sponsors of the network such as the European Commission and national governments. Yet its translation into action requires the existence of (often nationally defined) judicial tools, even as the CCP “bypasses the nation-state and gives local authorities the opportunity to take a position that may go against that of their national governments (as in the case of Australia and the US)”. This interplay between various institutional scale-levels leads Bulkeley to caution against any polarization of the debate into “scalar” and “non-scalar” perspectives. The CCP illustrates that networks may be part of the politics of scale. CCP “involves attempts to reframe an issue which is usually considered in global terms within practices and institutions which are circumscribed as local, attempts by state and non-state actors to re-hierarchize the relations between different levels of governance in relation to climate change, contests over the appropriate scope and reach of municipal governments, etc.” (pp. 893–895). Last but not least, the participation of scientists should also be highlighted as a parameter in this analysis of the scaling of discourses and actions of sustainable urban development. As noted earlier, one of the challenges scientists face is that the scale at which they carry our their research often does not match the scale at which they become involved as expert practitioners. Hence, scientists who carry out sustainability assessments at urban scales and who foster sustainable development policies regularly find that the level at which the latter are defined and implemented does not fit the complex scalar systems involved in expert analysis of urban sustainability. A group of scientists studying

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 60

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  61 urban sustainability in 39 European cities from 26 countries concluded after five years that “the policy or decision scales differ from the scales for which the (integrated assessment) models were originally developed. The change of scale in integrated assessment modelling approaches involves up- and downscaling of model inputs, model parameters and adaptations of model equations in order to make predictions at the policy scales” (Dawson et al. 2014, p. 20). This disconnect is often reinforced because scientists may have to rely on data provided at an institutional scale (municipalities, urban districts) when studying drivers and effects, making it still more difficult to understand the mutual influence of academic and political scale-levels. The Regional Issue: Framing and Scaling (Sustainable) Mountains Mountain regions are often held up by us as special places characterized by topological and climatological complexity, water and biodiversity richness, climate sensibility, isolation, marginality, inaccessibility and diverse cultural heritages (Balsiger and Debarbieux 2015). Because each of these features has its own spatiality (e.g. water basins, transport corridors, ethnolinguistic distribution), efforts to frame a “mountain scale” can combine them in different ways and have in fact varied around the world (Balsiger and Nahrath 2015). Where mountains are constructed as political objects and institutionalized through policies and projects, scale-as-size and scale-as-level are often confounded, particularly where policy implementation is linked to a devolution to lower administrative levels. Like cities, mountains are seen as natural laboratories for sustainable development yet mountains have not obtained a dedicated SDG in the 2030 Agenda: they are mentioned only three times in targets associated with SDGs 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 15 (Life on Land). Yet mountains have been on the global agenda at least since the 1992 Rio Conference, where countries adopted Agenda 21 with a chapter dedicated to mountains. Two factors explain why mountains have found a place in global sustainable development discourse and practice. First, mountains are specific geographical objects that lend themselves to sustainable development, mainly because policy interest in mountains has always required some effort at policy integration due to the implication of various sectors of the economy. Second, mountains are of relevance to sustainable development because of scale. Even though mountain ranges usually cover large areas and cross national boundaries (scale-as-size), the way mountains are framed in policy relates to a strong local dimension, for example with regard to community-based resource management (scaleas-level) jeopardized by the exposure of local populations to economic and financial globalization (scale-as-relation). In other words, the scale of a mountain or mountain range only makes sense when it is considered in the context of how it is framed. The construction of mountains as a global environmental political object (Rudaz 2011) has involved upscaling and downscaling dynamics, but also more complex processes testifying to the need for a nuanced understanding of the notion of scale. Several European countries established mountain laws in the late nineteenth century. Efforts to scale these up to the regional level date from the 1950s, when the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) was founded with the goal of creating an international treaty to protect the Alps (initially from tourism). An Alpine Convention was ultimately signed in 1991, followed by a Carpathian Convention in 2004, establishing the region (as size and as level) as an appropriate locus for policy and action.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 61

20/04/2020 14:23

62  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability By the mid-1990s, sustainable mountain development was an established policy item at the global and many regional levels. With the designation of 2001 as International Year of Mountains, downscaling processes could also be observed. In numerous countries around the world, national mountain committees newly established for the occasion fostered cross-sectoral dialogue and policy coordination, in some cases leading to the adoption of mountain laws (Kohler et al. 2012). Ultimately upscaling and downscaling processes linked to mountains as a locus of sustainable development intersect with two types of regionalization, each with its own distinct framing. The first type of regionalization evolves around supranational cooperation as a tool that is argued to be specially relevant for the given issue (sustainable development) and level (inter-state), thus loosely following the EU’s 2001 Gothenburg Strategy for Sustainable Development. This type of regionalization is reminiscent of the hierarchical-vertical model introduced at the outset of the chapter and, while found useful in some contexts, dismissed as too simplistic. By contrast, the second type of regionalization entails the identification of ad hoc regions, sometimes called project regions (Debarbieux et al. 2015) or functional regulatory spaces (Varone et al. 2013; see Balsiger and Nahrath 2015 for an application to mountain regions), which relate to a specific issue framing such as sustainable development and entails the creation of ad hoc institutions at the regional level. It is this second type of regionalization that opens the door to a more nuanced treatment of scaling such as we have suggested in this chapter. The first reason this is so is that ad hoc regionalism is typically less formal and thus more open to non-state stakeholders. For Allen and Cochrane (2007, p. 1161), a “region” is “an assemblage of political actors, some public, some private, where elements of central and local government are ‘lodged’ within the region, not acting above or below it”. These participate in the construction of regions, but coming from very different points of departure. While some actors, such as subnational authorities, adhere to strictly jurisdictional scales, others such as transnational NGOs are engaged in ecoregional mobilization (Balsiger 2009) and thus operate in an entirely different scale (note how the term rescaling departs from a vertical, Russian doll-like model, referring rather to a switch in the very logic of a scalar structure). The second reason why ad hoc mountain regionalism provides additional insights into scaling is precisely because such regionalization evolves around functional regions, of which there are many, often overlapping in heterarchical arrangements. A heterarchical view of scaling has significant implications for how sustainable development practices are organized. Unlike in a vertically embedded setting, where horizontal, cross-sectoral integration takes place within given levels (municipal, cantonal, national, international), policy coordination in heterarchies depends much more on non-territorial policy entrepreneurs working at the interstices of transnational functional spaces. Finally, though present in the first type of regionalization, the varied and various roles of scientists are brought into relief in the second type of regionalization, where considerably more time is spent on rescaling efforts. Around the world, regional scientific collectives have contributed to these efforts, but in very different ways (Debarbieux et al. 2014). In their survey of scientific organizing at the scale of mountain ranges, Debarbieux and colleagues identify four kinds of regionality – realist, representational, institutional and socio-political regionality – and suggest that rescaling processes of scientific cooperation correlate with the regional governance model found in a given mountain range. In the Alps and the Carpathians, for instance, there are scientific collectives established as

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 62

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  63 counterparts or formal regional governance initiatives. As a consequence, the scientific framing of the mountain scale mirrors the governance focus of the respective instrument. By contrast, where governance rescaling emerged in the context of EU territorial cohesion programmes, such as in the Jura and the Pyrenees, we find techno-scientific networks that meet specific data and information demands.

CONCLUSION Our point of departure in this chapter was the observation that contemporary discussions of sustainable development have largely ignored the insights from recent debates on the concept of scale. As a consequence, a simplistic view of rescaling limited to vertical authority shifts along jurisdictional levels dominates sustainable development theorizing and practice. To be sure, the continued importance of national sovereignty as an international norm, combined with the inter-governmental nature of the organizations driving the global sustainable development agenda, has meant that implementing global initiatives and programmes such as the 2030 Agenda largely rely on state-based channels and instruments. At the same time, we have argued that too narrow a view of scale can lead to a neglect of actors operating at scales other than those sanctioned in official discourses and covered in mainstream media. Ignoring the full diversity of actors involved in sustainable development creates the added risk of losing sight of spatial logics such actors follow because of the issues they represent. To develop a better understanding of sustainable development through the prism of scale, however, is no easy task because scientists are uncritical in their own use of the concept; conflate scale-as-size, scale-as-level and scale-as-relation; or because the scales they use in their scientific work are not the same as those they face when engaging in concrete practices. Beyond the need to pay greater attention to these differences, we build on the politics of scale literature and suggest two ways for fostering clarity. The first consists of linking the concepts of scale and frame because scales are never just out there to be discovered but rather are the products of social contestation. Paying attention to the strategies actors deploy when framing what they consider appropriate scales for sustainable development can generate pivotal insights of a conceptual and practical nature. The second involves greater recognition of the network dimensions of sustainable development, which in turn facilitates appreciation of its scalar dimensions. The short case studies of cities and mountains are meant to illustrate these points.

REFERENCES Agnew, John (1994), ‘The territorial trap: The geographical assumptions of international relations theory’, Review of International Political Economy, 1 (1), 53–80. Allen, John and Allan Cochrane (2007), ‘Beyond the territorial fix: Regional assemblages, politics and power’, Regional Studies, 41 (9), 1161–1175. Ansell, Chris, and Jörg Balsiger (2011), ‘Circuits of regulation: Transatlantic perspectives on persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disrupting chemicals’, in David Vogel and Johan F. M. Swinnen (eds), Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: The Shifting Roles of the EU, the US and California, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 180–199.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 63

20/04/2020 14:23

64  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Balsiger, Jörg (2009), ‘The impact of ecoregional mobilization on mountain policies in the Swiss Alps and California’s Sierra Nevada’, Journal of Alpine Research/Revue de géographie alpine, 97 (2), 39–59. Balsiger, Jörg (2012), ‘New environmental regionalism and sustainable development in the European Alps’, Global Environmental Politics, 12 (3), 58–78. Balsiger, Jörg, and Bernard Debarbieux (2015), ‘Should mountains (really) matter in science and policy?’, Environmental Science & Policy, 49, 1–7. Balsiger, Jörg, and Stéphane Nahrath (2015), ‘Functional regulatory spaces and policy diffusion in Europe: The case of mountains’, Environmental Science & Policy, 49, 8–20. Barber, Benjamin (2013), If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press. Brodhag, Christian (2005), ‘Stratégies territoriales de développement durable et rôle de l’État’, DATAR (ed.), Territoires 2030, Revue d’études et de prospective, La documentation Française, 2, 7–13. Brodhag, Christian and Sophie Talière (2006), ‘Sustainable development strategies: Tools for policy coherence’, Natural Resources Forum, 30, 136–145. Brown, J. Christopher and Mark Purcell (2005), ‘There’s nothing inherent about scale: Political ecology, the local trap, and the politics of development in the Brazilian Amazon’, Geoforum, 36, 607–624. Bulkeley, Harriet (2005), ‘Reconfiguring environmental governance: Towards a politics of scales and networks’, Political Geography, 24, 875–902. Bulkeley, Harriet and Michele M. Betsill (2003), Cities and Climate Change: Urban Sustainability and Global Environmental Governance, London: Routledge. Bulkeley, Harriet, Anna Davies, Bob Evans, David Gibbs, Kristine Kern and Kate Theobald (2003), ‘Environmental governance and transnational municipal networks in Europe’, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 5 (3), 235–254. Crumley, Carole C. (1995), ‘Heterarchy and the analysis of complex societies’, Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, 6 (1), 1–5. Dawson, Richard, Annemie Wyckmans, Oliver Heidrich, Jonathan Köhler, Stephen Dobson and Efren Feliu (2014), Understanding Cities: Advances in Integrated Assessment of Urban Sustainability, Newcastle, UK: Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research (CESER). Debarbieux, Bernard and Gilles Rudaz (2015), The Mountain: A Political History from the Enlightenment to the Present, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Debarbieux, Bernard, Martin Price and Jörg Balsiger (2015), ‘The institutionalization of European mountain regions’, Regional Studies, 47(10), 1193–1207. Debarbieux, Bernard, Jörg Balsiger, Dusan Djordjevic, Simon Gaberell and Gilles Rudaz (2014), ‘Scientific collectives in region-building processes’, Environmental Science & Policy, 42, 149–159. Delaney, David and Helga Leitner (1997), ‘The political construction of scale’, Political Geography, 16 (2), 93–97. Evans, James, Andrew Karvonen and Rob Raven (eds) (2016), The Experimental City, London and New York: Routledge. Ford, Lucy H. (2003), ‘Challenging global environmental governance: Social movement agency and global civil society’, Global Environmental Politics, 3 (2), 120–134. Geller, Joshua C. (2016), ‘Crowdsourcing global governance: Sustainable development goals, civil society, and the pursuit of democratic legitimacy’, International Environmental Agreements, 16, 415–432. Gibbs, David, and Andrew E. G. Jonas (2000), ‘Governance and regulation in local environmental policy: The utility of a regime approach’, Geoforum, 31 (3), 299–313. Gibbs, David, and Andrew E. G. Jonas (2001), ‘Rescaling and regional governance: The English Regional Development Agencies and the environment’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 19, 269–280. Godard, Olivier (1994), ‘Le développement durable: paysage intellectuel’, Natures, Sciences, Sociétés, 4 (2), 309–322. Goodman, David, E. Melanie DuPuis and Michael K. Goodman (2012), Alternative Food Networks: Knowledge, Practice, and Politics, London and New York: Routledge. Haas, Peter (1990), Saving the Mediterranean: The Politics of International Environmental Cooperation, New York: Columbia University Press. Herod, Andrew, and Melissa W. Wright (eds) (2002), Geographies of Power: Placing Scale, Oxford: Blackwell. IUCN (1980), World Conservation Strategy: Living Resource Conservation for Sustainable Development, Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Keck, Margaret E. and Kathryn Sikkink (1998), Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Kohler, Thomas, Jane Pratt, Jörg Balsiger, Bernard Debarbieux, Gilles Rudaz and Daniel Maselli (2012), Sustainable Mountain Development, Green Economy and Institutions. From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and Beyond. Final Draft for Rio 2012, Bern: Center for Development and Environment.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 64

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable development and the concept of scale  65 Kurtz, Hilda E. (2003), ‘Scale frames and counter-scale frames: Constructing the problem of environmental justice’, Political Geography, 22 (8), 887–916. Lafferty, William M. and Katarina Eckerberg (2013), From the Earth Summit to Local Agenda 21: Working towards Sustainable Development, London: Routledge. Leitner, Helga and Eric Sheppard (2002), ‘“The city is dead, long live the net”: Harnessing European interurban networks for a neoliberal agenda’, Antipode, 34 (3), 495–518. Lipschutz, Ronnie D. (1996), Global Civil Society and Global Environmental Governance: The Politics of Nature from Place to Planet, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Litfin, Karen (1994), Ozone Discourses: Science and Politics in Global Environmental Cooperation, New York: Columbia University Press. Magnaghi, Alberto (2005), The Urban Village: A Charter for Democracy and Local Self-Sustainable Development, London: Zed Books. McCann, Eugene and Kevin Ward (eds) (2011), Mobile Urbanism, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. McCann, Eugene and Kevin Ward (2012), ‘Policy assemblages, mobilities and mutations: Toward a multidisciplinary conversation’, Political Studies Review, 10, 325–332. Meadowcroft, James (2007), ‘National sustainable development strategies: Features, challenges and reflexivity’, Environmental Policy and Governance, 17 (3), 152–163. Meadows, Donella H., Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William W. Behrens III (1972), The Limits to Growth, Washington, DC: Universe Books. Moore, Adam (2008), ‘Rethinking scale as a geographical category: From analysis to practice’, Progress in Human Geography, 32 (2), 203–225. Moore, Steven A. (2007), Alternative Routes to the Sustainable City: Austin, Curitiba, and Frankfurt, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Neumann, Roderick P. (2009), ‘Political ecology: theorizing scale’, Progress in Human Geography, 33 (3), 398–406. Norström, Albert, Hanna Wetterstrand, Maria Schultz, Thomas Elmqvist, Sarah Cornell, Marcus C. Öhman, Tim Daw, Fredrik Moberg, Åsa Persson, Garry Peterson, Johan Rockström and Ellika Hermansson Török (2014), ‘Issue Brief: Integrating social-ecological resilience, biodiversity and ecosystem services into the Sustainable Development Goals. A contribution of Stockholm Resilience Centre and ICSU (International Council for Science) for the 8th Session of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, New York, 4–8 February 2014’, Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre. Parnell, Susan, José G. Siri, Thomas Elmqvist, Peter Marcotullio, Anthony Capon, Aromar Revi and Jo Ivey Boufford (2014), ‘Making the sustainable development goals operational through an urban agenda: Perspectives from science’, Solutions, 5 (2), 37–40. Pitt, Hannah and Mat Jones (2016), ‘Scaling up and out as a pathway for food system transitions’, Sustainability, 8, 1025. Reckien, Diana, Johannes Flacke, Richard J. Dawson, Oliver Heidrich, Marta Olazabal, Aoife Foley, JeanPaul Hamann, Hans Orru, Monica Salvia, Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado, Davide Geneletti and Filomena Pietrapertosa (2014), ‘Climate change response in Europe: What’s the reality? Analysis of adaptation and mitigation plans from 200 urban areas in 11 countries’, Climatic Change, 122, 331–340. Rein, Martin and Donald Schön (1993), ‘Reframing policy discourse’, in Frank Fischer and John Forester (eds), The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, London: Duke University Press, pp. 145–166. Robertson, Roland (1995), ‘Glocalization: Time–space and homogeneity–heterogeneity’, in Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash and Roland Robertson (eds), Global Modernities, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 25–44. Rosenau, J. (2000), ‘Change, complexity and governance in globalizing space’, in Jon Pierre (ed.), Debating Governance, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 167–200. Rudaz, Gilles (2011), ‘The cause of mountains: The politics of promoting a global agenda’, Global Environmentl Politics, 11 (4), 43–65. Sayre, Nathan F. (2009), ‘Scale’, in Noel Castree, David Demeritt, Diana Liverman and Bruce Rhoads (eds), A Companion to Environmental Geography, Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 95–108. Snow, David A. and Robert D. Benford (1988), ‘Ideology, frame resonance and participant mobilization’, in Bert Klandermans, Hanspeter Kriesi and Sidney G. Tarrow (eds), From Structure to Action: Comparing Social Movement Research Across Cultures, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, pp. 197–217. Snow, David A. and Robert D. Benford (1992), ‘Master frames and cycles of protest’, in Aldon D. Morris and Carol M. Mueller (eds), Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, pp. 133–55. Söderström, Ola (2014), Cities in Relations: Trajectories of Urban Development in Hanoi and Ouagadougou, Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackwell. Stratégie Nationale de Développement Durable, Ministère de l’Energie, des mines et de l’Environnement,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 65

20/04/2020 14:23

66  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Gouvernement du Maroc (2017),​ A9gie_Nationale_DD_juin2017_Mai%202017_Web.pdf (accessed 16 February 2020). Swyngedouw, Erik (2004), ‘Scaled geographies: Nature, place and the politics of scale’, in Eric Sheppard and Robert McMaster (eds), Scale and Geographic Inquiry: Nature, Society and Method, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 129–153. UN-HABITAT (2011), Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements, Nairobi, Kenya: UN-HABITAT. United Nations (1987), Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. United Nations (2015), Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, New York: United Nations. Varone, F., S. Nahrath, D. Aubin and J.-D. Gerber (2013), ‘Functional regulatory spaces’, Policy Science, 46 (4), 311–333. Young, Oran R. (2002), The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change: Fit, Interplay, and Scale, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 66

20/04/2020 14:23

4.  Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues

Rachid Cheddadi, Fausto O. Sarmiento, Alain Hambuckers, Ali Rhoujjati, Pierre Taberlet, Francesco Ficetola, Alexandra-Jane Henrot, Louis François, Frédéric Boyer and Majda Nourelbait

INTRODUCTION In the current global warming context, mountain tree species need to adapt locally within their modern range (Sexton et al. 2009; Aitken et al. 2008; Hoffmann & Sgro 2011) or migrate (Malcolm et al. 2006; Williams et al. 2007) to more climatically suitable areas. If these two options cannot be accomplished then at best the species will persist in a restricted range as small populations (Araújo & Williams 2000; Keppel et al. 2015) under a suitable local (micro)climate or might become extinct. Mountain species in Europe are considered highly sensitive to climate change with 60 percent of them threatened with complete extinction by 2080 (Thuiller et al. 2005; Thomas et al. 2004). The involved mechanisms seem complex. Steinbauer et al. (2018) demonstrated that mountain summits became enriched in species at an accelerating pace during the last decade and that the new colonizers show traits which are typical of lower altitude species. They suggested that this phenomenon will later result in the impoverishment of the initial diversity by competitive replacement. At the global scale, observed changes indicate a sustained decline in cold mountain plant communities in response to the recent warming while the climatic impact seems more pronounced in areas with a marked increase in temperature (Gottfried et al. 2012). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has reported about 800 extinctions in species over the last 500 years, with more extinctions that have probably not been inventoried. Species extinction is a natural process that one may observe in the geological records (Darwin 1985, p. 656). However, in the natural process a species may persist for a few million years (Raup & Sepkoski 1984). Fossil records contain information on how plant species have responded to past climate changes over the geological periods. Spatial data syntheses allow us to depict where species have persisted during past periods when climates were not suitable (Bennett & Provan 2008) and how they expanded their range to more suitable habitats (Jackson & Overpeck 2000) when climates became more favorable. Fossil records also allow us to depict periods of times when species became extinct (Magri et al. 2017). Expected rapid climate changes during the next century will likely induce noticeable changes in the ranges of species and will impact their potential extinction rates (Thomas et al. 2004; Thuiller et al. 2005). The modern challenge is that the velocity of the ongoing global climate change exceeds the known migration rates of the many plant species composing major global ecosystems (Loarie et al. 2009; Dobrowski et al. 2013, Corlett & Westcott 2013). The expansion/regression and adaptation/extinction processes which have taken thousands of years may occur within the next century. This is why scientists are exploring 67

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 67

20/04/2020 14:23

68  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability different options to preserve those species which may not be able to either migrate to more suitable habitats or adapt locally in such a short period of time (Aitken et al. 2008). The objective of this chapter is to show that the integration of different but complementary disciplines such as palaeoecology, genetics and species modeling can provide us with pertinent information on the environmental changes which have impacted plant species across time, and, therefore, can contribute to setting better strategy for preserving species. Genetics allow us, for instance, to evaluate the infra-specific diversity between and among populations (Petit et al. 2008) and the overall capacity of a species to cope (or not) with strong environmental changes. Meanwhile, vegetation model simulations may provide useful information on the geographical range changes through time and help predict future suitable areas for the species persistence (Pearman et al. 2007; Maiorano et al. 2013). Palaeoecological data allows us to evaluate the past relationships between plant species and their contemporaneous climate, which can contribute to a better management of the future plant/environment relationship (Gillson & Marchant 2014; Petit et al. 2008; Willis et al. 2007). These disciplines are of particular interest to the conservation of mountain tree species, which often represent a great value to the ecosystem in the services they provide (Schröter et al. 2005). The mountain landscapes of Morocco have been declared a critical habitat for conservation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), justifying the recent inclusion of the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve (Sarmiento 2011).

A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH FOR A BETTER SPECIES CONSERVATION? One of the goals of conservation is to prevent species from becoming extinct. Thus, one of the key conservation aims is to identify the threatened species, evaluate the degree of the threat, identify putative regions where the species may be preserved, and consider the environmental conditions that are suitable for the survival of the species. Thus, a scientific-based management strategy for preserving species requires the integration of several disciplines such as ecology, climatology, genetics and modeling. In order to be pertinent and efficient at managing species under any different climate from that of today, we need this integrated multidisciplinary approach within a historic data frame. Palaeoecology is the study of the interactions between species and their environment, including climate, over geological timescales. The study of these interactions provides a scientific basis for evaluating a species’ capacity to cope with climate fluctuations, its capacity for migration or the suitable areas for its potential occurrence. Thus, palaeoecology can provide sound interpretations that can be directly used for species conservation. Fossil pollen grains are one of the most used biological proxies in vegetation palaeoecology for reconstructing past plant-environment relationships. Their excellent preservation in sediments is due to sporopollenin, one of the most resistant biological substances to degradation, which constitutes their ornamented and recognizable outer wall. The highest number of fossil pollen records available cover the last 20,000 years, which is a period of time that covers the last glacial maximum and its transition to the Holocene warm period where the human population massively colonized the planet. Fossil pollen records contain information on the occurrences of all the local species through time. A

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 68

20/04/2020 14:23

Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues  69 data set of well-dated fossil records allows for the spatial reconstruction of past species occurrences at different time periods and spatial scales (Brewer et al. 2002). Using these spatial past occurrences across time, one can evaluate the evolution of the species’ range over time and the velocity of the spread (Cheddadi et al. 2014; Huntley 1991). These estimates may provide us with information on whether a species may cope with a climate warming scenario or not. Fossil pollen data sets can also provide essential information on the past ecosystems composition and dynamics (Overpeck et al. 1990), the species richness through time (Svenning & Skov 2007), the competition between species (Clark & McLachlan 2003), the abundances of the species composing the succession of ecosystems through time (Bennett 2004, discussion 303), the prevalence of a species over the others, the expansion and extinction of species (Jackson & Weng 1999) when climate changes, and so on. All these past ecological parameters are essential for vegetation modelers and conservation managers. Quantifying ecological variables can be directly applicable to conservation managers to (1) identify whether there is a risk of extinction; (2) develop realistic plans for conservation in suitable areas; and (3) to identify appropriate management tools for maintaining or, if at all possible, restore the ad hoc ecological settings. Basing conservation decisions on a long-term ecological perspective will undoubtedly be of a more robust approach than only on contemporary observations (Willis et al. 2007) and the inclusion of a long-term ecological perspective can provide a more scientifically defensible basis for conservation decisions than the one based only on contemporary records. Vegetation models are required to predict future species distributions and potential suitable areas and habitats for their conservation (Pearman et al. 2007; Sykes et al. 1996; Prentice et al. 1992). However, reconstructing past ecological parameters of a species from fossil data sets is essential for validating and improving the vegetation models (Maiorano et al. 2013; Cheddadi et al. 2016). There are basically two types of model describing the geographical distribution of plant species: the ecological niche-based models (ENMs) and the process-based dynamic vegetation models (DVMs). ENMs are empirical relationships between plant species occurrences, or more rarely abundances, and spatial climate datasets (e.g. Guisan & Thuiller 2005). ENMs don’t take into account the atmospheric CO2 concentration which has a direct impact on the plant tolerance to water stress. DVMs are more complex tools that combine, in a chronological process, schemes and feedback, both inputs and outputs of sub-models. Beside species distribution, DVMs compute productivity and other ecological variables (e.g. Dury et al. 2011; Snell et al. 2014). The sub-models are designed to compute environmental conditions at plant level (e.g. water availability, CO2 concentration inside the leaves, photon flux) from environmental data (including climate) and physiological processes describing plant functions and allowing growth and development (e.g. stomatal aperture, fixed carbon allocation). So far, DVMs are rather limited by the lack of specific information required for each species to be simulated (i.e. plant traits). More recently, environmental DNA (eDNA), a powerful past environmental proxy, has been developed and is experiencing an unprecedented boom for reconstructing past plant occurrences from the fossil records (Taberlet et al. 2012; Willerslev et al. 2014). eDNA already allows us to identify many more organisms (plant and animals), in a fossil record, that have lived in the past ecosystem (Giguet-Covex et al. 2014; Pansu et al. 2015), which represents essential information for conservation managers on the habitat suitability and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 69

20/04/2020 14:23

70  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability co-existence of plant/animal species within a specific environment. The ongoing development of eDNA is expected to provide even more accurate and efficient information on past plant occurrences and their direct environment.

CONSERVATION OF THE ATLAS CEDARS IN MOROCCO State of the Art Cedrus atlantica (Atlas cedar) is a North African mountain conifer tree that can withstand strong droughts (Aussenac & Finkelstein 1983; Aussenac & Valette 1982) that are higher than any European temperate coeval mountain tree species. However, the aridification trend recorded over the last century has already impacted its range with a migration of its lower viable elevation limit by about 200 m in the Middle Atlas (Rhanem 2011) and a substantial reduction of its range in the Rif Mountains (Cheddadi et al. 2017). The increase in winter temperatures (Ezzahiri & Belghazi 2000) and the recent successive years of soil droughts (Ladjal et al. 2005) seem to affect its growth as well. Tree-ring data has allowed us to observe the negative impact of the recent recurrent droughts and temperature increase on its growth (Linares 2011). The Atlas cedar is now considered an endangered species by the IUCN (2019). Forest managers in Morocco are now protecting some populations with fences and replanting seedlings around existing populations that show a strong trend in population decline. Indeed, locally, grazing, poaching and inadequate management still hinder regeneration (Navarro-Cerrillo et al. 2013) while replanting is not 100 percent successful. What is the Approach? In order to evaluate the impact of past environmental changes on the Moroccan Atlas cedar and contribute to its conservation, we need to identify the areas of concern with potentially threatened populations and propose a strategy based on both the scientific facts and a realistic strategy for conserving the species over the long term. Our approach is based on reconstructing past climates and species occurrences from fossil records, simulating the species’ past ranges using a vegetation model and evaluating the species’ genetic diversity through an exhaustive genetic survey of the modern populations. The target area is located in the northernmost part of the Atlas cedar distribution in Morocco. We collected several geological corings from the Rif Mountains at different altitudes and distances from the modern Atlas cedar forests. Then we sampled the modern populations for their DNA study before finally using a DVM to simulate the evolution of the Atlas cedar productivity and range in the Rif Mountains continuously over 50 years between 1960 and 2010. What Does the Data Say? We know from fossil pollen records that Cedrus sp. has been present in the Mediterranean borderlands for at least 2.6 million years (Magri et al. 2017) including Northern Morocco during the Pleistocene (Feddi et al. 2011). How did the species persist throughout several climatic cycles with marked alternating glacial and interglacial climates?

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 70

20/04/2020 14:23

Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues  71 The Fossil Record Fossil records allow us to track species occurrences in space and time. However, there are several physical limitations in arid areas, such as North Africa, to the accumulation of sediments and the preservation of fossil biological environmental proxies in continuous records encompassing more than the last glacial period and the Holocene. As a matter of fact, there are very few records encompassing more than the last 20,000 years. These available geological records contain vegetation and climate proxies that help us reconstruct past species occurrences and past climate variability. The fossil proxies help reconstruct and then interpret the relationship between species and their contemporaneous climate over the time period covered by the record. The pollen records available in the Rif Mountains indicate that Atlas cedar populations were present at much lower altitudes than today, near the Mediterranean Sea (Linstädter et al. 2016; Zapata et al. 2013). Today, Atlas cedar occurs at altitudes higher than 1400 m above sea level (asl) in a more reduced and fragmented range than during the last glacial period at lower elevations (Figure 4.1). Based on several fossil records from the Rif Mountains, we can observe that the Atlas cedar had a much more extended range around 6000 years Before the Present (BP) with extensive populations down to 800 masl or probably at lower elevations. The 600 m

Source:  Reworked from Google using QGIS software.

Figure 4.1 Geographical range of Cedrus atlantica (dark shaded) in the Rif Mountains, Morocco

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 71

20/04/2020 14:23

72  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability


Tjan (°C)



DJF (mm)



200 170 150

MAM (mm)


Cedrus %

80 60 40 20 0 0











Years Cal. BP

Figure 4.2 Pollen percentages and climate variables from a geological record collected in the Rif Mountains, Morocco migration upwards to the modern 1400 masl took place over the past thousand years after 6000 BP. These expansion/regression spatial movements during the Holocene allow us to evaluate the response velocity of the Atlas cedar to the climate forcing that may be inferred from the climate proxies. The climate reconstructions (Figure 4.2) that we have performed from the pollen records show that winter temperatures were lower between 7500 and 5700 BP than today. This time span was also the wettest within the Holocene time period with a more marked increase of precipitation during spring than in the winter season. This cool and wet time interval corresponds to the most extended geographical range of Atlas cedar in the Rif Mountains (Figure 4.2). These past climate data tend to suggest that even if the Atlas cedar is rather well adapted to drier climates than many other conifer species, it may show a more sustained growth and expansion of its range under a wetter and colder climate than today. These past climate interpretations are coherent with the genetic data and confirm that the species expanded its range during the last glacial period, more probably at lower altitudes towards the Mediterranean Sea

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 72

20/04/2020 14:23

Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues  73

Figure 4.3  Genetic distances between populations of Cedar sp. collected in Morocco (Linstädter et al. 2016; Zapata et al. 2013) where some moisture may be available even during cold periods. The Modern Genetic Evidence The modern genetic data reveal very low divergence between populations and do not support a recolonization process from isolated population(s) (Figure 4.3), but rather a persistence of at least one large population which has fragmented in the Moroccan mountains by extinction at lower elevations. This process prevented a marked genetic drift, led to the modern low genetic differentiation in the whole range of the species and maintained the occurrence of all haplotypes in all populations. Indeed, previous genetic surveys carried out on the modern populations of Atlas cedar in Morocco show that there is no clear geographical diversity structure (Terrab et al. 2006; Cheddadi et al. 2009), which tends to suggest that, since pollen does not disperse far from its originating Atlas cedar tree (Wright 1952; Hajar et al. 2008), the most likely explanation is that Moroccan populations are the result of a massive colonization event, without founder effect. According to the ecological requirements of the species, such colonization happened during cold periods when the potential distribution area was probably continuous. The Model Simulations DVMs may help identifying potential suitable areas and evaluating the risk of extinction of a species under different climate scenarios. To assess the impact of the past climate changes on cedar populations, we ran a model simulation continuously over the past 50

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 73

20/04/2020 14:23

74  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability years, between 1960 and 2010. Our model simulation (Cheddadi et al. 2017) provided three major pieces of information: (1) that the range of the Atlas cedar in Northern Morocco decreased by about 75 percent; (2) that those populations located at the easternmost part of the range are heavily threatened by the decrease in water availability; and (3) that populations at lower elevations are strongly impacted, which led over the past few decades to an upward lift of the lower limit of the distribution by about 200 m. The latter is coherent with observed data in the Middle Atlas (Rhanem 2011). What Do We Do with this Scientific Data? Today, Atlas cedar populations in Northern Morocco occur in quite restricted and fragmented areas. The main populations are located in Jbel Kelti, Talassemtane National Park, Jbel Tiziren, Targuist, Oursane and Tidighine and they occupy less than 12 k ha. The populations in Jbel Bouhachem have strongly declined with many becoming extinct over the past few decades. There remains only one very reduced population that is almost close to extinction. Our model simulations show that the occupied range was about four times higher (40 k ha) in 1960–70 than today, which is coherent with the IUCN status of Cedrus atlantica, which states that the species is “endangered with a decreasing population trend” (IUCN 2019). The fossil data have recorded an even more extensive range 6000 years ago and the genetic surveys confirm the presence of few and very extended populations in Morocco, since there is very weak genetic structure between the isolated modern population. Thus, based on our multidisciplinary and multi-scale approach, we consider the modern populations of Atlas cedar in the Rif Mountains as relic populations that are persisting today in microrefugial areas which offer a habitat that has a suitable microclimate. However, these populations are quite distant from each other, which prevents the gene flow between them. Such genetic isolation may lead to a collapse of all these remnant populations on a more or less short term. To maximize the chances of persistence for the Atlas cedar in its endemic range we may propose: (1) as a basic rule, to protect all the remaining microrefugial areas from any human disturbance, mostly seedlings at the upper limit of each population, since the species requires cool and wet conditions which may be still available at higher elevations; (2) to evaluate quantitatively the microclimate suitability in each microrefugial area with a dedicated system for climate monitoring; (3) eventually, to transplant seedlings into new areas that are unoccupied today by the Atlas cedar but which have been identified by the model simulations as potentially suitable new microrefugial areas under different climate scenarios; and (4) since the modern populations are too remote to have any gene exchanges, we could also consider some gene exchanges between them, which could improve heterozygosity and potentially the capacity of the successful hybridized generation to adapt locally.

CONCLUSIONS The aim of this work is to highlight the importance of combining information from different but complementary disciplines within a multi-scale approach to build a r­ easonable

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 74

20/04/2020 14:23

Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues  75

Source:  Photograph by R. Cheddadi.

Figure 4.4 Populations of Atlas cedar under the snow in 2017 between Jbel Tiziren and Issaguen, Rif Mountains scientific basis that may contribute to species conservation. This approach is being developed within the VULPES project ( for other species in South America, Tropical Africa and China. The case study chosen here is the threatened species Cedrus atlantica in Northern Africa, which persists as a few remaining and geographically isolated populations. The combined data that we have collected and analyzed tend to indicate that the areas where the Atlas cedar populations are persisting today should be considered as microrefugia with a microclimate that is still cooler and wetter than the average climate in Northern Morocco where snow still occurs, although not every year, during winter (Figure 4.4). The future persistence of the remaining Atlas cedar populations in the Rif Mountains will depend on the long-term natural climate stability of these microrefugia and the management strategies. Generally, one may observe that the human impact is not as strong in the Rif Mountains as in the Middle Atlas because the remaining populations are not so easily accessible, such as in Jbel Kelti, Talassemtane National Park or Jbel Tiziren.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work is a contribution to the Belmont Forum funded project VULPES (Project ID: ANR-15-MASC-0003). Other members engaged in this publication include Anne-Marie Lézine, Kangyou Huang, Mark Bush, Paulo de Oliveira, Matthieu Carré and Zhuo

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 75

20/04/2020 14:23

76  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Zheng. RC thanks very much Matthew Greene, an independent journalist in Morocco, for his comments on the manuscript and the English editing.

REFERENCES Aitken, S.N. et al., 2008. Adaptation, migration or extirpation: Climate change outcomes for tree populations. Evolutionary Applications, 1(1), pp. 95–111. Araújo, M.B. & Williams, P.H., 2000. Selecting areas for species persistence using occurrence data. Biological Conservation, 96, pp. 331–345. Aussenac, G. & Finkelstein, D., 1983. Influence de la sécheresse sur la croissance et la photosynthèse du cèdre. Annales des sciences forestières, 40(1), pp. 67–77. Aussenac, G. & Valette, J.C., 1982. Comportement hydrique estival de Cedrus atlantica Manetti, Quercus ilex L. et Quercus pubescens Willd. et de divers pins dans le Mont Ventoux. Annales des sciences forestières, 39(1), p. 4162. Bennett, K.D., 2004. Continuing the debate on the role of Quaternary environmental change for macroevolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 359(1442), pp. 295–303. Bennett, K.D. & Provan, J., 2008. What do we mean by “refugia”? Quaternary Science Reviews, 27(27–28), pp. 2449–2455. Brewer, S. et al., 2002. The spread of deciduous Quercus throughout Europe since the last glacial period. Forest Ecology and Management, 156(1–3), pp. 27–48. Cheddadi, R. et al., 2009. Putative glacial refugia of Cedrus atlantica deduced from Quaternary pollen records and modern genetic diversity. Journal of Biogeography, 36(7), pp. 1361–1371. Cheddadi, R. et al., 2014. Revisiting tree-migration rates: Abies alba (Mill.), a case study. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 23, pp. 113–122. Cheddadi, R. et al., 2016. Thermal niches of three European tree species during the last millennia. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7(1581), pp. 1–13. Cheddadi, R. et al., 2017. Microrefugia, climate change, and conservation of Cedrus atlantica in the Rif Mountains, Morocco. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 5(October), pp. 1–15. Clark, J.S. & McLachlan, J.S., 2003. Stability of forest biodiversity. Nature, 423(June), pp. 635–638. Corlett, R.T., & Westcott, D.A. 2013. Will plant movements keep up with climate change? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 28(8), pp. 482–488. Darwin, C. 1985. L’origine des espèces. Paris: Editions la découverte. Dobrowski, S.Z. et al., 2013. The climate velocity of the contiguous United States during the 20th century. Global Change Biology, 19(1), pp. 241–251. Dury, M. et al., 2011. Responses of European forest ecosystems to 21st century climate: Assessing changes in interannual variability and fire intensity. iForest—Biogeosciences and Forestry 4(82–99). Doi: 10.3832/ ifor0572-004. Ezzahiri, M. & Belghazi, B., 2000. Synthèse de quelques résultats sur la régénération naturelle du cèdre de l’Atlas au Moyen Atlas (Maroc). Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse, 11(2), pp. 79–84. Feddi, N., Fauquette, S. & Suc, J.P., 2011. Histoire plio-pléistocène des écosystèmes végétaux de Méditerranée sud-occidentale: apport de l’analyse pollinique de deux sondages en mer d’Alboran. Geobios, 44(1), pp. 57–69. Giguet-Covex, C. et al., 2014. Long livestock farming history and human landscape shaping revealed by lake sediment DNA. Nature Communications, 5, p. 3211. Gillson, L. & Marchant, R., 2014. From myopia to clarity: Sharpening the focus of ecosystem management through the lens of palaeoecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29(6), pp. 317–325. Gottfried, M. et al., 2012. Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2(January), pp. 111–115. Guisan, A. & Thuiller, W., 2005. Predicting species distribution: Offering more than simple habitat models. Ecology Letters, 8, 993–1009. Hajar, L., Khater, C. & Cheddadi, R., 2008. Vegetation changes during the late Pleistocene and Holocene in Lebanon: A pollen record from the Bekaa Valley. The Holocene, 18(7), pp. 1089–1099. Hoffmann, A.A. & Sgro, C.M., 2011. Climate change and evolutionary adaptation. Nature, 470(7335), pp. 479–485. Huntley, B., 1991. How plants respond to climate change: Migration rates, individualism and the consequences for plant communities. Annals of Botany, 67(Supplement 1), pp. 15–22. IUCN, 2019. The IUCN red list of endangered species. (accessed 2019).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 76

20/04/2020 14:23

Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues  77 Jackson, S.T. & Overpeck, J.T., 2000. Responses of plant populations and communities to environmental changes of the late Quaternary. Paleobiology, 26, pp. 194–220. Jackson, S.T. & Weng, C., 1999. Late Quaternary extinction of a tree species in eastern North America. Geology, 96(24), pp. 13847–13852. Keppel, G. et al., 2015. The capacity of refugia for conservation planning under climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13(2), pp. 106–112. Ladjal, M., Huc, R. & Ducrey, M., 2005. Drought effects on hydraulic conductivity and xylem vulnerability to embolism in diverse species and provenances of Mediterranean cedars. Tree Physiology, 25(9), pp. 1109–1117. Linares, J.C., 2011. Biogeography and evolution of Abies (Pinaceae) in the Mediterranean Basin: The roles of long-term climatic change and glacial refugia. Journal of Biogeography, 38(4), pp. 619–630. Linstädter, J. et al., 2016. Chronostratigraphy, site formation processes and pollen record of Ifri n’Etsedda, NE Morocco. Quaternary International, 410, pp. 6–29. Loarie, S.R. et al., 2009. The velocity of climate change. Nature, 462(7276), pp. 1052–1055. Magri, D. et al., 2017. Quaternary disappearance of tree taxa from Southern Europe: Timing and trends. Quaternary Science Reviews, 163, pp. 23–55. Maiorano, L. et al., 2013. Building the niche through time: Using 13,000 years of data to predict the effects of climate change on three tree species in Europe. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 22(3), pp. 302–317. Malcolm, J.R. et al., 2006. Global warming and extinctions of endemic species from biodiversity hotspots. Conservation Biology, 20(2), pp. 538–548. Navarro-Cerrillo, R.M. et al., 2013. Structure and spatio-temporal dynamics of cedar forests along a management gradient in the Middle Atlas, Morocco. Forest Ecology and Management, 289, pp. 341–353. Overpeck, J.T., Rind, D. & Goldberg, R., 1990. Climate-induced changes in forest disturbance and vegetation. Nature, 343(6253), pp. 51–53. Pansu, J. et al., 2015. Reconstructing long-term human impacts on plant communities: An ecological approach based on lake sediment DNA. Molecular Ecology, 24(7), pp. 1485–1498. Pearman, P.B. et al., 2007. Niche dynamics in space and time. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 23(3), pp. 149–158. Petit, R.J., Hu, F.S. & Dick, C.D., 2008. Forests of the past: A window to future changes. Science, 320, pp. 1450–1452. Prentice, I.C. et al., 1992. A global biome model based on plant physiology and dominance, soil properties and climate. Journal of Biogeography, 19, pp. 117–134. Raup, D.M. & Sepkoski, J. Jr., 1984. Periodicity of extinctions in the geologic past. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Evolution), 81, pp. 801–805. Rhanem, M., 2011. Aridification du climat régional et remontée de la limite inférieure du cèdre de l’Atlas (Cedrus atlantica Manetti) aux confins de la plaine de Midelt (Maroc). Physio-Géo, 5(5), pp. 143–165. Sarmiento, F.O., 2011. Sustainability and the Biosphere Reserve: A compromise between biodiversity, conservation and farmscape transformation. In An Austrian contribution to the 40th anniversary of UNESCO’s MAB (ed.) Biosphere Reserves in the Mountains of the World. Excellence in the Clouds? Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, pp. 19–23. Schröter, D. et al., 2005. Ecosystem service supply and vulnerability to global change in Europe. Science (New York, N.Y.), 310(5752), pp. 1333–1337. Sexton, J.P. et al., 2009. Evolution and ecology of species range limits. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 40(1), pp. 415–436. Snell, R.S., et al., 2014. Using dynamic vegetation models to simulate plant range shifts. Ecography (Cop), 37, pp. 1184–1197. doi: 10.1111/ecog.00580. Steinbauer, M.J. et al., 2018. Accelerated increase in plant species richness on mountain summits is linked to warming. Nature, 556, pp. 231–234. Svenning, J.C. & Skov, F., 2007. Ice age legacies in the geographical distribution of tree species richness in Europe. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 16(2), pp. 234–245. Sykes, M.T., Prentice, I.C. & Cramer, W., 1996. A bioclimatic model for the potential distributions of north European tree species under present and future climates. Journal of Biogeography, 23(2), pp. 203–233. Taberlet, P. et al., 2012. Environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology, 21(8), pp. 1789–1793. Terrab, A. et al., 2006. Genetic diversity and population structure in natural populations of Moroccan Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica; Pinaceae) determined with CPSSR markers. American Journal of Botany, 93(9), pp. 1274–1280. Thomas, C.D. et al., 2004. Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427(6970), pp. 145–148. Thuiller, W. et al., 2005. Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(23), pp. 8245–8250. Willerslev, E. et al., 2014. Fifty thousand years of Arctic vegetation and megafaunal diet. Nature, 506(7486), pp. 47–51. Williams, J.W., Jackson, S.T. & Kutzbach, J.E., 2007. Projected distributions of novel and disappearing climates

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 77

20/04/2020 14:23

78  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability by 2100 AD. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(14), pp. 5738–5742. Willis, K.J. et al., 2007. How can a knowledge of the past help to conserve the future? Biodiversity conservation and the relevance of long-term ecological studies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 362(1478), pp. 175–186. Wright, J., 1952. Pollen dispersion of some forest trees. Station Paper 46, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, USA, p. 42. Zapata, L. et al., 2013. Holocene environmental change and human impact in NE Morocco: Palaeobotanical evidence from Ifri Oudadane. The Holocene, 23(9), pp. 1286–1296.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 78

20/04/2020 14:23

5.  The dance of sustainability: a call to engage geographers in local- and global-scale research Carol P. Harden

In 2009, in an Association of American Geographers Newsletter column, titled ‘Sustainability and dancing’ (Harden, 2009), I encouraged geographers to become more engaged in scholarship, teaching, and outreach related to the broad set of challenges associated with the need to increase sustainability. Sustainability is an admirable, albeit fuzzy goal, even if efforts to become sustainable reveal a Pandora’s box of new questions. Many of these questions beg input from geographers, whose understandings of the complexities of human–environment interactions and abilities to link scales can contribute important perspectives to new initiatives and transformations. Like dancing, efforts to make environments and societies more sustainable involve activity. And, like dancing, those activities merit close attention to environmental constraints, coordination with others and the consequences of each move. The crux of the sustainability challenge is essentially the footprint problem. Because people are part of evolving environmental systems, as opposed to being actors on an inert stage, every space on the planet occupied by human beings or intentionally altered by human activity is part of this footprint, as are the unintended effects of human occupation on climate, biogeochemical processes and other components of the Earth system. Even actions taken purposefully to increase the sustainability of the human presence on Earth might or might not prove to have been the appropriate choices when examined from different perspectives of time and space. Sustainability has classically been defined in terms of sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 16). Griggs et al. (2013, p. 306) offered a slight modification of that statement: ‘development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support systems, on which the welfare of current and future generations depend’. Earlier, in 1969 in the United States, the National Environmental Policy Act committed the United States to sustainability by making it national policy ‘to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations’ (U.S. Code, 1969, § 4331, a). Even without being associated with development, aiming for the goal of sustainability requires action. While certain activities are obviously unsustainable, the degree of sustainability or unsustainability of human actions on the natural environment or on society may only become evident over time. Spatial scale plays a key role, too. What appears sustainable at one location may not be sustainable at another. That is the case where resource extraction degrades the environments at locations of raw-material extraction and commodity production but not at the locations of consumers. It is also the case where waste products 79

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 79

20/04/2020 14:23

80  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability impair environments at locations distant from the sites that generate the waste. Of all consequences of human activities that affect the environment, those of anthropogenically caused climate change have an unusually global spatial extent, thanks to the ability of the atmosphere to distribute inputs. Geographers are uniquely equipped to study and understand the spatial relationships of actions that increase or decrease sustainability and that link local to global scales. To ensure that actions intended to increase sustainability are indeed having the desired outcomes, it is important to approach the quest for sustainability through multiple scales and with well-informed understandings of those scales and how they are connected. Geographers, therefore, have special roles to play in recognizing the spatial relationships and the linkages among spatial scales that are associated, positively or negatively, with sustainability. The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the dynamic nature of the quest for sustainability and demonstrate that issues of scale and the need to integrate human actions with other changing aspects of the planetary environment provide rich opportunities for geographers to be more engaged in research on topics of sustainability. The metaphor of dancing underscores the need for participation, coordination and agility in efforts to increase the sustainability of the human presence on Earth. Geographers are challenged to recognize and join this ‘dance’ to better understand the interactions – b ­ iogeochemical, biological, social and political, hydrological and atmospheric – that link the human population to other component systems of our planet and to inform the development of sustainability-oriented policies and action plans.

WHAT IS TO BE SUSTAINED? Sustainability is a human construct, viewed through a human lens, that emphasizes that maintaining the resources and environmental services that support life is essential for sustaining cultures and quality of life. The penetration of effects of human actions into other components of the planetary system, especially the growing effects of anthropogenic climate change, has led to widespread recognition that people are not actors on the stage of nature, but rather that humans are one of many species on the planet and human actions are subsystems of the planetary system, with tremendous capacity to destabilize the very systems that support them (e.g., Cronon, 1996; Harden, 2012). Butman (2016) argued that people are selective in the way they value nature, wanting to sustain not the entirety of nature, but the nature that serves them best by providing the resources needed for human consumption. As an example of our selectivity, he noted that people eliminated lions in Europe and that lions are not viewed as a compatible component of contemporary European life. The concept of sustainability reflects the sense that people have created problems that need to be fixed and that we have reduced our resources and adversely altered the environmental systems of our planet that support life – all life, including that of homo sapiens – even as we have increased our dependence on these resources. Before humans appeared on Earth, populations of other living things rose and fell, organisms modified their physical and biotic environments, species evolved and extinctions occurred. The ability to harness and modify the environment, key to the success of our human species, has now reached a point of having changed terrestrial and marine environments and the atmosphere in

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 80

20/04/2020 14:23

The dance of sustainability: a call to geographers  81 measurable ways, even above the noise of ongoing cycles and changes occurring naturally in the Earth systems. Some authors have claimed that the idea of environment has lost its meaning because it has been so altered by human actions (e.g., Biermann, 2016). As the effects of human activities on planetary subsystems have become more evident in the stratigraphic record, geologists have proposed that this period of Earth history be called the Anthropocene, characterized by anthropogenic evidence (Zalasiewicz et al., 2008). In 1980, when the human population was 5.3 billion, the time frame of sustainability was viewed as indefinite (IUCN/UNEP/WWF, 1991). Today, human societies are on trajectories that we recognize as being environmentally unsustainable. To take no action, then, is to continue to reduce the capacity of our planet to sustain us. With the human population rising toward a projected 9.7 billion persons by 2050 (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2019), and faced with mounting evidence of the effects of human societies on Earth systems, we recognize the need to adjust that trajectory to at least slow the pace of change to Earth systems. On a planet with a growing human population, with increasing per capita resource use and economies dependent on growth and material goods, maintaining the status quo is not possible. We can already see our impact in the form of dwindling resources of certain commodities (e.g., copper, oil), shrinking populations of marine species that feed the human population (e.g., species of grouper, salmon, sturgeon, abalone; NOAA, 2017), changes to the composition of the atmosphere that affect the heat budget of the planet, species extinctions and desertification. It is easier to recognize what actions are not sustainable than those that are likely to be sustainable (Table 5.1). Publicity and education have been effective in raising public awareness of the fates of threatened and endangered species, and the irreversibility of extinction has proven to be a powerful signal. What will happen to polar bears as Arctic ice disappears? Can the oceans continue to feed our human population? It has been easier to muster concern for the irreversible loss of a few charismatic species than to turn attention to more subtle effects of human actions, like the emission of atmosphere-altering gases by gas-powered vehicles, that are tightly woven into the fabrics of our daily lives. Yet, while our lives may go on in familiar settings with familiar infrastructure, economic growth and construction continue to fragment habitats important to many species, human use of resources continues to introduce toxins into the environment, hunting and fishing in some regions have removed certain species at rates exceeding the rates of replenishment, and our use of energy and extraction of energy-generating resources alter local environments and continue to affect the entire planet by causing climate change (National Research Council, 2011). The necessity of understanding the human situation as part of larger, more complex environmental systems becomes apparent when we discover that actions undertaken to improve the quality of human life are contributing, directly and indirectly, to an unsustainable trajectory. With excellent intentions and at great expense, we have dammed rivers to help society by reducing downstream flooding, producing hydroelectric power and creating lakes for recreation and water supply. However, the same dams have also altered aquatic ecosystems and blocked the movements of fish, other organisms and sediments (Graf, 2006). Ultimately, every action causes change and extends the human footprint. An important shift in cultural perspective occurred during the environmental movement of the twentieth century, when unintended consequences of anthropogenic development – consequences with negative effects on the environment, on other species, and on issues

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 81

20/04/2020 14:23

82  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Table 5.1 Examples of human actions that do not sustain the capacity of physical environments to support humanity Consumption of resources at rates greater than they are refreshed:   Extraction and burning of fossil fuels – petroleum, coal   Food resources – overhunting, overfishing, and overgrazing   Water resources – overdraft of groundwater or surface water   Soil – degradation of soil quality, soil erosion Actions that displace pre-existing components of the natural terrestrial system. These actions work against sustainability depending on the scale of the activity and associated activities:   Removal of forest   Filling/draining wetlands   Dams on rivers and other alterations to drainage   Use of land for pavement and the built environment   Mining and relocation of rock and soil   Introduction of new species Contamination:   Contamination of freshwater and oceans   Contamination of air   Contamination of soil   Introduction of items harmful to other species (e.g., plastics) Negative, direct actions:   Wildlife crime   Dumping of waste (to air, water, soil) Indirect effects of direct actions:   Changes to albedo (affects absorption of solar energy)   Changes to rainfall/runoff relationships   Changes in atmospheric chemistry (e.g., increase of CO2 and CH4)  Changes to temperature, humidity, airflow patterns, and circulation (e.g., urban heat islands and associated thunderstorms)   Loss of habitat for other species, including loss of connections between habitats  Destabilization of components of ecosystems, such as loss of pollinators, from use of chemicals toxic to them and monocultures   Loss of pre-existing genetic diversity due to selection for preferred varieties   Global impacts, including changes to planetary circulation, climate patterns, and oceans

of social justice among our own people – were elevated to a position of open study and discussion. Nonetheless, we continue to rely on environmental systems and materials as sources of power, water, food and resources, and the human population continues to grow. This leads to the question of what is it that we are trying to sustain? Do we expect future generations to have exactly what we have and live exactly as we do? Recent history shows the answer to be ‘no’. Compared to our own parents and grandparents, we are more likely to live in a city, shop using the internet and travel by air. But even when the details of daily life change, we would like future generations to have the resources and freedoms to experience the degrees of comfort, security, health, and choice that we are accustomed to having today. Referring to what is to be sustained as ‘critical natural capital’, Ekins et al. (2003) acknowledged that public policies to promote sustainability will need to prioritize and focus attention on certain highly valued ­environmental

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 82

20/04/2020 14:23

The dance of sustainability: a call to geographers  83 functions. They distinguished four functions of ecological capital: (1) provision of resources for production; (2) absorption of waste; (3) basic life-support functions, such as protection offered by the ozone layer; and (4) amenity services, including scenery (Ekins et al., 2003). Similarly, international efforts to identify the environmental services that support human civilization have categorized them into four groups: (1) supporting services (nutrient cycling, soil formation, primary production); (2) provisioning services (food, fresh water, wood and fiber, fuel); (3) regulating services (climate regulation, flood regulation, disease regulation, water purification); and (4) cultural services (aesthetic, spiritual, educational, recreational) (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). The need to sustain all of these sets up an enormous agenda for action that requires better understanding, not only of the drivers and vulnerabilities of each service, but also of their spatial dimensions and their interrelationships. What we wish to sustain depends on our culture and our time. In mainstream America, we value homes with controlled temperature, wide, safe highways, the independence of private cars, inexpensive, readily available, and plentiful arrays of food and goods, and dependable electric power, among other things. When we are not taking what we have for granted, we value having a certain standard of living with access to safe and adequate water, food and health care. Around the globe, however, these basic life supports are still out of reach for many persons. Cultures differ, too, so that some commodities of little interest in the United States, such as rhino horns (Guilford, 2013) and sea cucumbers (Anderson et al., 2011), are highly valued in other cultures. Different worldviews place different values on particular landscapes, with special value given to sacred places (Bernbaum, 2006; Bhagwat, and Rutte, 2006). Our assorted cultures have cherished values, as well as habits and blind spots, which require re-examination through the lens of planetary sustainability (Wilhite, 2016). We should not want to sustain conditions of poverty, desperation or disease. Yet these are characteristics of global and national inequalities that, in many cases, underpin comfortable lifestyles held by others. Who will be invited to the sustainability dance? The best answer, of course, is ‘everyone’, so we must plan for the long-term consequences of such good fortune, recognizing that those of us living in comfort have already left a disproportionately high per capita mark on social and environmental systems. To sustain human populations, the essential strategy is to develop new trajectories that avoid crossing Earth-system thresholds or destabilizing complex systems. Species extinctions are clear examples of irreversible thresholds. Rockström and colleagues (2009) identified the rate of biodiversity loss and eight other processes (climate change, nitrogen cycle, phosphorus cycle, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, global freshwater use, changes in land use, atmospheric aerosol loading and chemical pollution) as the nine planetary boundaries of a framework for charting a ‘safe operating space for humanity’ and proposed limits that should not be exceeded if Earth’s environmental systems are to be sustainable. They judged that three of these boundaries – climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and nitrogen cycle – had already been exceeded, meaning that humanity is no longer operating at a ‘safe’ distance from critical thresholds in those area. Their efforts and those of other researchers help prioritize the targets for sustainability efforts. Decisions about what is to be sustained and the implementation of those decisions take place at scales from the local to the global. Because the Earth system includes people and social systems as well as environmental systems, geographers are well suited to initiate,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 83

20/04/2020 14:23

84  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability participate in and lead studies related to sustainability. Environmental changes already underway, including loss of sea ice, rising sea levels and changes to the populations and ranges of species, along with changes in human populations, including population growth, urbanization and human migration, are reminders of the dynamic nature and multi-dimensionality of the pursuit of sustainability.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO TO ADVANCE SUSTAINABILITY? Given that sustainability implies actions, what should be done? The past offers excellent examples – it is important to continue to draw lessons from them. The first lesson is that, yes, we can identify and reduce the most offensive sources of environmental contamination. The second is that we can rehabilitate or restore places altered in the past, and the third is that people can change their behaviors and even their values. Our ability to identify and reduce the most offensive sources of environmental contamination is complicated by our dependence on resource extraction. Resource extraction, power production and major industrial production are tied to enormous economic interests. Interactions between the public and major corporations involve a new type of dance, with attention to the partners and cooperation needed to aim the dance in the direction of sustainability. The international cooperation that produced the Montreal Protocol, a treaty that phased out and banned the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons, which had allowed ultraviolet radiation-B to pass through a ‘hole’ in the protective stratosphere, serves as an excellent example of a successful, cooperative international effort to reverse damage to an environmental (here, atmospheric) system affecting life on Earth. The question of how to behave more sustainably is spatially scale dependent in multiple ways. Species, including humans, can adapt to a change at one location by moving to another. Overharvesting of a species at one site might be offset by a population boom in that place or an adjacent location, or by a population crash that extends beyond the original site. People can engage in sustainable behaviors at the local level, while broader scales of environmental governance and monitoring are needed to keep local actions on track to make a positive difference. One plastic bag tossed to the wind (or one farmer’s field poorly plowed or water drawn from one freshwater well) might have little impact, but extrapolating from the local to the global scale reveals a crisis of epic proportions. The locations of sources and sinks of contaminants, whether the contaminants are plastics accumulating in the ocean or hazardous chemicals adsorbed to soils in floodplains, also highlight the geographies and scale linkages of unsustainable actions. Geographers who study water resource management know the distinction made between point sources (e.g., a pipe discharging liquid into a river) and non-point sources (the diffuse and more difficult to pinpoint sources, such as nutrients that can enter the water in runoff from agriculture, suburban lawns, animal waste, golf courses or industrial sources), and recognize that pollution from multiple non-point sources is more challenging to identify and control. The second lesson is that we can clean up our messes and undo actions that are later found to impair our path to sustainability. Over decades, people have demonstrated that environmental destruction can be remediated, if not completely restored. We have revegetated mined sites, constructed wetlands, reforested denuded lands, de-listed endangered species such as the bald eagle, and removed dams to let rivers flow freely. We have added

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 84

20/04/2020 14:23

The dance of sustainability: a call to geographers  85 sand to beaches, given channelized rivers freedom to meander and eradicated invasive plants and animals. Numerous lessons have been learned from the successes and failures of these endeavors: a restoration effort is unlikely to restore the complete range of ecosystem services to a site (Palmer and Filoso, 2009), post-project monitoring is important (Bernhardt et al., 2005), too much restoration in an urban area can raise rents and drive out the very people it was intended to benefit (Wolch, Byrne, and Newell, 2014) and scaling up to extend the area of a restoration project requires a broad range of stakeholder involvement, appropriate regulatory structures and capacity building (Melo et al., 2013). Remediation projects are place based, so understanding the place, its physical characteristics and processes, and its relation to other places is essential. Geographers can target places for remediation, extrapolate lessons from remediation projects and track the progress of remediations over time. The expertise of geographers in linking physical and social settings is needed, particularly in places where environmental justice, economic, political and/or cultural concerns play into decision-making about environmental restoration. The third lesson, from the recent past, is that changes in behavior and values are possible, especially when people are given incentives. At the local scale, people have converted from grass lawns to xeriscaping, complied with water use restrictions during dry times, become more active pedestrians and users of public transportation (Miller et al., 2015), learned to recycle waste materials, moved from sprawling suburbs to cities and changed their electric light bulbs to consume less energy. Such local/individual adjustments have been facilitated by actions at broader scales, including changes in technology (LED light bulbs), environmental education, pricing strategies, and provision of public transportation, that reflect visions of enhancing sustainability. The geographies of these and other behavioral changes reflect demand and culture and cross spatial scales. Across the United States, differences in cultures affect local attitudes, policies, and actions related to the environment. In the state of Vermont, with a culture of resilience and self-reliance, the major power company, Green Mountain Power, encourages the development of solar energy as part of its strategy to manage demand for electricity (Green Mountain Power, 2017). This northern state is not known for its sunshine, so visitors are likely to be surprised to see the extent of solar power production. In contrast, restrictive regulations in other states, including Florida, which receive more solar energy during the year, have not only not encouraged, but have discouraged solar power generation (McKibben, 2015). Beyond these lessons, it is evident that the sustainability agenda must be attentive to global concerns, including imbalances of power and resources, and realistically consider the future of life on our finite planet. If those of us with comfortable lives choose to sustain what is good about our own lifestyles, and, at the same time, reduce inequality by facilitating the economic development of people in less comfortable circumstances, we must plan for the increased use of natural resources by those in the developing world, as well as for our own continued use. This ‘dance’ requires considerable flexibility. The reality is that to raise the standard of living around the world to (or even toward) the level of that enjoyed by people in the richest nations would require energy production and consumption far beyond present levels and a dramatic increase in material possessions, changes that would put even greater pressure on Earth’s environmental resources and systems.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 85

20/04/2020 14:23

86  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Sustainable alternatives will require sustaining environmental systems, even if that means transforming lifestyles by letting go of some aspects of current lifestyles that may be popular, but are unsustainable. The buen vivir (sumak kawsay) philosophy, emerging from the Andean region, reflects a more ecocentric worldview in which human communities are responsible as coexisting stewards, not owners, of nature and natural resources (Salazar, 2015). This democratic, non-capitalist paradigm, written into the constitution of Ecuador and promoted in Bolivia, offers an alternative perspective for a sustainable future not based on extraction and consumption. A growing literature explores the transformation of a consumption-oriented society to one in which economic growth is separated from environmental impacts. Sustainable consumption requires changes in lifestyles as well as changes in technology and culture (O’Rourke and Lollo, 2015). Van Boven (2005) found that people whose basic needs have been met achieve more lasting satisfaction from experiences than from material possessions. O’Rourke and Lollo (2015) noted that other measures of national success and wellbeing, such as GPI (genuine progress indicator) or GNH (gross national happiness), will be needed to replace GDP (gross domestic product) in a post-consumerism world. Because most people now live in cities, efforts to increase sustainability must extend to urban environments. In addition to concerns for the equity and sustainability of society and culture in cities, cities must also be seen for their role in the broader physical environment. Cities contribute to changes in temperature and weather (Grimmond, Ward, and Kotthaus, 2016; Shepherd, 2006) and they affect water quality, the volumes and timing of stormwater runoff (National Research Council (NRC), 2009) and air quality (World Health Organization (WHO), 2017). Efforts to ‘green’ cities are crucial, not only for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of city dwellers (Wolf and Robbins, 2015), but also for the sustainability of regional and global environments (Pickett et al., 2013). Urban greening is so crucial that urban areas can be seen as opportunities for transformation (Pickett et al., 2013). Many actions are possible, so how will we best determine, locally and globally, which actions will best help humanity live sustainably? Beyond learning lessons from the past, we must systematically learn lessons from the present by monitoring and analyzing the effects of our choices.

FEEDBACK SYSTEMS The metaphor of a dance helps us see the importance of feedback systems in efforts to increase sustainability. Waltzing partners constantly receive and adjust to feedback from each other, their own bodies, other dancers, the music, the neighbors, the boundaries of the dance floor and the temperature of the air around them. Because human–­environment systems are far more complex, one adjustment affects many connected systems and the types and sources of feedback needed to ensure sustainability may not be evident. How do you recognize when your dancing partner needs to take a break? Certain indicators such as words, color, gasping for breath, loss of balance or a pained expression might lead you quickly to that conclusion. How do we determine whether an effort to increase sustainability needs to end or change? An important field of scholarship is that of identifying and testing indicators – early warning signs – so that the health

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 86

20/04/2020 14:23

The dance of sustainability: a call to geographers  87 of ­environmental systems can be assessed and courses of actions corrected before an undesired consequence occurs. The literature contains growing numbers of examples of indicators selected by different groups of researchers and of lessons learned in the process of determining which indicators to use. Indicators range from single-factor, readily measurable parameters, such as water temperature in a river below a power plant or the depth of water in a groundwater aquifer, to compound indices that express different levels of stress in a particular sector of an environmental or social system. Of special concern for geographers is the need to integrate physical and social factors, while keeping the list of indicators short enough to be feasible and to make sense to those who need to deal with them. Geographic research will also be needed to investigate the scales at which specific indicators are most useful and identify ways to obtain feedback that crosses or links scales. The complexity of selecting indicators of sustainability, especially given the need to tailor indicators to specific questions and specific locations, has led to the development of frameworks for sustainability evaluation. López-Ridaura, Masera, and Astier (2002) presented the participatory and interdisciplinary MESMIS framework, which uses indicators for environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. The framework, which they used to evaluate the sustainability of rural agroproduction systems in Mexico, has five general attributes: productivity, stability–resilience–reliability, adaptability, equity, and self-reliance (self-empowerment). These attributes can be evaluated at different spatial scales. López-Ridaura et al. (2002) observed that quantifiable indicators, such as costs, nutrients, numbers of participants or crop yields, can generate numerical results, but that qualitative techniques can be more useful for identifying specific problems, for providing insight into interactions among indicators, and for determining how such interrelations may lead to trade-offs. Frameworks that provide structure and guidance in the selection of indicators help avoid arbitrary choices that may not be scientifically sound or may not best reflect the causal contexts of the factors (Niemeijer and de Groot, 2008). Jakob and Steckel (2016), for example, presented eight indicators of direct climate impacts: (1) rise of global mean temperature by 2100; (2) severe water stress; (3) food insecurity; (4) nuclear risks; (5) cumulative sequestration of emissions until the year 2100; (6) mitigation costs; (7) local air pollution; and (8) energy insecurity for evaluating climate change policies at regional scales. They then grouped these indicators, each based on a defined metric, into classes to express relative levels of risk so that they could compare scenarios. At the same time, they recognized that even such a seemingly well-defined system is based on assumptions about rates of change. In their case, actions that were delayed or not taken have made the initial goals of climate change policies (e.g., keeping CO2 emissions below 400 parts per million (ppm)) unattainable and will now cause weightings of other factors to change (Jakob and Steckel, 2016). As geographers well know, it is often not possible to obtain information of equal quality and scale for all parts of an area of concern. This problem can cause the scale at which indicators are parameterized and analyzed to be too coarse to capture important changes. Dale and Kline (2013) noted that the use of simplified land-cover classes as landscape indicators can interfere with assessments of cause and effect. They argued for systematic, robust monitoring of environmental conditions, such as carbon stocks, nutrient quality, water quality and soil quality in areas of interest to provide the geospatial data needed to

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 87

20/04/2020 14:23

88  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability more accurately assess and model the effects of different land management policies. Dale and Kline (2013) also called upon the creativity of the research community to develop modeling approaches that better represent ongoing change dynamics. Linkages between scales often emerge from qualitative research. Matous (2015) compared coffee-producing farmers in Sumatra who relied on local social networks for advice on how to best manage their soils with others whose guidance came from sources external to the community. Producers whose networks extended to the scales of external markets and traders obtained new knowledge about organic fertilizers that benefited the environment, production, and global marketability of their crop, while those lacking external links were more apt to apply chemical fertilizer (Matous, 2015). Feedback ranges from personal anecdotes, at the local scale, to global change. Understanding the effectiveness of different types of feedback, interpreting their meaning and placing them in the context of spatial scale are among the challenges that open opportunities for geographers to engage in these important efforts. Much research remains to be done to use and improve the feedback and keep humanity on a sustainable path. As scientists who use quantitative and qualitative methods and understand relationships among people and places, geographers have key roles to play in this research.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES Challenges present opportunities. The challenges presented by the urgent need for humans to live more sustainably on Earth offer numerous opportunities for geographers to engage in this quest. Four challenges call upon the expertise and perspectives of geographers. These are the challenges to (1) envision sustainable futures; (2) understand the spatial elements of increasing sustainability; (3) integrate social dynamics into sustainability efforts; and (4) bring multiple perspectives to increase agility in the face of change. The work of envisioning sustainable futures is not discipline specific, but geographers are encouraged to contribute their knowledge of the world and their integrated understandings of places and societies to the processes of deciding what future to aim for. With respect to Earth resources and ecosystem services, and especially with respect to the composition of the atmosphere and the climate system, the future promises to differ from our experience of the past. Dramatic changes may create catastrophes and open new opportunities. No longer being able to assume a continuation of the status quo allows, even compels, us to create future scenarios and consider which ones seem feasible, desirable and sustainable, so that we can begin to work toward them. At the same time, we need to be monitoring the world to become aware of unsustainable trajectories so that we can take early steps to redirect them. Geographers should boldly engage in creative thinking that connects the dots between the present time and different points of time in the future. As geographers, we have developed skills to address multi-faceted problems. The world needs this set of skills and the perspectives of geographers to help answer questions like the following ones. What options do coastal cities have as sea levels rise? What changes in global food production and distribution will be needed to sustainably feed seven or nine billion people? How can the benefits of tourism supersede the consequences of tourism that negatively alter the special places people wish to visit? How will transitions to clean energy affect politics,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 88

20/04/2020 14:23

The dance of sustainability: a call to geographers  89 transportation, and daily lives? What world would we like to live in? Of the multidisciplinary groups around the world that grapple with this type of question, one, Future Earth (2017) frequently reaches out to the international geographic community to invite geographers to add their voices to this challenge. The second challenge – understanding the spatial dimensions of increasing ­sustainability – calls on the special expertise of geographers in identifying and understanding the spatial dimensions of complex problems. The geographic literature is rich with field-based case studies that provide examples of sustainable or unsustainable behavior at the local level and typically relate those experiences to theories of broader patterns. Research done at the local scale anchors the researcher’s knowledge and builds authority. It is important to remember that geographers are citizens as well as scholars. The overlap between these roles can sharpen the insights obtained, at least when investigating one’s own culture. Individual actions matter, locally and in the aggregate. These include behaviors of recycling, supporting the development and use of renewable energy, reducing carbon footprints, replacing lawns with xeriscaping in water-scarce areas, and avoiding the use of plastic bags and bottles. Overall, these advance the path to sustainability. At the local level, they are particularly important for the engagement they promote and the awareness of the finiteness of Earth’s resources they demonstrate. Barriers to sustainability occur at different spatial scales. At the local scale, impediments to more sustainable actions might be tied to problems of access to information, lack of education, insufficient income or resources, cultural norms or ‘downstream’ effects created by barriers at other scales, such as groundwater overdraft or national regulations. Moving from the local to the global scale, impediments to sustainability can result from the irregular distribution of Earth resources over the globe, political boundaries that do not align with environmental boundaries, legacies of power and influence, access to knowledge and differences in worldviews, perceptions and priorities. On the other hand, collective action and shared resources can enable transformation, and major changes require actions at state, regional, and national scales to enact and enforce regulations and provide incentives for new ways of living and doing business. Environmental/resource management transcends spatial scales to link the on-theground efforts of local people and the regulatory frameworks of broader scales. The movement away from purely top-down management to more participatory forms of management and feedback can increase the sense of responsibility and ownership of people at the local scale if two-way communication is effective (e.g., Dyer et al., 2014). The third challenge – to better integrate social dynamics into sustainability efforts – begs for more input from geographers. Compared to other social scientists (e.g., sociologists), geographers have broader backgrounds for integrating environmental changes into studies of human–environment interrelationships. Compared to other natural scientists (e.g., biologists), geographers are more connected to the interrelationships of people and their environments. This ability to integrate natural and human sciences gives geographers a valuable perspective that is needed for the human presence on Earth to become more sustainable. This challenge calls for nuanced understanding of such important but potentially subtle consequences associated with the deterioration or loss of environmental sustainability as losses of opportunity, dignity, or the resilience of a well-knit community. Moreover, geographers have the capacity to shine new light on the relationships between the environment and human behavior.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 89

20/04/2020 14:23

90  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability This challenge also opens new opportunities for geographers to more clearly relate basic human conditions, including inequalities of wealth and power, and institutions, including economies dependent on growth and material possessions. Capitalism, as known today, has largely been driven by carbon-dioxide-producing activities and has promoted the development of civilizations based so much on private property, individual mobility, and consumerism that those principles have seemingly become ingrained habits, even entitlements (Wilhite, 2016). How can capitalism become less carbon intensive? How would people derive happiness in a less materialistic society? Could people be happy with less (Moran, 2006)? How can increasing sustainability increase equality, which promotes environmental protection (Islam, 2015)? The fourth challenge – to use multiple perspectives to increase agility in the face of change – calls upon the skills of geographers in studying, often in collaboration with others, complex, open systems in which new conditions require the ability to make adjustments. In the case of climate change, agility is essential – the dance is underway and the floor is shifting. Sea ice extent in both of the Earth’s polar regions in 2016 was less than extents typical of recent decades (National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), 2017). Changes in environmental governance, nationally and/or globally, along with changes in human behavior that might advance or deter efforts toward sustainability and changes in the physical environment, could change the function of social-environmental systems at any time, requiring researchers to reset their assumptions and adjust their projections. We have seen people beat the odds – strong families and communities have allowed people to move beyond natural disasters in some cases – and we understand the importance of resilience, the ability to rebound from what otherwise might have been a damaging change. Resilience manifests the agility of the dance – the ability to continuously adjust and the need to have systems in place to facilitate adjustments. Resilience requires not only flexibility, but also awareness of potential as well as actual stresses. Like sustainability, resilience is expressed (or not) at different spatial scales, challenging geographers to better understand what occurs at each scale and what controls relationships among scales. The quest for sustainability is a performance, a dance. A good dance gets everyone tapping their toes and taking turns on the dance floor. Whether a dance has prescribed steps or partners, dancers must be alert to the movements of others and aware of the limitations of space and time as they move. Agility is needed, as is concern for the wellbeing of other dancers. With so many unanswered questions and roles to play in the ‘dance’ toward sustainability, it is time for geographers to step up and take more prominent roles. This is no time for geographers to be wallflowers, but rather a time to join the dance.

REFERENCES Anderson, S. C., J. Mills, J. M. Flemming, R. Watson and H. K. Lotze 2011. ‘Serial exploitation of global sea cucumber fisheries’, Fish and Fisheries, 12 (3). DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00397. Bernbaum, E. 2006. ‘Sacred mountains: Themes and teachings’. Mountain Research and Development, 26 (4), 304–309. DOI:[304:SMTAT]2.0.CO;2. Bernhardt, E. S., M. A. Palmer, J. D. Allan, G. Alexander, K. Barnas, S. Brooks, J. Carr, S. Clayton, C. Dahm, J. Follstad-Shah, D. Galat, S. Gloss, P. Goodwin, D. Hart, B. Hassett, R. Jenkinson, S. Katz, G. M. Kondolf, P. S. Lake, R. Lave, J. L. Meyer, T. K. O’Donnell, L. Pagano, B. Powell and E. Sudduth 2005. ‘Synthesizing U.S. river restoration efforts’, Science, 308, 636–637.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 90

20/04/2020 14:23

The dance of sustainability: a call to geographers  91 Bhagwat, S. A. and C. Rutte 2006. ‘Sacred groves: Potential for biodiversity management’, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4 (10), 519–524. Biermann, F. 2016. ‘Epilogue: Politics for a new Earth: Governing in the “Anthropocene”’, in S. Nicholson and S. Jinnah (eds.), New Earth Politics: Essays from the Anthropocene. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 405–420. Butman, J. 2016. ‘Against “Sustainability”’, New York Times, 8 August 2016, accessed 24 August 2016 at http:// Cronon, W. 1996. ‘Introduction: In search of nature’, in W. Cronon (ed.), Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 23–56. Dale, V. H. and K. L. Kline 2013. ‘Issues in using landscape indicators to assess land changes’, Ecological Indicators, 28, 91–99. Dyer, J., L. C. Stringer, A. J. Dougill, J. Leventon, M. Nshimb, F. Chama, A. Kafwifwi, J. I. Muledi, J.-M. K. Kaumbu, M. Falcao, S. Muhorro, F. Munyemba, G. M. Kalaba and S. Syampungani 2014. ‘Assessing participatory practices in community-based natural resource management: Experiences in community engagement from southern Africa’, Journal of Environmental Management, 137, 137–145. Ekins, P., S. Simon, L. Deutsch, C. Folke and R. De Groot 2003. ‘A framework for the practical application of the concepts of critical natural capital and strong sustainability’, Ecological Economics, 44(2–3), 165–185. Future Earth 2017. ‘Future Earth: Research for global sustainability’, accessed 11 December 2016 at http://www. Graf, W. 2006. ‘Downstream hydrologic and geomorphic effects of large dams on American rivers’, Geomorphology, 79, 336–360. Green Mountain Power 2017. ‘Understanding power: Learn all about renewable energy and the power grid of the future’, accessed 8 January 2017 at​-renewable-energy. Griggs, D., M. Stafford-Smith, O. Gaffney, J. Rockström, M. C. Öhman, P. Shyamsundar, W. Steffen, G. Glaser, N. Kanie and I. Noble 2013. ‘Sustainable development goals for people and planet’, Nature, 495, 305–307. Grimmond, C. S. B., H. C. Ward and S. Kotthaus 2016. ‘Effects of urbanization on local and regional climate’, in K. C. Seto, W. D. Solecki and C. A. Griffith (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Urbanization and Global Environmental Change. London: Routledge, pp. 169–187. Guilford, G. 2013. ‘Why does a rhino horn cost $300,000? Because Vietnam thinks it cures cancer and hangovers’, The Atlantic, 15 May 2013, accessed 14 January 2017 at why-does-a-rhino-horn-cost-300-000-because-vietnam-thinks-it-cures-cancer-and-hangovers/275881/. Harden, C. P. 2009. ‘Sustainability and dancing’, Association of American Geographers Newsletter, 44 (9), 3, accessed 19 January 2020 at Harden, C. P. 2012. ‘Framing and re-framing questions of human–environment interaction’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102 (4), 737–747. Islam, S. N. 2015. ‘Inequality and Sustainability’, DESA Working Paper No. 145, ST/ESA/2015/DWP/145. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, accessed 26 January 2017 at esa/desa/papers/2015/wp145_2015.pdf. IUCN/UNEP/WWF 1991. Caring for the Earth. A Strategy for Sustainable Living, Gland, Switzerland: IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Jakob, M. and C. Steckel 2016. ‘Implications of climate change mitigation for sustainable development’, Environmental Research Letters, 11, 104010. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/10/104010. López-Ridaura, S., O. Masera and M. Astier 2002. ‘Evaluating the sustainability of complex socio-environmen-​ tal systems: The MESMIS framework’, Ecological Indicators, 2, 135–148. Matous, P. 2015. ‘Social networks and environmental management at multiple levels: Soil conservation in Sumatra’, Ecology and Society, 20 (3), 37, accessed 19 January 2020 at​ 816-200337. McKibben, B. 2015. ‘Power to the people’, The New Yorker, 29 June 2015. Melo, F. P. L., S. R. R. Pinto, P. H. S. Brancalion, P. S. Castro, R. R. Rodrigues, J. Aronson and M. Tabarelli 2013. ‘Priority setting for scaling-up tropical forest restoration projects: Early lessons from the Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact’, Environmental Science & Policy, 33, 395–404. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press. Miller, H. J., C. P. Tribby, B. B. Brown, K. R. Smith, C. M. Werner, J. Wolf, L. Wilson and M. G. Oliveira 2015. ‘Public transit generates new physical activity: Evidence from individual GPS and accelerometer data before and after light rail construction in a neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA’, Health Place, 36, 8–17. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.08.005. Moran, E. 2006. ‘Quality of life: When less is more’, in People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 150–177.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 91

20/04/2020 14:23

92  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Niemeijer, D. and R. S. de Groot 2008. ‘A conceptual framework for selecting environmental indicator sets’, Ecological Indicators, 8, 14–25. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2006.11.012. NOAA 2017. ‘NOAA Fisheries’, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, accessed 20 January 2020 at NRC 2009. Urban Stormwater Management in the United States, Committee on Reducing Stormwater Discharge Control, Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies of Science, accessed 19 January 2020 at​ agement-in-the-united-states. NSIDC 2017. ‘Low sea ice extent continues in both poles’, 5 January 2017, accessed 20 January 2017 at http:// O’Rourke, D. and N. Lollo 2015. ‘Transforming consumption: From decoupling, to behavior change, to system changes for sustainable consumption’, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 40 (1): 233–259. Palmer, M. A. and S. Filoso 2009. ‘Restoration of ecosystem services for environmental markets’, Science, 325, 575. DOI: 10.1126/science.1172976. Pickett, S. T. A., C. G. Boone, B. P. McGrath, M. L. Cadenasso, D. L. Childers, L. A. Ogden, M. McHale and J. M. Grove 2013. ‘Ecological science and transformation to the sustainable city’, Cities, 32, S10–S20, accessed 19 January 2020 at Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, A. Persson, F. S. Chapin III, E. F. Lambin . . . J. A. Foley 2009. ‘A safe operating space for humanity’, Nature, 461, 472–475. Salazar, J. F. 2015. ‘Buen Vivir: South America’s rethinking of the future we want’, The Conversation, 23 July 2015, accessed 20 January 2017 at​ ture-we-want-44507. Shepherd, J. M. 2006. ‘Evidence of urban-induced precipitation variability in arid climate regimes’, Journal of Arid Environments, 67 (4), 607–628. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.03.022. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2019. World Population Prospects: 2019: Volume I. Comprehensive Tables, accessed 19 January 2020 at Comprehensive-Tables.pdf. New York: United Nations. U.S. Code 1969. ‘Congressional declaration of national environmental policy’, Title 42, Chapter 55, Subchapter I, § 4331 U.S. Code § 4331, accessed 15 January 2017 at Van Boven, L. 2005. ‘Experientialism, materialism, and the pursuit of happiness’, Review of General Psychology, 9 (2), 132–142. WHO 2017. ‘WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database (update 2016)’, accessed 20 January 2017 at Wilhite, H. 2016. The Political Economy of Low Carbon Transformation: Breaking the Habits of Capitalism. Oxon, UK and New York, NY: Routledge. Wolch, J. R., J. Byrne and J. P. Newell 2014. ‘Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities “just green enough”’, Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 234–244, accessed 19 January 2020 at Wolf, K. L. and A. S. T. Robbins 2015. ‘Metro nature, environmental health, and economic value’, Environmental Health Perspectives, 123 (5), 390–398. World Commission on Environment and Development 1987. Our Common Future [known as the Brundtland report]. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Zalasiewicz, J., M. Williams, A. Smith, T. L. Barry, A. L. Coe, P. R. Bown, P. Brenchley, D. Cantrill, A. Gale, P. Gibbard, F. J. Gregory, M. W. Hounslow, A. C. Kerr, P. Pearson, R. Knox, J. Powell, C. Waters, J. Marshall, M. Oates, P. Rawson and P. Stone 2008. ‘Are we now living in the Anthropocene?’, GSA Today, 18, 4–8. DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01802A.1.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 92

20/04/2020 14:23

6.  Sustainability and globalization Helena Norberg-Hodge

INTRODUCTION Sustainability is a remarkably pliable word. These days one is likely to hear it tripping off the lips of a politician at the World Economic Forum or the CEO of Monsanto, or to see it in a glossy advertisement for British Petroleum. It has been transformed into a comforting word—a green-tinged smoke screen behind which big business carries on as usual. It has come to mean “sustaining economic growth and corporate profits.” If, on the other hand, we reclaim the original definition of sustainability—something akin to “the ability to sustain all life on earth while ensuring for human wellbeing”— economic growth and corporate profits are revealed as sustainability’s biggest obstacles (Jackson 2009). In 2015, a major study of 24 indicators of human activity and environmental decline titled “The Great Acceleration” concluded that, “the last 60 years have without doubt seen the most profound transformation of the human relationship with the natural world in the history of humankind” (Broadgate et al. 2015). The authors of the study make clear that it is the global, growth-based corporate economy driving the Great Acceleration (a rather clinical term for global ecocide). Accordingly, if sustainability as sustaining-life-and-wellbeing is to come to pass, we must confront the global growth economy— globalization—head-on. And if the global economy is fundamentally, structurally unsustainable, then it is only logical that its opposite—localization—is the path towards genuine sustainability. Localization means reorienting our economic priorities away from ever-increasing growth, distance and concentration of wealth and power towards the revitalization of communities and local economies. This simple shift is a remarkable solution-multiplier, simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing more and better jobs, and improving our quality of life. If we want to protect the natural world, effectively address poverty, rebuild harmonious societies and have real economic prosperity, a shift from globalizing to localizing is absolutely necessary. A quick look at the basic features of the global economy shows us why.

THE GLOBAL ECONOMY It is a peculiar situation we have found ourselves in today, where many governments are in debt and struggling to stay afloat, while global corporations and banks are flush with cash. In fact, more than half of the 100 biggest economies in the world now are corporations (Jackson 2009). This should not be surprising when seen in the context of globalizing policies over the past decades. Through tax incentives, subsidies and regulatory policies, governments have systematically promoted the growth of global banks and corporations. At the same time, governments have been left holding the bag for all the social and 93

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 93

20/04/2020 14:23

94  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability environmental problems—from displaced workers to air and water pollution to climate chaos—that are inevitable byproducts of all this corporate growth. Because “free trade” agreements give corporations the right to scour the globe for the cheapest labor, the lowest taxes, and the laxest environmental standards, they are able to blackmail governments—forcing them into a race to the bottom in order to retain jobs and any hope of prosperity. It’s a race that governments—and the citizens and environments they represent—cannot win. As globalization further enriches corporate interests, they are able to increase their expenditure on lobbyists, campaign contributions and political advertising—giving them still more influence over government decision-making (Guardian 2016). Within this system of corporate control, economic growth is touted as the panacea for any problems the system creates. Coupled with ever-expanding interest-bearing debt, this belief enforces a structural imperative for further economic growth, and further entrenchment of corporate power. The global economy has a destabilizing effect on communities as well. In many places, economic pressures continue to drive people from their land-based communities into ever larger cities—where greatly heightened competitive pressures serve to further disconnect people from each other and nature. The result is social unrest, environmental breakdown and a decrease in psychological wellbeing. As acknowledged by the World Bank, globalization is not an evolutionary or inevit­ able process but “occurs when countries lower barriers such as import tariffs and open their economies up to investment and trade with the rest of the world” (World Bank 2008). The rules that have allowed economic globalization to flourish are largely set out in “free trade” treaties and agreements. Many of these treaties have “investor-state dispute” provisions that grant private corporations the right to sue governments if they believe that regulations will reduce their expected profits. Most nations are now bound up in agreements that force them to acquiesce to the demands of big corporations and banks, or, that make them engage in costly legal battles that take place in secretive, corporate-friendly arbitration tribunals outside the public legal system (Broadgate et al. 2015, 90). The huge scale of the economy makes it hard to see the links between the rules of the game and the problems that ensue. Even government leaders and corporate CEOs can be unaware of the impact their decisions have on the other side of the world. The same has become true of most of us: the distances between producers and consumers have grown so wide that it has become impossible to make ethical choices. A fish served in a California restaurant may have been caught illegally on a Thai fishing vessel manned by slaves. A t-shirt bought in Germany may have been sewn in a Bangladeshi sweatshop, where workers labored in unsafe conditions for starvation wages. Many well-meaning people believe that once we reach a certain level of economic growth, it will spill over into benefits for the world’s poor and encourage more spending on protecting the environment—the philosophy embedded in the phrase, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Still others believe that a financial crisis so severe will eventually arise, toppling the system and forcing us to rebuild something better. I subscribe to neither viewpoint. Many years ago, the Swiss economist H.C. Binswanger convinced me that deregulated capital—money de-linked from any standard or limit—could keep multiplying endlessly, even as ecosystems and societies crashed. In other words, the economy

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 94

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  95 could keep growing until the last tree falls. Despite its deep flaws and contradictions, the current economic system may outlive much of the natural and social world. Indeed, in many places, it already has.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF GLOBALIZATION One of the main features of the global economy is its reliance on long-distance trade and transport, which is a major contributor to carbon emissions and climate change. Much of this trade is needless. In China, for example, selling goods domestically incurs a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 17 percent, while exports enjoy VAT rebates and imports are completely exempt. As a result, China’s businesses routinely export goods and then reimport them to evade VAT. In most years since 2005, China has imported more goods from itself than it did from the US. Such absurdities are enabled by global subsidies on fossil fuels, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates total a staggering US$1.9 trillion per year (World Bank 2008). Cheap fossil fuel and skewed tax breaks also support “redundant trade,” the regular exchange of identical products back and forth from country to country as companies try to take advantage of minute price swings and other financial advantages. For example, the US exports around 350,000 tons of potatoes each year, while importing roughly 320,000 tons. Beef exports and imports both total approximately 900,000 tons. The same holds true for a range of other goods including sugar, bottled water and waffles in the US, and milk, bread, eggs, and pork in the UK. This practice is commonplace in most industrialized countries. So, while the economic theories behind global trade speak of “comparative advantage” and increased efficiency, the system is in fact incredibly inefficient, needlessly wasting natural resources and generating vast quantities of pointless pollution. Prioritizing production for export rather than for local consumption has also encouraged a widespread shift from small-scale, diversified farming in favor of large-scale, energy- and chemical-intensive monocultural production. This shift is fundamentally anti-ecological, as acknowledged in a recent report by the World Bank- and United Nations-commissioned IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development). The report found that “more than 40% of all [greenhouse gas] emissions depend on the way we farm and eat,” and added that “smallscale systems producing for local markets and direct consumption have a significantly lower climate impact than large-scale commodity production with complex transport, processing and cold chains.” The report argued that, “the most important measures to achieve [the prevention of greenhouse gas emissions] are reducing the use of mineral fertilizer and substituting chemical fertilizer with green manure and organic matter, as well as using natural pest control instead of chemical herbicides and insecticides” (IAASTD 2014a). Because they are tailored to their local ecosystems, diverse local food systems excel in utilizing these low-impact agricultural methods. Unfortunately, existing local food systems in much of the world—especially the Global South—are being eliminated as global trade in food expands. The global food system cannot use low-impact ecological methods because it requires the mass-production of standardized commodities—which in turn

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 95

20/04/2020 14:23

96  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability require chemically-fertilized production in mechanized monocultures. Such production is not only a major contributor to climate change, it also destroys both agricultural and wild biodiversity. Despite its ecological costs, industrial agriculture has been supported—and made to seem “efficient”—by heavy government subsidies, which not only support globally-traded commodities, fossil fuels, and agrochemicals, but the infrastructures needed for global trade (Norberg-Hodge 2016). This has made systems that are incredibly costly for both governments and the planet’s living systems seem “efficient” and “cost-effective.” Social Consequences Globalization enables transnational corporations to enter markets and influence cultures around the world. The result is that large swathes of humanity have been uprooted, displaced and disenfranchised in the name of “modernization.” As the market for globally-traded food commodities has grown, large tracts of land have shifted from the hands of small farmers to foreign investors, who use the land to produce global commodities—including biofuels, tobacco, animal feed and fibers. Since the year 2000, foreign investors have acquired 26.7 million hectares of land around the globe for agriculture, from Romania, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Brazil (Norberg-Hodge 2016). This phenomenon, dubbed “land-grabbing,” displaces land-based communities—oftentimes forcibly—and turns them into cheap labor for enormous plantations. This leads to a heartbreaking paradox in which the people who grow the food that feeds much of the world are largely unable to feed themselves (World Bank 2008). Moreover, globalization has paved the way for artificially cheap goods to infiltrate local markets worldwide, putting millions of smaller producers out of business. Huge numbers of people are left jobless and dependent on a distant economy over which they have no control. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) left millions of small farmers in Mexico without viable livelihoods as US corn—subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars per year—flooded the Mexican market (Cottarelli et al. 2013). As in other parts of the Global South, many of these displaced workers moved into cities to seek low-paying jobs in foreign-owned maquiladoras, replacing what were once better-paying jobs in the Global North. It is not surprising that the US suffered a net loss of 850,000 jobs under NAFTA, and a further 3.2 million jobs under the Permanent Normal Trade Relations deal with China (IAASTD 2014a). All too often, economic insecurity translates into fear-mongering, prejudice, and conflict. Much of the right-wing populism in Western countries in the past few years has been supported by residents of marginalized rural communities, who have borne the brunt of job losses from outsourcing and downsizing. In other parts of the world, ethnic conflicts simmer and periodically boil over from Sri Lanka to Bhutan, from Turkey to Guatemala. While the reasons for these conflicts are complex, the trend towards growing ethnic and religious friction in the Global South is certainly exacerbated by economic “development.” The dismantling of local economic security leads to heightened competition for jobs and resources, while the undermining of cultural self-esteem, in many instances, incites an aggressive attempt to assert threatened cultural identities (IAASTD 2014b). As Indian activist Vandana Shiva points out:

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 96

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  97 fundamentalism and fascism have always emerged when societies are pushed into deep insecurity by outside forces—most commonly those of imperialism and economic globalization . . . Today, these forces are creating deep-seated insecurities and resentments across the world, as traditional cultures, value systems and even elected governments crumble before the onslaught of rapid technological change, the Americanization of culture and the spread of the corporate monoculture (interview with Vandana Shiva, July 2006).

Psychological Consequences Consumerism is integral to economic growth in modern economies. It is propelled by media and advertising images that deepen people’s insecurities, and the message that further consumption will cure the ensuing pain. The growing rates and severity of body image issues, particularly in Japan, the UK, Australia, and North America, are largely attributed to growing pressure from mass media and advertising to achieve the perfect image. These effects are compounded by the breakdown of face-to-face relationships in local communities—where role models, love and validation were once found. Their manufactured replacements—idealized media images and pseudo-relationships on social media—only serve to exacerbate insecurity. Moreover, young people (who in the US are exposed to approximately 3000 ads per day (Nolte et al. 2016)), are implicitly told that if they want the respect of their peers, they’ve got to have the latest running shoes, hairstyle, or smart-phone. This perverts the fundamental human need to belong into a need to consume. With corporate deregulation, this consumer culture is being globalized, along with its Western-centric ideals of beauty and success. Around the world, sales of blue contact lenses are escalating, and more and more people are using chemicals to lighten their skin and hair. If you are a farmer or are dark-skinned, you are made to feel primitive, backward, and inferior. This is a profound statement of self-rejection—of embarrassment at being who you really are (Philpott 2008). Biocultural Consequences Cultural and biological diversity go hand in hand. We know that the more biodiverse an ecosystem is, the more resilient it is and the greater chance it has of surviving drastic changes—from severe fires and natural disasters to climate change. Although many people are aware of the rapid loss of biodiversity in recent years, far fewer are aware that we may be losing the diversity of human cultures on the planet at an even greater rate (Relinger 2010). Global cultural diversity is not easy to measure, but the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regards languages as a key parameter. It states that “predicted extinction rates for languages range from 50 to 90% of the world’s 6900 languages by the end of this century” (Scott 2015). Not only do other cultures have an intrinsic right to survive, those diverse ways of life represent a key component of our shared human heritage: if we dare to listen, we may learn important lessons about patterns of living that can help us to reverse our many crises.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 97

20/04/2020 14:23

98  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

KEY FEATURES OF LOCALIZATION As mentioned earlier, localization is a process of economic decentralization that enables communities, regions, and nations to take more control over their own affairs. It does not mean that every community should be entirely self-reliant; it simply means shortening the distance between producers and consumers, and strengthening local markets rather than a monopoly-dominated global market. Localization does not mean that people in cold climates are denied oranges or avocados, but that their basic staple food needs do not travel thousands of miles when they can be produced closer to home. Rather than ending all long-distance trade, steps towards localization reduce unnecessary transport while strengthening and diversifying economies at the community as well as national level. Ultimately, the degree of diversification, the goods produced and the amount of trade will naturally vary from region to region. BOX 6.1  LEARNING FROM LADAKH The Himalayan region of Ladakh or Little Tibet, had been isolated from the outside world for centuries before it was suddenly thrown open to development and the global economy in the mid 1970s. At that time, I arrived there as a linguist to learn the language so I could assist in making a film about this pristine culture. I spoke several languages and had seen a lot of the world, but nothing had prepared me for what I encountered in Ladakh. High up on the Tibetan plateau, I came to know a people who had never been colonized or “developed,” and were still living according to their own values and principles. Despite a harsh and barren environment with extreme temperatures and almost no rainfall, the Ladakhis were prospering materially. Even more importantly, they were also prospering emotionally. I was able to pick up the language quickly, enabling me to experience the culture almost as an insider. Over time, I came to realize that the Ladakhis were the most free, peaceful, and joyous people I had ever met. The culture was so attuned to their environment that—with only the scarce resources available locally—the Ladakhis managed to attain almost complete self-reliance: they were dependent on the outside world for just salt, tea, and a few metals for cooking utensils and tools. Yet they enjoyed more than mere subsistence. By adapting their activities to the exigencies of their natural environment and the rhythm of the seasons, the Ladakhis had a remarkably high standard of living: in fact, there was neither poverty nor hunger. Although Ladakhis spent a long time accomplishing each task, they worked at a gentle pace and had a surprising amount of leisure. The traditional way of life was based upon and continually fostered a deep connection with place, which in turn supported community. Ladakhis were thus raised in an enveloping network of extended family, friends, plants, and animals. This profound security, in turn, fostered tolerance and openness towards others. Unfortunately, most people in the West believe that small towns breed small-mindedness, and that big multicultural cities promote understanding and peaceful coexistence. And, of course, in a modern context, this is what we experience. In most parts of the world, small towns and rural villages have been marginalized for many generations and their populations disempowered, which in turn brings out some of the worst human characteristics. Feeling that you are backward and less worthy than others fuels both intolerance and an aggressive attempt to prove yourself. Perhaps the biggest gift Ladakh has given me is the firm conviction that human beings inherently desire love and social harmony. We are shaped by culture to a far greater extent than we often realize, and this influence extends throughout our entire lives. While the global economy is fostering competition and consumerism worldwide, in traditional cultures like Ladakh, spiritual teachings offer a constant reminder of belonging, of our inextricable interdependence with one another and with everything in the cosmos. For centuries this reminder has been ever present in daily affairs, in rituals and in words of wisdom, passed on from the elders to the young ones.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 98

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  99 Yet, everything is not as it was when I first arrived. As “development” and consumer pressures got underway, I began to see the same problems we take for granted in the West. Village life itself was radically transformed. Subsidies for imports destroyed the market for local producers, creating a cascade of negative effects. This one shift simultaneously destroyed livelihoods and cultural traditions, undermined cooperation and community, created competition and poverty and severed the connections between people and the land. Losing their sense of connection and belonging meant a concurrent loss of self-esteem. The young were particularly vulnerable. The previously strong, outgoing women of Ladakh were replaced by a new generation who were unsure of themselves and desperately concerned with their appearance. Young men rushed after the symbols of modernity such as sunglasses, iPods and blue jeans – not because they found those jeans more attractive or comfortable, but because they were symbols of modern life. I have seen Ladakhis wearing wristwatches they cannot read, and heard them apologizing for the lack of electric lighting in their homes – the same villagers who laughed at electric lighting as an unnecessary gimmick when it first appeared in 1975. Even traditional foods were no longer a source of pride: when I was guest in the villages, people apologized if they served the traditional roasted barley, ngamphe, instead of instant noodles. These changes eroded Ladakh’s material and cultural richness and, at a fundamental level, were about a loss of self-esteem. Over the next 20 years I watched Leh, the capital, turn into an urban sprawl. The streets became choked with traffic, and the air tasted of diesel fumes. “Housing colonies” of soulless, cement boxes spread into the dusty desert. The once pristine streams became polluted, the water undrinkable. For the first time, there were homeless people. Within a few years, unemployment and poverty, pollution and friction between different communities appeared – problems that were previously unknown. Some consequences were deadly. Although the majority of Ladakhis are Buddhist, there is also a significant number of Muslims. For more than 500 years, these two communities lived side by side with no recorded instance of group conflict. They helped each other at harvest time, attended one another’s religious festivals, sometimes even intermarried. But within a decade of the imposition of Western-style “development,” Buddhists and Muslims were engaged in pitched battles—including the bombing of each other’s homes. The modern economy had centralized jobs in the capital, creating tremendous competition for employment. Because people felt deeply insecure both economically and psychologically, religious and ethnic differences escalated into group rivalry. Shortly after witnessing these tragic changes in Ladakh, I was invited to work in Bhutan where I saw almost identical cultural destruction taking place because of imposed development—only this time it was Buddhists and Hindus that were suddenly in conflict. These experiences forced me to recognize the economic and psychological underpinnings of so much of the bloodshed and violence, isolation, and despair that have become commonplace throughout the “developing” world. These dynamics are not limited to the less industrialized world. Most Western countries went through this process several generations ago. Yet small pockets remained where local economies thrived. In the 1980s, my husband and I lived in rural Spain and were delighted to find that many of the more remote villages were still vibrant and self-reliant. In the years since, however, the majority of these have also been drained of life. As commerce and political power became more and more concentrated, rural livelihoods were undermined and jobs moved into urban areas. Now most of these villages are tourist curiosities and home only to residents old enough to remember when their villages were still lively and resilient. In Ladakh and elsewhere, these changes were not the result of human nature, but of an inhuman system. What motivates us as human beings is not innate greed; it is the need to be loved and to belong. Looking at the bigger picture in this way is empowering, and is essential to effecting meaningful and lasting change; it can help us to realize that the same economic policies that are breaking down community are destroying our environment. This means we can reject the dominant view, which is that protecting the environment must entail sacrificing quality of life, and that destroying nature for its resources is essential for our wellbeing. As more people become aware of this, there is growing broad-based support—from social as well as environmental movements—for a fundamental, systemic shift in direction.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 99

20/04/2020 14:23

100  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability In the global economy, it’s as though our arms are so long, we can’t see what our hands are doing: we can’t know whether we are acting ethically when we shop or when we invest, or even when we flip on a light switch. When the economy operates on a smaller scale, by contrast, everything is necessarily more transparent. We can see if the apples we are buying from the neighboring farm are being sprayed with pesticides; we can see if workers’ rights are being abused. In this way, localization makes business more accountable. Localization has nothing to do with xenophobic isolationism. On the contrary, it emerges as a humane response to the profound social and ecological harms occasioned by the global growth economy. Perhaps counter-intuitively, localization is supportive of greater global collaboration, understanding, compassion and cultural exchange. In fact, reversing the global juggernaut will require collaboration between grassroots efforts worldwide. The competitive stresses and pressures imposed by corporate-controlled globalization, by contrast, have only hardened and exacerbated racial, ethnic, religious, and international friction.

FROM GLOBAL TO LOCAL The shift from global to local will require efforts on two levels. At the grassroots level, millions of local and regional enterprises are already demonstrating that they can do a better job at providing necessary goods and services than the handful of large corporations that currently dominate markets (Goodman 1999). These community-based economic structures reweave the social and economic fabric in ways that meet the needs of nature—both wild and human. But in order for these initiatives to spread more widely, localization also requires “top down” policy change. Taxes and subsidies need to be shifted, and trade and finance need to be re-regulated so that businesses and banks become place-based and adhere to the rules and regulations determined by society (see Box 6.1). Rather than just thinking in terms of isolated, scattered grassroots efforts, it is necessary to encourage government policies that would promote small-scale on a large-scale, leveling the economic playing field that is currently favoring the big and the global through outrageous tax breaks, hidden subsidies, and skewed regulations. Shifting policy means looking at trade agreements, public expenditures, regulatory reform, and development practices in many different sectors. Here are some examples: ●


Fossil fuels: The estimates for subsidies for fossil fuel companies range from $10 billion to $52 billion a year in the US alone. Globally, it’s around $500 billion. These come in the form of direct monetary gifts, tax exemptions, infrastructure and development support, price controls, and so on. What these figures do not include is the estimated $120 billion spent in the US on healthcare related to pollution-induced illnesses and the environmental “externalities,” including the effects of climate change that defy quantification. Renewable energy technologies receive less than a fifth of the subsidies—about $88 billion globally. Shifting these subsidies would result in less pollution, more jobs and cost savings in the long run. Energy installations: From nuclear power stations to big dams, large-scale centralized energy projects are today heavily subsidized, their environmental costs largely

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 100

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  101 ignored. Phasing out these multi-billion-dollar investments while offering real support for locally available renewable energy supplies would result in lower pollution levels, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and less dependence on dwindling petroleum supplies and dangerous nuclear technologies. These decentralized energy sources would also help to keep money from “leaking” out of local economies.   In the South, large-scale energy plants are geared towards the needs of urban areas and export-oriented production—thus promoting both urbanization and globalization. Supporting decentralized renewable energy infrastructures instead would strengthen villages, smaller towns, and rural economies in general and thereby help halt the urbanizing process. Since the energy infrastructure in the South is not yet very developed, there is a realistic possibility that this strategy could be implemented in the near future if there were sufficient pressure from the public on banks and funding agencies. Awareness of global warming may help encourage a rapid shift in this direction. ●● Agriculture: Farm subsidies in most countries today heavily favor large-scale industrial agribusinesses. Among the World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries, a reported $221 billion is given out, with a full two-thirds going to the largest, wealthiest farms. What’s more, of the $700 billion in subsidies given to farmers worldwide, only 1.5 percent is targeted at improving the environment or other public benefits (Food and Land Use Coalition 2019). The subsidies are not only in the form of direct payments to farmers that are biased towards large-scale agriculture; funding for agricultural research is also heavily skewed in favor of biotechnology and chemical- and energy-intensive monoculture. Shifting these expenditures towards those that encourage smaller-scale, diversified agriculture would help revitalize rural economies in both North and South, while promoting biodiversity, healthier soils, food security, balanced and diverse diets, and fresher food.   In countries of the South, colonialism, development, and globalization have meant that the best land is devoted to crops for Northern markets. Shifting the emphasis to diversified, low-input production for local consumption would not only improve economic stability, it would also reduce the gap between rich and poor, while eliminating much of the hunger that is now so endemic in the “developing” parts of the world. ●● Markets and public spaces: High-speed motorways built with government funds (or through public and private “partnerships”) inherently promote the growth of corporate “superstores,” “hypermarkets,” and sprawling shopping malls. Spending some of that money instead to build or improve spaces for public markets—such as those that were once found in virtually every European town and village—would enable local merchants and artisans with limited capital to sell their wares. This would enliven town centres while reducing car use, fossil fuel burning, and pollution. Similarly, support for farmers’ markets would help to revitalize both the cities and the agricultural economy of the surrounding regions, while reducing the resources spent to process, package, and transport food. Creating and improving spaces for public meetings—from town halls to village squares—would encourage face-to-face exchanges between decision-makers and the public, serving both to enliven communities and to strengthen participatory democracy (Bardo & Warwicker 2012).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 101

20/04/2020 14:23

102  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Global media: Television and other centralized mass media have been the recipients of massive subsidies in the form of research and development, infrastructure development, educational training, and other direct and indirect support. Now even national broadcasting companies are threatened by takeover by global media empires. These conglomerates are rapidly homogenizing diverse traditions around the world. Supporting facilities for regional entertainment—from music and drama to dances and festivals—would offer a healthy alternative. Communities and nations should have the right to restrict the bombardment of their children by violent and commercial media images. ●● Education: Schooling is being increasingly geared towards the needs of corporations, which are presumed to be the future employers of today’s children. In North and South, curricula are ever more standardized and technology focused. In much of the developing world, formal education continues to be based on the colonial model—with rote-learning in the language of the colonial power, with cultural, historical and other information coming from abroad, and with training in skills relevant to the export economy rather than the local or regional economy. In most countries, this form of education filters out any information from around the world about widespread social and economic problems, leaving idealized myths about “development” and Western urban life intact.   In the North, corporations are edging their way into education through widespread privatization of schools. Charter schools in the US were originally intended as sites of innovation and individualized, even place-based learning. In the last decade, however, there has been a subtle takeover, with the charitable arms of corporations such as Walmart and Microsoft donating large amounts of money to charter management organizations (CMOs). These CMOs, large corporations themselves, are perfectly positioned to siphon off government education spending. Localized education, in contrast, would be for the benefit of students and society, not corporations and far off investors. Schools would be held accountable to the local communities and taxes would be spent on bettering education. Societies in both North and South would benefit enormously from a shift away from corporate-style curricula towards diverse forms of place-based, student-centred learning. Rather than encouraging specialization for a competitive, “jobless growth” economy, children would be educated for diverse environments, cultures and economic systems. Shifting course so as to provide training in regional agriculture, architecture, and appropriate technology would further a real decentralization of production for basic needs. This does not imply that the flow of information from other cultures would be curtailed; in fact, cultural exchange would be an important part of education. ●● Healthcare: At present, investments in healthcare favor huge, centralized hospitals serving urban populations. The inevitable pressure to cut costs means that doctors and nurses have to serve more and more patients, inevitably eroding the quality of attention given to each patient. Spending the same money instead on a greater number of smaller local clinics—relying less on high technology and more on health practitioners, local health education and preventative medicine—would bring healthcare to more people while boosting local economies.   In the South, local economies and communities would similarly benefit if support for capital- and energy-intensive, centralized healthcare based on a Western ●●

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 102

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  103 model were shifted towards more localized and indigenous alternatives that are affordable to the majority of the population.

RE-REGULATING CORPORATIONS AND BANKS Large-scale, globally oriented businesses also benefit from a range of government regulations—and in many cases, a lack of regulations—at the expense of smaller, more localized enterprises. Although big business complains loudly of “red tape,” much of the regulatory bureaucracy could be dispensed with if production were smaller in scale and based more locally. In today’s climate of unfettered “free trade” some regulation is clearly necessary, and citizens need to insist that governments be allowed to protect their interests. This could best come about through international treaties in which governments agree to change the “rules of the game” to encourage a restoration of real diversity and decentralization in the business world. Among the areas that need to be changed are: Trade treaties: Instead of continuing to deregulate trade and finance, nations could work together on agreements that prioritize healthy local and national economies. Rather than to increase corporate profits and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the purpose of trade would be to provide a market for surplus production and to supplement goods that cannot be produced domestically.   In the South, many are aware that they would be far better off if they were allowed to protect and conserve their natural resources, nurture national and local business enterprises, and limit the impact of foreign media and advertising on their cultures. In much of the South, even “fair trade” may not be in people’s long-term interest if it pulls them away from a relatively secure local economy, rather than freeing them from “unfair trade.” ●● Capital flows: The unregulated flow of capital has been a prerequisite for the rapid growth of transnational corporations. The ease with which they can shift profits, operating costs and investment capital to and from all of their far-flung enterprises enables them to operate anywhere in the world, and even to hold sovereign nations hostage by threatening to leave and take their jobs with them. As a consequence, they can obtain subsidies and tax breaks denied to smaller companies. Limiting the free flow of capital would help to reduce the advantage that huge corporations have over smaller, more local enterprises, and help to make corporations more accountable to the places where they operate. ●● Indicators of economic health: Decision-makers often point to rising levels of GDP as proof that their policies are successful. What they fail to acknowledge is that GDP is woefully inadequate as a measure of societal wellbeing. GDP is simply a gross measure of market activity, of money changing hands. It does not distinguish between the desirable and the undesirable, between costs and gain. Increased expenditures on cancer, crime, car accidents, or oil spills all lead to rising GDP, but any reasonable assessment would count these as symptoms of societal ill-health, rather than wellbeing.   What’s more, GDP considers only the portion of economic activity that involves monetary transactions, thereby leaving out the functions of family, community, ●

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 103

20/04/2020 14:23

104  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability and the environment. Thus, paying to send one’s children to a day-care centre adds to GDP, while care at home by members of the family does not. Similarly, a forest cut down and turned into pulp adds to GDP, but a standing forest—crucial to the health of the biosphere—does not. As a result, policymakers who rely on GDP can easily support policies that do irreparable harm.   In the South, in particular, policies that focus on elevating GDP systematically lead to the breakdown of self-reliant economies that provide people’s needs with little use of cash. Through the process of “development,” healthy self-reliance is thus replaced by real poverty within the global economy. More accurate and complete measures of economic health would help reveal many of the hidden costs of our present globalizing course, and would make clear how much better off a shift in direction would leave us (Romaine 2015). ●● Tax systems: In almost every country, tax regulations systematically discriminate against small- and medium-scale businesses. Smaller-scale production is usually more labor-intensive, and heavy taxes are levied on labor through income taxes, social welfare taxes, value added taxes, payroll taxes, etc. Meanwhile, tax breaks (accelerated depreciation, investment allowances and tax credits, etc.) are afforded the capital- and energy-intensive technologies used by large corporate ­producers. Reversing this bias in the tax system would not only help local economies, but would create more jobs by favoring people instead of machines. Similarly, taxes on the energy used in production would encourage businesses that are less dependent on high levels of technological input—which again means smaller, more labor-intensive enterprises. And if fossil fuels were taxed so that their price reflected their real costs—including some measure of the environmental damage their consumption causes—there would be a reduction in transport, an increase in regional production for local consumption, and a healthy diversification of the economy. ●● Banking policies: Small businesses are also discriminated against through the lending policies of banks, which charge them significantly higher interest rates for loans than they charge big firms. They also often require that small business owners personally guarantee their loans—a guarantee not sought from the directors of large businesses. If more support were given to community banks and credit unions, then a greater number and variety of local businesses would thrive. For example, in the US, although small, localized financial institutions hold only about 11 percent of the banking assets, they account for more than a third of the small business lending nationwide (Guardian 2016). ●● Land use regulations: Local and regional land use rules could be amended to protect wild areas, open space and farmland from development. Political and financial support could be given to the various forms of land trust that have been designed for this purpose. In some cases, local governments have used public money to buy the development rights to farmland, thereby simultaneously protecting the land from suburban sprawl while reducing the financial pressure on farmers.   In urban areas, zoning regulations usually segregate residential, business, and manufacturing areas—a restriction necessitated by the needs and hazards of largescale production and marketing. These could be changed to enable an integration of homes, small shops and small-scale production. A rethinking of restrictions

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 104

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  105 on community-based ways of living would also be beneficial: zoning and other regulations aimed at limiting high-density developments often end up prohibiting environmentally sound living arrangements like co-housing and eco-villages. ●● Health and safety regulations: An unfair burden often falls on small-scale enterprises through regulations aimed at problems caused by large-scale production. Battery-style chicken farms, for example, clearly require significant environmental and health regulations, and indeed should be prohibited by law. The millions of closely confined animals are highly prone to disease, the tons of concentrated effluent need to be safely disposed of, and the long-distance transport of poultry entails the risk of spoilage. Yet a small producer—such as a farmer with a dozen free-range chickens—is subject to essentially the same regulations, often raising costs to levels that can make it impossible for them to remain in business. Largescale producers can spread the cost of compliance over a far greater volume, making it appear that they enjoy “economies of scale” over smaller producers. Such discriminatory regulations are widespread, and are decimating farm-based cheese production in Europe, small-scale apple cider production in America, and others.   How can regulations on large-scale operators be tightened without placing a crippling burden on small operators? One solution to this dilemma is a two-tier system of regulations: stricter controls—including bans and proscriptions—on large-scale producers and marketers, with strong safeguards against the “revolving door” between regulatory agencies and big business; and a simpler set of locally determined regulations for small-scale localized enterprises. Such a system would acknowledge that communities deserve the right to monitor foods that are produced locally for local consumption, and that such enterprises involve far fewer processes likely to damage human health or the environment.   Community-based minimum standards for local production and retailing would likely vary from place to place, influenced by local conditions and community values. Community peer pressure would ensure compliance with the agreed upon standards much more effectively than current systems of national or state-wide standards, which are largely anonymous and rely upon expensive enforcement mechanisms. Local regulation would allow more flexibility, encourage more accountability, and would dramatically reduce the cost of both monitoring and compliance. These highly localized community regulations would co-exist with national and international regulations for goods produced in one region and sold in another. Small-scale businesses oriented towards local markets would not be burdened by inappropriate regulations, but people and the environment would still be protected from the excesses of large-scale enterprises.

CHANGE AT THE GRASSROOTS In addition to these policy and regulatory shifts, we need countless more small, diverse, local initiatives of the kind that are already emerging. Unlike actions to halt the global economic steamroller, these small-scale steps require a slow pace and a deep, intimate understanding of local contexts, and are best designed and implemented by local people

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 105

20/04/2020 14:23

106  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability themselves. If supported by the policy changes discussed above, such initiatives will, over time, inevitably foster a return to cultural and biological diversity and long-term sustainability. Economic localization means an adaptation to cultural and biological diversity; therefore, no single “blueprint” is appropriate everywhere. The range of possibilities for local grassroots effort is as diverse as the locales in which it would take place. The following survey is by no means exhaustive, but illustrates the sorts of steps being taken today: ●





Community banks and loan funds allow people to invest in their neighbors and their community, rather than in distant corporations. These schemes enable small businesses to obtain cheap start-up loans of the kind that banks typically offer only to large corporations. “Buy-local” campaigns help local businesses survive, even when pitted against heavily subsidized corporate competitors. These campaigns not only help keep money from “leaking” out of the local economy, but also help educate people about the hidden costs—to the environment and to the community—in purchasing artificially cheaper distantly produced products. Around the world, grassroots organizations have emerged in response to the intrusion of huge corporate marketing chains into rural and small-town economies. For example, the McDonald’s Corporation— which aspires to open a new restaurant nearly every day in China, in addition to its existing empire of 35,000 in 100 countries (Norberg-Hodge 2016)—has met with grassroots resistance in at least two dozen countries. In the US, Canada and, most recently, the UK, the rapid expansion of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has spawned a whole network of citizens groups to protect jobs and the fabric of their communities from these sprawling “superstores.” A way of guaranteeing that money stays within the local economy is through the creation of local currencies that are only recognized by community members and local participating businesses. Similarly, Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) are, in effect, large-scale local barter systems. People list the services or goods they have to offer and the amount they expect in return. Their account is credited for goods or services they provide to other LETS members, and they can use those credits to purchase goods or services from anyone else in the local system. Thus, even people with little or no “real money” can participate in, and benefit from, the circulation of credit within the local economy. The eco-village movement aims at creating a complete antidote to dependence on the global economy. Around the industrialized world, people are building communities that attempt to get away from the waste and pollution, competition, and violence of contemporary life. Many rely on renewable energy and are seeking to develop more cooperative local economies. These efforts provide a significant alternative to the Western consumer model now being imposed on the less-developed parts of the world (Shuman 2006). The concept of the modern artisan economy has arisen both through conscious planning to conserve and promote cultural diversity and through innate human ingenuity. These human-scale, diversified economies can be found in many parts of the world, supporting the viability of traditional culture and demonstrating the need to avoid loss of further cultural diversity.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 106

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  107   For example in a recent survey by the Artisan Economy Initiative in Portland, Oregon, researchers found successful businesses of all sorts, including clothing and jewellery manufacturing, graphic design, furniture-making and food production. The 126 businesses surveyed employed more than 1000 people collectively and contributed over $250 million to the Portland economy (Norberg-Hodge 2016). Because these businesses are local, this money circulates within the community, generating more benefits instead of being immediately siphoned off to distant corporate headquarters and shareholders. These businesses also dovetail well with buy-local campaigns and opportunities for local banking.   In 2015, the first global study of cultural and creative industries showed that creators around the world, in all artistic sectors, are major contributors to local economies. In terms of revenues, local jobs, and promoting cultural diversity, creative industries help build sustainable economies, generate revenues and taxes  and enable millions of people, many of them young, to make a living from their talent. The annual revenues of cultural and creative industries exceed those of telecom services and employ more people than the car industry of Europe, Japan and the US combined (29.5 million vs. 25 million) (GPI 2019; HPI 2018). ● The most visible and successful area of localization at the grassroots has been the local food movement. For example, community supported agriculture (CSA) schemes have sprung up around the world. CSAs link consumers in towns and cities directly with a nearby farmer. Consumers usually have a chance to visit the farm where their food is grown, and in many cases their help on the farm is welcomed. CSAs provide small farmers with a constant and reliable market, while providing consumers with produce that is fresher and healthier than what they could buy at the supermarket. While small farmers linked to the industrial system continue to fail every year at an alarming rate, CSAs are allowing small-scale diversified farms to thrive in growing numbers. CSAs have spread rapidly throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan. In the US, the number of CSAs has climbed from only two in 1986 to 200 in 1992, and is more than 4000 today (Mitchell 2011). By connecting farmers directly with urban consumers, farmers’ markets similarly benefit local economies and the environment. The number of farmers’ markets in the US has grown substantially in the past few years, from 1755 in 1994 to over 8000 in 2013 (Burkitt & Jargon 2014). Interest in this form of marketing has grown elsewhere as well. In the UK, the number of farmers’ markets went from zero in 1996 to an estimated 750 in 2012 (GEN 2017). Related to the enthusiasm for CSAs and the spread of farmers’ markets is the growing general interest in local organic food. Despite the fact that some large-scale producers oriented towards export have tapped into this burgeoning segment of the food market, organic agricultural methods are most conducive to small-scale, diversified, local production for local consumption. If chemical-intensive, industrial agriculture continues to give way to organic methods, the potential for truly sustainable local food systems will increase dramatically.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 107

20/04/2020 14:23

108  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE The most important thing to recognize is that we do have the power to change things. The destructive, growth-at-any-cost global economy can only exist as long as we are prepared to accept and subsidize it. We can reject it, and instead rebuild diverse and interdependent local economies based on human-scale, place-based economic interactions. Localization is the solution that links so many issues together—social, economic, and environmental. Through localization rural economies in both North and South would be revitalized, helping to stem the unhealthy tide of urbanization. Production processes would be smaller in scale and more diversified, and therefore less stressful to the environment. Unnecessary transport would be minimized. Small-scale, renewable energy installations would both reduce the ecological costs of energy extraction and greenhouse gas emissions. People would no longer be forced to conform to the impossible ideals of a global consumer monoculture, thereby lessening the psychological pressures that often lead to ethnic conflict and violence. Ending the manic pursuit of trade would reduce the economic and hence political power of global corporations and eliminate the need to hand power to such supranational institutions as the WTO, thereby helping to reverse the erosion of democracy. Our changing climate and the end of cheap oil demand a fundamental shift in the way that we live. Continuing down the path of economic globalization will only create greater human suffering and environmental problems. The time to act is now. Through localization, we can begin to rebuild our communities and create true sustainability, ensuring a healthy planet for future generations.

REFERENCES Bardo, M. and M. Warwicker, (2012), Does farmers market food taste better? BBC Food online, June 23. https:// (accessed January 22, 2020). Broadgate, S.W., Deutsch, W.L., Gaffney, O., and C. Ludwig, (2015), The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration, The Anthropocene Review, 2(1), 81–98. Burkitt, L., and J. Jargon, (2014), McDonald’s to give China restaurants a makeover. Wall Street Journal online. April 18. (accessed January 22, 2020). Cottarelli, C., Sayeh, A.M., and M. Ahmed, (2013), Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications. IMF. (accessed September 28, 2017). Food and Land Use Coalition, (2019), Growing Better: Ten Critical Transitions to Transform Food and Land Use. (accessed January 20, 2020). GEN, (2017), The Global Eco-village Network (GEN) links many of these communities worldwide. https:// (accessed January 11, 2019). Goodman, E., (1999), Ads pollute most everything in sight. Albuquerque Journal, Section C, p. 3. GPI, (2019), The Genuine Progress Indicator. (accessed September 4, 2019). Guardian, (2016), Study: Big corporations dominate list of world’s top economic entities. https://www.theguardian. com/business/2016/sep/12/global-justice-now-study-multinational-businesses-walmart-apple-shell. HPI, (2018), Happy Planet Index. (accessed November 13, 2019). IAASTD, (2014a), Climate and Energy. Global report commissioned by United Nations & World Bank. http:// (accessed February 7, 2020). IAASTD, (2014b), Industrial Agriculture and Small Scale Farming. Global report commissioned by United Nations & World Bank. (accessed February 7, 2020). Jackson, T., (2009), Prosperity Without Growth. London: Earthscan Publications.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 108

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainability and globalization  109 Mitchell, S., (2011), How state banks bring the money home. Yes! Magazine, September 23. https://www. (accessed January 22, 2020). Nolte, K., Chamberlain, W., and M. Giger, (2016), International Land Deals for Agriculture: Fresh Insights from the Land Matrix: Analytical Report II. Pretoria, SA: Land Matrix. Norberg-Hodge, H., (2016), Localization, unpublished manuscript, p. 23. Philpott, T., (2008), Amnesty International: Forced labor in Brazil’s sugarcane fields. Grist. article/slave-ethanol/ (accessed January 16, 2017). Relinger, R., (2010), NAFTA and U.S. corn subsidies: Explaining the displacement of Mexico’s corn farmers. Prospect: Journal of International Affairs at UCSD. (accessed January 10, 2017). Romaine, S., (2015), The global extinction of languages and its consequences for cultural diversity. In H.F. Marten, M. Rießler, J. Saarikivi and R. Toivanen (eds) Cultural and Linguistic Minorities in the Russian Federation and the European Union (pp. 31–46). Cham: Springer. Scott, R.E., (2015). Fast track to lost jobs and lower wages. Working Economics Blog. The Economic Policy Institute. (accessed January 17, 2017). Shuman, M., (2006), The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. World Bank, (2008), World Integrated Trade Solution. China Trade Summary 2008. CountryProfile/en/Country/CHN/Year/2008/Summarytext (accessed January 17, 2017).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 109

20/04/2020 14:23

7.  The climate framework in sustainability research: a geographic critique from the Global South Kenneth R. Young

INTRODUCTION Use of land and other natural resources requires people to have knowledge of their environment. They need to evaluate levels of production of useful goods or services; to gauge their access to needed assets; and to consider the long-term sustainability of the land use practices involved (Ostrom, 2009; Young, 2012). Sustainability research also evaluates many additional environmental, economic, and social considerations, as explored in the other chapters in this volume. For all of these concerns, global climate change acts as a particularly important challenge. If conditions that affect agriculture, rangelands, fisheries, and urban spaces will be subject to continual shifts over the next century and beyond, then what goals should be used in sustainability efforts? Will there need to be continual reassessments of objectives, means, and metrics of success? Will new institutions be needed for these tasks? The goal of this chapter is to examine these issues, but to do so from a “Global South” perspective (e.g., Lunn, 2014; Slovic et al., 2015). Much of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas additions to the atmosphere originated with land use practices and industrial developments in the United States and Europe (Brown et al., 2013). However, many of the harshest consequences will affect people elsewhere, especially those living near coastlines, at high latitudes or elevations, and in places where temperature and precipitation extremes may increase. Given colonial histories and uneven economic development worldwide (Butlin, 2009; Sachs, 2015), such a perspective also works to bring equity considerations to the fore. There are legacies of past injustices that will complicate needed mitigation and adaptation strategies. This chapter begins by exploring the consequences of climate change in the Global South. Although many of these effects will take place on lands in the respective nations, there are also changes taking place in Earth’s oceans, connecting the composition of atmospheric gases to surface waters, thus translating atmospheric change to oceanographic processes including acidification. The current international climate framework is epitomized by the Paris Agreement, discussed in the following section. Finally, the chapter concludes with an overview, including thoughts on how urban spaces will need to be a particular focus for sustainability efforts given future climate, demographic, and economic shifts.

ASYMMETRIES OF CAUSE AND EFFECT There are basic asymmetries in how the planet’s geosystems function, with much solar energy impinging upon the low latitudes, setting up atmospheric and oceanic circulation 110

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 110

20/04/2020 14:23

The climate framework in sustainability research  111 systems driven by energetic differences and resulting in climate regimes that range from humid tropical to cold-winter middle and high latitudes (Young, 2007). Together with available biodiversity, such processes set limitations on planning for the long-term productivity of agricultural systems, the fertility of soils, and the availability of water. There are also basic asymmetries due to other aspects of human societies, with the caprices of global history adding additional marked place-to-place differences in poverty, longevities, working conditions, public health, and demographic trends (Sachs, 2015). As a result, there are some predictable restrictions acting upon livelihoods, and some likely trajectories for the interaction of economic development with global climate change (Lambin et al., 2001; Adger et al., 2003; Leichenko and O’Brien, 2008; Young, 2013). Some of the most dramatic current changes are in high latitudes, altering species distributions and ecosystem processes, including feedback that would tend to further increase greenhouse gases (Schuur et al., 2015); the indigenous groups in the far North would be among the most vulnerable in terms of their exposure and sensitivity (Pearce et al., 2015). Similarly, high mountains are exposed to dramatic shifts in environmental gradients, with possible mountaintop extinction for native species, and the need for flexible land tenure systems for local people (Young, 2008, 2015); there is also much increased risk for natural hazards triggered by receding glaciers (Huggel et al., 2015). The water-limited climate regimes of the world are likely to increase in extent, with decreases in the availability of water resources and augmented fire regimes (Stephens et al., 2013; Huang et al., 2016; Altieri and Nicholls, 2017). Food security is dependent upon the physical environment and the social actors involved, from farmers to governments (Wheeler and von Braun, 2013). Demographic shifts and consumer demands for certain products shape the food types produced, while also influencing such environmental concerns as water use, soil erosion, pesticides, nutrients, and loss of agrobiodiversity. There may also be (perverse) incentives from government or industry that alter decision-making and land management. The directional nature of future climate change, with likely continued warming accompanied in many locations with increased variability in precipitation and the possibility of increased storm intensity, all act to complicate land use decisions of individual farmers or pastoralists. Their respective households, communities, local governments, and national governments must somehow factor in both directionality and unpredictability into sustainability planning and debates (e.g., Young and Lipton, 2006; Adger et al., 2009). These are not easy tasks. A fundamental social constraint is the influence of poverty (Hallegatte and Rozenberg, 2017), which may limit options that people have for acting on or even considering sustainability and long-term climate change as part of their livelihood strategies. In terms of environmental justice, those most vulnerable due to where their lands or settlements are located include those people who are collectively least responsible for past greenhouse gas production. What is more, the deforestation or other land degradation of the twentieth century may have its roots in the designs of imperialism and colonialism, rather than being a direct result of indigenous land use practices. Thus, global efforts to control or mitigate climate change require restitution and an accounting for past greenhouse gas emissions. Resilience thinking offers additional development pathways (Lade et al., 2017). Another fundamental social trend is urbanization, ongoing since 1750, with megacities on the rise and the majority of people now living in urban areas (Montgomery, 2008; Estrada et al., 2017). There are likely both challenges and opportunities with most people

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 111

20/04/2020 14:23

112  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability living in densely occupied areas: there may be efficiencies in delivering services to those people, but additional environmental costs must be borne by outlying areas that need to supply water, food, and fibers. Inequality likely increases within cities, but there are more opportunities for work, for healthcare, and for education. In turn, rural areas may continue to have out-migration affecting both land cover and livelihoods of those who remain (e.g., Chant, 1998; Aide et al., 2013). Decisions by rapidly changing countries, like China and India, need to include sustainability considerations for the expanding urban areas, without neglecting the rural poor or the further complications of climate change. Among the most tragic cases are those of the environmental refugees affected by rising sea levels, often aggravated by other sociopolitical concerns (e.g., Kothari, 2014). Thermal expansion and melting glaciers contribute to putting small island nations in existential risk, and require adaptation or dislocation of many coastal areas (Hay, 2013; Lloyd et al., 2016). Storm surges and related flooding will affect even larger areas. Debates about sustainability itself may seem trivial compared to the magnitude of possible negative consequences for the people most disadvantaged by these kinds of future change. In addition to sea level rise, ocean chemistry is affected by increased amounts of carbonic acid, itself the result of higher carbon dioxide levels mixed in from the atmosphere. Thus, greenhouse gases in Earth’s environmental commons affect the global seas. Over time this results in a slightly lower pH, stressing sensitive organisms, most obviously those with calcium carbonate structures such as corals and mollusks. The coral reefs of tropical latitudes house a significant part of marine biodiversity, in addition to providing habitat supporting many kinds of fisheries (Hughes et al., 2017).

PARIS AGREEMENT Given these trends and other encroachments upon planetary environmental boundaries (Steffen et al., 2015), nations of the world eventually used the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to set up (1) an ongoing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mechanism to provide policy-relevant summaries and research syntheses; (2) a financing mechanism for developing countries wanting to adapt or mitigate for climate change; and (3) a political process implemented in 2015 whereby the pledges of individual countries would be utilized to collectively aim for global greenhouse gas reduction goals. Its passing was partly fueled by the organization and remonstrations of the Small Island Nations, an example of how concerns from the Global South may influence global agreements. The IPCC process uses a complicated sequence of peer review and editing to produce overviews of the science of climate change, including interactions of atmospheric gases, land surfaces, the cryosphere, and the oceans (IPCC, 2014a), and the implications for adaptation and mitigation of sectoral and regional concerns (IPCC, 2014b, 2014c). Those and previous synthesis documents are available back to when the procedure began in 1988 ( It is a comprehensive effort, but there is much current interest in reevaluating the mechanisms to include more social dimensions in a timely manner (e.g., Stocker and Plattner, 2014). The Green Climate Fund financing mechanism (van Kerkhoff et al., 2011) includes opportunities to improve governance, water projects, and health infrastructure. These

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 112

20/04/2020 14:23

The climate framework in sustainability research  113 efforts help bring the “externalities” of planetary damage into policy realms where economic tools can be implemented. For example, it is being utilized for carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism and the various efforts to stop or limit deforestation and forest degradation (REDD1,; see, for example, Pearson and Brown, 2013). Given the possible inadequacies of the pledges in the Paris Agreement compared to the challenges involved (Rogelj et al., 2016), and the reluctance (refusal) of countries such as the United States to fully participate, this accord will not in and of itself be ­sufficient. There are substantial multigenerational impacts difficult even to ­ conceptualize. More to the point, sustainability of Earth geosystems, even if unthreatened by global change processes, may not easily map onto the sustainability of rural and urban land use and livelihood systems. As a result, the climate framework for sustainability research may be the most challenging aspect of sustainability goals and aspirations.

CONCLUSIONS Global environmental change is directional, forcing responding systems to make gradual or stepped changes, unless they are pushed over thresholds, whereupon change can be rapid, unpredictable, or constitute a shift into a new regime phase. The systems of interest range from a maize field in a particular location to a vast metropolitan area. Both of these are examples of socio-ecological systems, characterized by having inputs from nature but management due to human desires and actions. The system-level responses both affect people and are caused by people; the resulting overall change is hence due to the reciprocal interactions (Folke et al., 2005; Young et al., 2006; Chapin et al., 2009). Policy adequate for these kinds of challenges would need to include adaptive goal settings (e.g., Parrot, 2017) that includes matching the complexity of the biophysical changes to the respective interactions with stakeholders. Perhaps the global urbanization trend includes opportunities if rural land pressures/ degradation can be reduced, and if the cities can be planned in ways that are efficient, fair, and resilient with increasing temperatures and sea levels. What it implies for sustainability is that an urban focus is not sufficient: the spatial connections to outlying areas must be part of the socio-ecological system of interest. The current climate policy framework is inadequate given global and regional dynamics of change. A “Global South” perspective has helped some in terms of (1) adding urgency to planning meetings; (2) calling for retrospective considerations used for assigning responsibilities and commitments; and (3) focusing some efforts on how to manage lands in terms of their greenhouse gas contributions. Adding normative goals of environmental justice and social inclusion (Parnell and Robinson, 2012) could be done by combining Western science and indigenous approaches (Cairns, 2006; Johnson et al., 2016). Sustainable development goals, in turn, only make sense if established in conjunction with global environmental change. New climate regimes, indeed an “anthropogenic” Earth (e.g., Dalby, 2007; Yusoff, 2017), constitute challenges that may be beyond the capabilities of current institutions involved with environmental governance. In this context, a Global South perspective is crucial (e.g., Greenough and Tsing, 2003; Bhattacharya and Ordóñez

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 113

20/04/2020 14:23

114  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Llanos, 2016), especially if it also pays attention to the high biodiversity of the tropics and the livelihood needs of rural peoples.

REFERENCES Adger, W.N., H. Eakin, and A. Winkels. 2009. Nested and teleconnected vulnerabilities to environmental change. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 7: 150–157. Adger, W.N., S. Huq, K. Brown, D. Conway, and M. Hulme. 2003. Adaptation to climate change in the developing world. Progress in Development Studies 3: 179–195. Aide, T.M., M.L. Clark, H.R. Grau, D. López-Carr, M.A. Levy, D. Redo, M. Bonilla-Moheno, G. Riner, M.J. Andrade-Núñez, and M. Muñiz. 2013. Deforestation and reforestation of Latin America and the Caribbean (2001–2010). Biotropica 45: 262–271. Altieri, M.A. and C.I. Nicholls. 2017. The adaptation and mitigation potential of traditional agriculture in a changing climate. Climatic Change 140: 33–45. Bhattacharya, D. and A. Ordóñez Llanos (eds.). 2016. Southern Perspectives on the Post-2015 International Development Agenda. Routledge, London. Brown, D.G., D.T. Robinson, N.H.F. French, and B.C. Reed (eds.). 2013. Land Use and the Carbon Cycle. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Butlin, R.A. 2009. Geographies of Empire: European Empires and Colonies c. 1880–1960. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Cairns, M. (ed.). 2006. Voices from the Forest: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge into Sustainable Upland Farming. Resources for the Future Press, Washington, DC. Chant, S. 1998. Households, gender and rural–urban migration: Reflections on linkages and considerations for policy. Environment and Urbanization 10: 5–21. Chapin, F.S., G.P. Kofinas, and C. Folke (eds.). 2009. Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World. Springer, New York. Dalby, S. 2007. Anthropocene geopolitics: Globalisation, empire, environment and critique. Geography Compass 1: 103–118. Estrada, F., W.J.W. Botzen, and R.S.J. Tol. 2017. A global economic assessment of city policies to reduce climate change impacts. Nature Climate Change 7: 403–406. Folke, C., T. Hahn, P. Olsson, and J. Norberg. 2005. Adaptive governance of social–ecological systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30: 441–473. Greenough, P. and A.L. Tsing (eds.). 2003. Nature in the Global South. Duke University Press, Durham, NC. Hallegatte, S. and J. Rozenberg. 2017. Climate change through a poverty lens. Nature Climate Change 7: 250–256. Hay, J.E. 2013. Small island developing states: Coastal systems, global change and sustainability. Sustainability Science 8: 309–326. Huang, J., M. Ji, Y. Xie, S. Wang, Y. He, and J. Ran. 2016. Global semi-arid climate change over last 60 years. Climate Dynamics 46: 1131–1150. Huggel, C., M. Carey, J. Clague, and A. Kääb (eds.). 2015. The High-Mountain Cryosphere: Environmental Changes and Human Risks. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Hughes, T.P., M.L. Barnes, D.R. Bellwood, J.E. Cinner, G.S. Cumming, J.B.C. Jackson, J. Kleypas, I.A. van de Leemput, J.M. Lough, T.H. Morrison, S.R. Palumbi, E.H. van Nes, and M. Scheffer. 2017. Coral reefs in the Anthropocene. Nature 546: 82–90. IPCC. 2014a. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis: Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. IPCC. 2014b. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects: Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. IPCC. 2014c. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects: Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Johnson, J.T., R. Howitt, G. Cajete, F. Berkes, R.P. Louis, and A. Kliskey. 2016. Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences to diversify our methods. Sustainability Science 11: 1–11. Kothari, U. 2014. Political discourses of climate change and migration: Resettlement policies in the Maldives. Geographical Journal 180: 130–140. Lade, S.J., L.J. Haider, G. Enström, and M. Schlüter. 2017. Resilience offers escape from trapped thinking on poverty alleviation. Science Advances 3: e1603043. Lambin, E.F., B.L. Turner, H.J. Geist, S.B. Agbola, A. Angelsen, J.W. Bruce, O.T. Coomes, R. Dirzo, G. Fischer,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 114

20/04/2020 14:23

The climate framework in sustainability research  115 C. Folke, P.S. George, K. Homewood, J. Im-bernon, R. Leemans, X. Lin, E.F. Moran, M. Mortimore, P.S. Ramakrishnan, J.F. Richards, H. Skånes, W. Steffen, G.D. Stone, U. Svedin, T.A. Veldkamp, C. Vogel, and J. Xuy. 2001. The causes of land-use and land-cover change: Moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental Change 11: 261–269. Leichenko, R.M. and K. O’Brien. 2008. Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Lloyd, S.J., R.S. Kovats, Z. Chalabi, S. Brown, and R.J. Nicholls. 2016. Modelling the influences of climate change-associated sea-level rise and socioeconomic development on future storm surge mortality. Climatic Change 134: 441–455. Lunn, J. (ed.). 2014. Fieldwork in the Global South: Ethical Challenges and Dilemmas. Routledge, London. Montgomery, M.R. 2008. The urban transformation of the developing world. Science 319: 761–764. Ostrom, E. 2009. A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social–ecological systems. Science 325: 419–422. Parnell, S. and J. Robinson. 2012. (Re)theorizing cities from the Global South: Looking beyond neoliberalism. Urban Geography 33: 593–617. Parrot, L. 2017. The modelling spiral for solving “wicked” environmental problems: Guidance for stakeholder involvement and collaborative model development. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12757. Pearce, T., J. Ford, A.C. Willox, and B. Smit. 2015. Inuit traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), subsistence hunting and adaptation to climate change in the Canadian Arctic. Arctic 68: 233–245. Pearson, T. and S. Brown. 2013. Opportunities and challenges for offsetting greenhouse gas emissions with forests, pp. 431–454 in D.G. Brown, D.T. Robinson, N.H.F. French, and B.C. Reed (eds.). Land Use and the Carbon Cycle. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Rogelj, J., M. den Elzen, N. Höhne, T. Fransen, H. Fekete, H. Winkler, R. Schaeffer, F. Sha, K. Riahi, and M. Meinshausen. 2016. Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2oC. Nature 534: 631–639. Sachs, J.D. 2015. The Age of Sustainable Development. Columbia University Press, New York. Schuur, E.A.G., A.D. McGuire, C. Schädel, G. Grosse, J.W. Harden, D.J. Hayes, G. Hugelius, C.D. Koven, P. Kuhry, D.M. Lawrence, S.M. Natali, D. Olefeldt, V.E. Romanovsky, K. Schaefer, M.R. Turetsky, C.C. Treat, and J.E. Vonk. 2015. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback. Nature 520: 171–179. Slovic, S., S. Rangarajan, and V. Sarveswaran (eds.). 2015. Ecocriticism of the Global South. Lexington Books, Lanham, MD. Steffen, W., K. Richardson, J. Rockström, S.E. Cornell, I. Fetzer, E.M. Bennett, R. Biggs, S.R. Carpenter, W. de Vries, C.A. de Wit, C. Folke, D. Gerten, J. Heinke, G.M. Mace, L.M. Persson, V. Ramanathan, B. Reyers, and S. Sörlin. 2015. Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347: 736. DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855. Stephens, S.L., J.K. Agee, P.Z. Fulé, M.P. North, W.H. Roome, T.W. Swetnam, and M.G. Turner. 2013. Managing forests and fire in changing climates. Science 342: 41–42. Stocker, T.F. and G.-K. Plattner. 2014. Rethink IPCC reports. Nature 513: 163–165. van Kerkhoff, L., I.H. Ahmad, J. Pittock, and W. Steffen. 2011. Designing the Green Climate Fund: How to spend $100 billion sensibly. Environment Magazine 53, 3: 18–30. Wheeler, T. and J. von Braun. 2013. Climate change impacts on global food security. Science 341: 508–513. Young, K.R. 2007. Causality of current environmental change in tropical landscapes. Geography Compass 1: 1299–1314. Young, K.R. 2008. Stasis and flux in long-inhabited locales: Change in rural Andean landscapes., pp. 11–32 in A. Millington and W. Jepson (eds.). Land-Change Science in the Tropics: Changing Agricultural Landscapes. Springer, New York, NY. Young, K.R. 2012. Future climate change in the Global South. Journal of Sustainability Education. http:// (accessed 21 January 2020). Young, K.R. 2013. Change in tropical landscapes: Implications for health and livelihoods, pp. 55–72 in B.H. King and K.A. Crews (eds.). Ecologies and Politics of Health. Routledge, New York. Young, K.R. 2015. Ecosystem change in high tropical mountains, pp. 227–246 in C. Huggel, M. Carey, J. Clague, and A. Kääb (eds.), The High-Mountain Cryosphere: Environmental Changes and Human Risks. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Young, K.R. and J.K. Lipton. 2006. Adaptive governance and climate change in the tropical highlands of western South America. Climatic Change 78: 63–102. Young, O.R., F. Berkhout, G.C. Gallopin, M.A. Janssen, E. Ostrom, and S. van der Leeuw. 2006. The globalization of socio-ecological systems: An agenda for scientific research. Global Environmental Change 16: 304–316. Yusoff, K. 2017. Politics of the Anthropocene: Formation of the commons as a geologic process. Antipode. DOI: 10.1111/anti.12334.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 115

20/04/2020 14:23


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 116

20/04/2020 14:23

8.  Why sustainability matters in geography Friedrich M. Zimmermann and Susanne Zimmermann-Janschitz

INTRODUCTION The question of the future development of our society has bothered humans since the beginning of time. However, the future and sustainable development of humans and nature seems to be more endangered than ever. Since the Brundtland Report (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) 1987), sustainability has been discussed in both science and civil society, so far without offering “sustainable solutions.” The value and belief systems of humans in different societies and cultures, and the attitudes and behaviors on which they are based are very diverse, while the influence of globalization and the impact of economic elites and power networks are too dominant to allow for cohesive solutions. Sustainability is often reflected in the mission statements of companies and enterprises, regions and communities, but frequent, unreflective and fashionable use of the term “sustainability” is turning it into an empty term. It is difficult to change sustainability approaches from a pure vision into a value-based mindset (or should we say mentality) to foster sustainable development. However, this is necessary to cope with the global and local challenges of our societies – we are in tremendous need of change and transition based on “sustainable value systems,” leading to increased awareness about a common future for Planet Earth.

SUSTAINABILITY: DIFFERENT VIEWS AND MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES Without dwelling on the genesis of the term sustainability, some important milestones and discussions should be mentioned (Zimmermann 2016a). By the beginning of the 1980s, the sustainability discussion was being dominated by an ecological aspect, supported by the World Conservation Strategy of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) (1980). The Brundtland Report (WCED 1987) added a social dimension and included aspects of intra-generational and intergenerational equity; moreover, economic aspects like poverty and human needs were included. This important position paper, the policy papers of the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the debates at the Post-Rio-Conferences fostered inhomogeneous perception of sustainability in the Global North and the Global South along with differences about the importance and the meaning of the different dimensions of sustainability (ecological versus social versus economic) and their integration. The discussion about the hierarchy of the dimensions is ongoing (Rogall 2013, p. 126): 117

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 117

20/04/2020 14:23

118  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability ●

The economic dimension is very important, securing the satisfaction of human needs (howsoever they are defined!). ●● The ecological dimension is very important – protecting the environment is the existential prerequisite of our life. ●● All dimensions of sustainability are equal and have to be seen in an integrative way. ● The dimensions are equal if the limits and barriers of nature and environment are respected. These limits secure the natural resources, which are essential for (future) economic activities. From the perspective of human geography, the social dimension of sustainability – permanently considering and including integrative approaches – is probably the most important one. And although social aspects are proving to be crucial in our society, they still garner less importance within the scientific framework of the sustainability dimensions. The discourse around social sustainability is mostly reduced to single aspects of social sustainability such as health or quality of life, equity, gender issues etc., or the discourse is diffuse or even neglected (Aachener Stiftung Kathy Beys 2014; Bramley et al. 2010; Colantonio and Dixon 2011; Dujon et al. 2013; Omann and Spangenberg 2002; Spangenberg 2004). Core areas of social sustainability include justice, personal well-being, democratic governments and democratic civil societies (Magis and Shinn 2008) supplemented by specific topics like urban developments (Cuthill 2010). Aspects of equity and distributive justice to meet basic life needs can be supplemented by social and voluntary work as well as quality-of-life aspects (Littig and Grießler 2005). Grunwald und Kopfmüller (2012) bring empowerment into this discourse characterized by the ability to live a secure, independent and self-determined life. Extending the notion of empowerment leads to the question of social resources connecting and integrating different social groups. Empacher and Wehling (2002) detail these resources along with tolerance, sense of justice and equal opportunities, e.g. in the use of resources as well as participation and co-creation. Bachmann (1998) defines social capital as social integration, material and immaterial social support as well as functioning social networks. Fischer-Kowalski et al. (1995) consider social peace as the fundamental (social sustainability) idea in our societies. New approaches focus on a detailed discussion about justice, including nonmaterial human resources and the interaction of social capital with economic and environmental capital. They include viewpoints about human needs and the interaction between power and dependency (Gough 2016). Concentration on the “economization” of human capital by using corporate (social) sustainability approaches and discussing issues like education and training or gender issues under the label of the strategic value of firm-specific human capital (Kryscynski and Ulrich 2015; Mahoney and Kor 2015; Spring 2015) round up the spectrum of social sustainability approaches. The long-term dimension of time is essential when looking at sustainability issues, especially in combination with justice and with holistic thinking and acting (Majer, 2008). Holistic thinking emphasizes that the discussion about all the different aspects of social sustainability makes no real sense without including them in an integrative and transdisciplinary concept of sustainability. When working with social processes we face barriers – especially barriers in our minds – which are decisive obstacles for the integration of the core aspects of

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 118

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  119 s­ustainability ­discussed above. Therefore, we need to focus on awareness raising and knowledge exchange based upon the policy papers of the United Nations (UN) decade of “Education for Sustainable Development 2005–14” as well as the Post-2015 Agenda, the Global Action Programme (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2014). The creation and cultivation of intellectual and social capabilities is a basic requirement for individual responsibility and empowerment as well as political and societal engagement to find solutions for our multifaceted challenges. The integration of sustainability into (human) geography must include the role of education and training as well as research-based teaching and knowledge exchange in formal and informal educational environments. Sustainability education and communication are essential for “implementing” new knowledge, competences, skills and attitudes in humans – under the label “learning for change,” which should vigorously shape a sustainable and economical operating lifestyle as well as an active and participative shaping of civil society (Godemann and Michelsen 2011; Barth and Michelsen 2013). Sustainability education is based on research at the interface between humans and environment, focusing on topics like climate change, use of resources, social justice, participation and democracy as well as (not sustainable) production and consumer behavior. These topics are deeply rooted in geography science but mostly treated outside the sustainability conceptual framework. They are isolated and not given interdisciplinary treatment or even a transdisciplinary science–society approach. This disciplinary paradox is supplemented by the civil society paradox characterized by the gap between the need for the sustainable development of our society (especially after Paris 2015) and the dictate of economic globalization and the consumption directed lifestyles.

GLOBALIZATION, CONSUMER SOCIETY AND SUSTAINABILITY – A PARADOX PER SE Grand Challenges Meadows et al. (1972) have characterized five global challenges: industrialization, population development, poverty and undernourishment, the depletion of nonrenewable resources, and the degradation of the environment. Forty years later, these problems are not close to being solved, but are now bigger and more complex as we confront the Grand Challenges of whitewashing the immense global human impact (Zimmermann 2016b). We are transitioning the “Anthropocene Era,” where rather than nature determining the boundaries of human activities, we humans change the systems, rules, norms, guidelines and values, thereby dynamically, enduringly and irreversibly changing natural processes and jeopardizing the stability of the planet (Messner 2013; Messner and Weinlich 2016, p. 5). Science, politics and civil society are more and more aware of the consequences and effects of these global challenges (Table 8.1). Economic globalization, open (financial) markets, international migration, effects of climate change and resource depletion as well as the global interconnectedness via information and communication technologies, economic opportunism and transnational companies are all intensifying. The Grand

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 119

20/04/2020 14:23

120  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Table 8.1  Grand Challenges – an overview Ecological challenges

Economic challenges

Societal challenges

Effects of climate change

Instability of financial markets

Deterioration of biodiversity Resource use and  consumption Deterioration of ecosystems   (oceans, rain forests etc.) Environmental damage by  urbanization and resource exploitation Natural disasters

Regional disparities Underdevelopment, poverty, exploitation National depths and degrading social systems Deteriorating technical and social infrastructures

Dominance of the global economy and decreasing policy influence Uncertainties and inequity Demographic change and dynamic urbanization Safeguarding of basic needs

Negative employment market

International migration and social disparities War, terrorism, crime, pandemics

Source:  Zimmermann (2016b); adapted and supplemented after Coy and Stötter (2013); Garland et al. (2007); Urdal (2005).

Challenges are becoming international/global phenomena, which can be controlled neither by economic and social policies of single states nor by the policies of supranational federations. Therefore, most of the solutions – because of the change in power relations – are centered primarily on neoliberal strategies, are shaped by dependencies, and are subject to the dictate of economic elites. How, then, under these premises, can we move towards a sustainable life and economy including disruption of the prevalent (consumption-based) value systems? Can this be done in a win–win setting and, if possible, without a “loss of face?”

GLOBALIZATION AND CONSUMER SOCIETY Globalization, commonly seen as the main reason for global change, requires deeper analysis. Many definitions of globalization are strictly economic (for a comprehensive overview see: Al-Rodhan and Stoudmann 2006). Some include a wider scope like Beerkens (2004, p. 13), who argues, globalization is “a process in which basic social arrangements (like power, culture, markets, politics, rights, values, norms, ideology, identity, citizenship, solidarity) become disembedded from their spatial context (mainly the nation-state) due to the acceleration, massification, flexibilisation, diffusion and expansion of transnational flows of people, products, finance, images and information.” Held et al. (1999, p. 12) specify global interdependencies by arguing that “globalization might be better conceived as a highly differentiated process which finds expression in all the key domains of social activity (including the political, the military, the legal, the ecological, the criminal, etc.).” Thus, global developments have impacts not only at local levels, but selective local decisions and occurrences (e.g., the fiscal policy of the US or the European Union (EU), terror attacks, civil wars, and natural disasters) can cause global effects and consequences.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 120

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  121 The intensified political interdependencies, as well as the tightened global financial and commercial relations, are having considerable impact at the local level and on our daily life. The dynamism of information and communication technologies and innovations in logistics are causing a steady acceleration of our daily routine. All these complex processes of modernization are resulting in a global spread of socalled “Western” life and consumer lifestyles, which are changing the habits and value systems of humans worldwide. The increasing interconnectedness of global trade is leading to homogeneous markets and to a dictate of the (neoliberal) economy. This global “horse-trade” shows clear impacts: the competition between production locations takes place at a global level, the material (resources) and immaterial (humans) lifelines of local societies are exploited, and cheap resources and cheap labor are the basis of the economy. The winners of globalization are focusing on the production of consumer goods and the permanent growth of global trade; the losers of globalization are those regions – mainly, but not only, in less developed countries – where humans and resources are exploited at the economic, social, and health related expense of the local population (Zimmermann and Pizzera 2016). What are the consequences? The steady and dynamic increase of consumption worldwide is leading to overuse and exploitation of natural resources. Agenda 21 (UN 1992) argued for necessary changes in consumer habits in order to achieve more sustainable development. Twenty-five years later, those goals for sustainable consumption, listed below, are further away than ever: ●

the decoupling of economic growth and environmental destruction; the stabilization of energy use, material input and environmental pollution both for production and consumption patterns; and ● the change of lifestyles and consumption habits (towards sufficiency).


An increasing world population and the postulate of permanent economic growth are still the strongest incitements for excessive overuse of natural resources. The additional needs for consumption (and consequently for resources) are caused by the growth of the new middle class in the emerging markets of newly industrialized countries (China, India, Brazil, Mexico etc.) where democratization, reduction of poverty and the shift towards Western lifestyles is rapidly changing societies and value systems. The adaptation of people in emerging economies towards globalized consumer habits (supported by the neoliberal concept of a permanent expansion into new markets) is leading to an increased consumption and overuse of natural resources, further increase in CO2 emissions, and the collapse of energy, water, food, raw material and commodity supplies (cp. also: Nölke et al. 2014, 2015). One critical question remains: who – in the “old middle class” of the global North – is going to reduce or even give up high living standards in favor of development for people in emerging economies? These trends in global development are leading to a new dualism: development towards a globalized economy and universalization of cultures and value systems versus fragmentation in and between our societies, leading to new protectionism, fundamentalism and nationalism (Grobbauer et al. 2012; Martell 2010). However, according to Held et al. (1999), different conceptualizations of globalization in different cultural, political and civil society contexts have produced three core ideas:

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 121

20/04/2020 14:23

122  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Hyperglobalization defines globalization from the economic, neoclassical perspective with “borderless” transnational networks of production, trade and financial markets. ●● The skeptical approach to globalization built upon critical views of capitalism and social criticism focuses on the increase in power of the leading finance and trade blocks (Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific) as a symbol of the “new regionalism.” ● The transformation approach points to the dynamic change of national political influences and discusses the economic frame conditions which are leading to a conversion of society and consequently to a new world order (this term is not new, already in 1944 Polanyi was arguing about the consequences of the industrialization in England in the nineteenth century as the “great transformation”). ●

Does the future hold a perfectly integrated global market, in a global society, or even in a global civilization? We find ourselves in this transformation process with an open denouement (cp. also Held et al. 1999).

NEW ECONOMIC MODELS . . . NEW CHANCES FOR SUSTAINABILITY? The tradeoffs between globalization and fragmentation, between internationalization and regionalization, between North and South, between multinational corporate groups and the social well-being of people lead inevitably to the question of whether the political and societal frame conditions can be changed and which new and alternative economic models are available to shape a more social and equitable world – ripe research subjects for a more “sustainable” human geography (Zimmermann and Pizzera 2016). The Social Market Economy was developed towards the end of the 1980s initially as an (anti-)concept against (politically promoted) neo-liberalization in the US and the UK. The enforcement of social justice and security was predicated upon the requirement for intact and sound environment policy and strict responsibility towards future generations. Qualitative but not necessarily rapid change comes about through the integration of ecological and social standards to improve the quality of life in the Global North and South. The Global Marshall Plan paves the way for a more responsible and ecological global regulation framework (Ecosocial Forum Europe 2010; Global Marshall Plan 2016) leading to a Social Market Economy. The Economy for the Common Good was developed by Felber (2015) and advocates radical system changes by drafting a new “economic constitution.” Values that promote social life and participatory togetherness are the principle for (local) economic activities. The desire for profit and competition are substituted with striving for common welfare and cooperation, whereas egoism and greed are replaced by solidarity and care. The Solidarity Economy criticizes a-human assumptions of the capitalist economic systems with the slogan: “the economy has to work for the people and not the people for the economy” (Voss 2015). Economic activities are directed towards human needs for basic and social goods, peace and security, social integration and networks, democratic values and participation, education, creativity and access to the fair labor market as well as solidarity among people and with nature (cp. also: Zimmermann and Angel 2016). The

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 122

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  123 initiatives of the solidarity economy include everyday local practices like urban gardening, cooperative housing, eco-villages, open-source platforms and regional currencies (Bauhardt 2014). The Post-Growth Economy views the current dogmatic growth of the global development resulting from the Western notion of opulence gradually being transferred to emerging economies and developing countries as being contrary to the finiteness of natural resources and increasing ecological problems. The Post-Growth Economy argues that less or no economic growth is inevitable in the future and that we will have to focus on specific quality-of-life issues, while questioning our (capitalist) production and consumption patterns. Paech (2012) calls for a complete renunciation of the growth paradigm and argues for a radical reduction of the individual consumption standards leading to a simpler and slower-paced lifestyle (for more detailed concepts in German-speaking realms see: Seidl and Zahnrt, 2010). In summary, sustainability is a recommendable framework not only for solutions to global challenges but also for research in many fields of geography. Randers’ (2012) prognosis says that the crucial issues for the next decades include politics and economy, energy supply and resource depletion, climate change and food supply as well as population development and urbanization. His future scenarios describe technological changes and progress in the use of resources, the increasing importance of quality of life and well-being, the changes as well as economic problems and social unrest caused by rapid urbanization, and the consequences of disparities and poverty, with four especially important components: ●

education and empowerment, especially for women; respect and mutual esteem; ●● new governance systems; and ● new appreciation for employment and a new distribution of income. ●●

“So, how do we prepare for the years ahead? Our personal journey into the future will need a mix of: values meeting valuation, the head meeting the heart, and the normative marrying with the positive” (Randers 2012). This quotation summarizes all the parameters that we have already discussed as important aspects of social sustainability.

. . . AND: WHERE IS GEOGRAPHY? FIRST: THE THEORY In the Long-range Plan 2015–2025 of the American Association of Geographers (AAG 2015) the term sustainable/sustainability is mentioned just twice: (1) in recommendation 6: “Promote inclusion, equity, and social justice across the entire discipline” when it says “These are all projects designed to mobilize interest and funding for sustainable programs aimed at promoting inclusion within the discipline”; and (2) in recommendation 20: “Incorporate green and environmentally sustainable practices into AAG operations and activities to promote the stewardship and sustainability of Earth’s ecosystems and environment.” We must rethink how to tackle the global challenges with a geography and sustainability agenda – including disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary sustainability research. Opening new horizons in geography research, at least in North

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 123

20/04/2020 14:23

124  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability America, go back to the 1990s when the Rediscovering Geography Committee, the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, and the National Research Council published a book entitled Rediscovering Geography: New Relevance for Science and Society (Rediscovering Geography Committee 1997). This book paved the way for new topics and perspectives in geography. But ten years after the Brundtland Report and five years after the Rio Conference, the sustainable development debate appears only in a sidebar entitled “Future Geographies.” More recently, sustainability research in geography is emerging, e.g., at the Annual Meeting of the AAG in San Francisco in 2016, 105 sessions had the term sustainability in the title. In German-speaking countries, discipline change has proved more dynamic and geographers are intensively discussing holistic approaches to environmental research at the interface of geosphere, biosphere and anthroposphere (Ehlers 1999), the reintegration of physical geography and human geography by applying the concept of a “third pillar” (Weichhart 2003), the (new) integrative geography (Gebhardt 2003; Ehlers 2000) as well as the human–ecological paradigm under the motto “not humans against nature but the humans within nature” (Weichhart 1995). However, new (human) geography paradigms like action oriented and behavioral approaches, new cultural geography, or systems/­constructivist concepts are elegantly avoiding the sustainability issue. The multi-paradigmatic approach of human geography, which would be an excellent prerequisite for sustainability research, is mostly focusing on questions like how epistemological approaches of positivism can be linked to realism or how to appraise the validity of quantitative approaches in comparison to hermeneutical or even systems theory approaches (Weichhart 2009). Primarily from outside the geography discipline, many academic areas, including medicine and health, sociology, economy or history and other cultural and social sciences, have come to recognize the importance of space and claimed spatial approaches in their paradigms. This appropriation of space (by different disciplines) has been discussed under the label “spatial turn” (Döring and Thielmann 2008). Developments in information and communication technologies create new spaces, new spatial concepts and new spatial constructs, resulting in new potential for geography. The spatial turn in geography is mostly associated with technologies (geographic information systems, cartography, remote sensing) or with developments in neo-geography (cp. Richardson et al. 2013). Some of the German authors are talking about a “bizarre backwards-reinvention” of geography (Döring and Thielmann 2008; Hard 2008), while others are calling this development a “self-consciousness push” for geography (Stichweh 2008, p. 160). The discourse around space ontologies and space paradigms has now climaxed (Lossau 2012) and geography is slowly bethinking its core competencies by extending the traditional spatial approach towards a practice-centered, transdisciplinary perspective, which is able to analyze societal relations of space and time in both diachronic and synchronic ways (Werlen 2015). We must avoid losing core competences of geography to other disciplines while consolidating and tightening our scientific role in cooperative research. The spatial turn in geography should bring about increased appreciation of our own discipline and the chance to place our core competencies in inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation. The spatial turn has brought a new understanding of geography in the wider public through new dynamic information and communication technologies. This new relevance and importance of space is represented by (internet) maps for location and orientation

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 124

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  125 purposes, maps in information, education and training (e.g. mental maps), as well as in new functions, resulting in new map competences. Döring and Thielmann (2009, p. 46) are even recognizing a “media(l) turn in geography.” Consequently, if geography is not able to “create space” for space, the space is evidently creating new potentials for geography.

THEN: THE REALITY . . . Apart from the focus on theories of space, research activities and theoretical debates in geography are not reflected in civil society and public discourse (Gans and Hemmer 2015). Our perceived “reality,” as geographers, is very different from the public’s image where the keyword “geography” basically covers the main aspects of geography as a school subject. This includes spatial knowledge as well as media and methods for orientation in space. Geography in school is seen as extremely important for improving personal/ social competences and for its societal importance in the context of maps and their spatial components. But geography in school delivers little knowledge about environmentally responsible behavior and actions, and political and cultural education and values, all core elements of geography and sustainability. Debate around geographic topics to be covered in school show high demand for environmental and climate change issues, natural risks and disasters, and sustainable development (ranked 1, 2, 5 and 7). This is a clear demand of the civil society, which needs to be taken seriously by geographers, especially those of us with an interest in sustainability questions. Geography as a science is able to answer key questions about our globalized world and to understand the complex interactions between humans and their environment. Geographical research can connect scientific findings from natural and social sciences. However, exposure for research results is minimal, leaving doubts about the core research areas and core competencies of geography. Widely dispersed results mostly target questions of physical geography or human–environment relations (natural disasters, use of natural resources), and human geography research findings are rarely disseminated. Human geography sustainability research has tremendous potential, especially when thinking about new research approaches when they are based on inter- and transdisciplinary concepts (built upon the strong potential for geography as a science at the interface of humans and the environment).

GEOGRAPHY AND SUSTAINABILITY – ALSO A PARADOX? Vision Sustainability Complex global challenges such as climate change, overuse of resources, megacities, production and consumption of consumer goods, and food problems are resulting in a variety of research questions for a (human) geography which is dedicated to the vision of sustainability. There are many concepts of how to integrate sustainability into research and teaching at universities. Examples in Austria are at the University of Innsbruck, with the research focus on “Global Change – Regional Sustainability” (cp. Coy 2007; Stötter and Coy 2007), or at the University of Graz (Zimmermann and Strasser 2010,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 125

20/04/2020 14:23

126  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Zimmermann et al. 2014). The “Graz Integrative Geography” defines as a precondition for sustainable development, and as a basis for research, teaching and knowledge exchange oriented along the following basic values: ●

intact environment; humane society; and ● social compatible economy.


In research – for example at the RCE Graz-Styria, the UN certified Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development ( (accessed 10 February 2019)) – we are going beyond these aspects and are using the tetrahedron of sustainability (Figure 8.1). There we are extending the ecological, economic and social dimensions of sustainability, which are well known as the “magic triangle” by the Tetrahedron of Sustainability

Improvement of competitiveness, user-orientation


• Biodiv e • Equa rsity l acces sibility

Careful handling and protection of nature

•D • H em um oc an rac rig y ht s



n ainst exploitatio • Protection ag tice jus ic om on • Ec

cy re s, rce ou •E • P coro eff tec ici tio enc no y fr es


tenan main e and • Car ironment v of en

atio cip arti of p ies ng sparit i eni gth of d tren on • S ducti e •R





Justice, consolidation and cohesion Source:  Adapted and modified after Spangenberg (1997); Valentin and Spangenberg (2000). © Spangenberg (1997, 2000).

Figure 8.1  Tetrahedron of sustainability

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 126

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  127 institutional dimension. Especially from the viewpoint of global challenges, the institutional framework is essential: on the one hand for implementing and realizing different sustainability initiatives and projects, on the other hand for a serious transdisciplinary sustainability research agenda. Ecological problems like the deterioration of biodiversity or the excessive overuse of nonrenewable resources demand joint actions and institutionally positioned routines. Similar institutional routines are necessary to cope with negative effects of financial markets, migration and flight, the handling of North–South disparities or the increasing risks of conflict and terrorism. Additionally, Figure 8.1 shows possible connections and crosslinks between the four dimensions: the link between the social and economic dimension is determined by schemes of (equal) distribution. Issues of accessibility (to resources) govern the link between the social and ecological dimension. The institutional and the social dimensions are connected via the degree of democracy implementation and its stability. The goal of economic justice is included in the economic, social, and institutional dimension, and concerns about nature and the environment or topics between ecology and institutional implementation. The common goal for the economic and ecological dimension is ecoefficiency – a corporate strategy which is dedicated to an efficient/sufficient use of natural resources, energy, and commodities striving for a reduction in waste and emissions (cp. Spangenberg et al. 2002; Valentin and Spangenberg 2000). Summing up we can say that the tetrahedron of sustainability is an appropriate framework for inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches.

THE LOGICS OF SUSTAINABILITY Based on the arguments above it is obvious that problem areas and research questions of a “sustainable” (human) geography should be assigned to the interconnected dimensions of the tetrahedron of sustainability and that specific attention should be paid to integrating this into holistic approaches. However, when talking about sustainability and global/ regional challenges we always need to be aware of the fact that sustainability is often a versus to challenges, e.g., sustainability versus political systems/power; sustainability versus technological progress; sustainability versus population development; sustainability versus ethics and morale (a special thanks to Professor Bruno Backé for inspiring the “versus” discussion). This is precisely the challenge for sustainability research because we always have to cope with partial systems, and consequently partial solutions, determined by individual and societal values, beliefs and, consequently, needs. Therefore, if we take sustainability seriously in a regional or urban context – without paying closer attention to the complex debate on different perspectives of (regional) change and transition (for details see: Capello and Nijkamp 2009; Hanink 2010) – we have to integrate questions of individual values, value systems, and the change of values into sustainability research in geography. In doing so, we are following Bateson (1972) and Dilts (1990, 1996) and the concept of “logical levels” as a natural classification hierarchy for processes of thinking and learning in communication and change. Dilts (1990, p. 217) called logical levels “an internal hierarchy in which each level is progressively more psychologically encompassing and impactful.” In more detail we have to know that our human thinking and acting is influenced and determined by five different levels (Figure 8.2, left triangle description):

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 127

20/04/2020 14:23

128  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability (1)  The basis is built by our natural and societal environments which are forming our external frameworks. (2) These environments are the basis for our behavior. (3) Our behavior is organized by our capabilities (our perceptions, our knowledge, our personal strategies). (4) These capabilities are determined – quasi top-down – by our beliefs and belief systems. (5) Our belief systems, finally, are shaped and coined by our value systems and our identity. “In our brain structure, language, and perceptual systems there are natural hierarchies or levels of experiences. The effect of each level is to organize and control the information on the level below it. Changing something on an upper level would necessarily change things on the lower levels, changing something on a lower level could but would not necessarily affect the upper levels” (Dilts et al. 1991, p. 26). This logical level framework shows that changes in the higher hierarchy levels of the development process are organizing and controlling all processes at the lower level. In many cases – mostly out of political or medial opportunities and for reasons of fast success – concrete measures at the lowest level are executed (e.g. infrastructure projects, tourism investments, regional development measures). These projects cannot be successful if they are not compatible with the identity, the value systems, and the capabilities as well as the needs of the local population. Therefore, if we are thinking about the strategic development processes by considering the logical levels approach we need to follow the hierarchies of the logical levels (Figure 8.2, right triangle description). This consequently means following the order from vision to mission (as guiding development principles) followed by a problem-based SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, leading to strategies and consequently to concrete measures. The problem of this research design in a transdisciplinary approach is that people involved in these kinds of empirical and participatory process are mostly arguing at the Logics of Sustainability Identity


ls eve al L gic




ess oc

instituti Behavior

SWOT Analyses



Mission, Guiding Principles


Beliefs Belief (systems)







ecological Sustainability



Source:  © Janschitz and Zimmermann (2010).

Figure 8.2  The “Logics of Sustainability” in sustainable development processes

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 128

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  129 lowest levels of activities, measures and concrete projects without considering the higher levels of the hierarchy. But especially these levels of value and belief systems are extremely crucial for “sustainable” change and “sustainable” transition. This is leading to the third step where the four dimensions of sustainability are included into the logical level triangle (Figure 8.2, description in the triangle), which finally leads to the concept “Logics of Sustainability” (Janschitz and Zimmermann 2010). Illustrating the concept, we can argue that: (1) Ecologic sustainability, e.g., the reduction of resource use, is mostly tackling the two lowest levels, the environments and our behavior (e.g. regulative policies, awareness raising, energy saving etc.). (2) Institutional sustainability, such as justice, human rights, democracy, and social responsibility, is mostly based on the levels of behavior and capabilities (e.g., formal and informal participation, governance aspects). These are leading to institutional changes but they are not necessarily affecting beliefs and value systems or are changing identities. (3) Economic sustainability (e.g., the improvement of competitiveness) is a cross-level issue and needs aspects at the environmental level (e.g., improvement of eco-efficiency), but this also affects the behavior (e.g., change of behavior by information) and the capabilities (e.g., improvements through education and training). Finally, the level of beliefs needs to be included (e.g., improvements by trust-based cooperation and networks). (4) The most complex dimension is social sustainability. Participation is the guiding principle, the inclusion of the population is leading to a needs-based development of capabilities (e.g., by empowerment) and especially targets the transformation of beliefs and value systems, which finally leads to new/transformed identities. Only by applying these logical levels, e.g., in regional or urban development processes (but also in personal or corporate change processes), can a new orientation focusing on sustainable transformation happen. It is clear to us that this approach for research in human geography under the guiding principles of sustainability can just be a framework. It is obvious that only a change of our values and value systems can guarantee a sustainable future for our society and our planet – and especially human geography, with its critical theoretical concepts, could contribute a lot. Particularly when thinking about our geography research work in communities, regions, urban settings, etc. the logics of a sustainability approach is neither a fast nor an easy methodological option for transformation processes. Our concept is targeting those researchers in geography who are involved in applied and participative development processes and who want to contribute to a respectful, humane, value-based and transdisciplinary research and who do not see the ultimate goal of research in human geography as “analyzing, constructing and optimizing a spatial order” (Janschitz and Zimmermann 2010, p. 140).

SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS IN GEOGRAPHY: TWO INNOVATIVE EXAMPLES Example 1: New Governance Concepts in Urban Development and the Role of a Transdisciplinary Geography Geography, with its long history in researching cities and urban developments, nowadays is getting even more important as a research discipline. The dynamic urbanization, the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 129

20/04/2020 14:23

130  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability interconnectedness of our globalized world, and the “wicked” challenges in urban settings worldwide are creating a wide range of new development, change, transformation and planning agendas (Dubbeling et al. 2009; Healey 2007; Rittel and Webber 1973). Cities are facing growing economic, social, and ecological challenges, characterized by complex processes like suburbanization, migration, an increasing diversity, disparities and growing environmental pollution, the degradation of public spaces, as well as the negative effects of the real estate market. These aspects need more integrated holistic approaches and a new (spatial) governance to cope with all these challenges – actually a good model for an innovative bridging of geography and sustainability. Moreover, it is a fact that urban dynamism and rapid growth are making cities and urban environments into key players and core target areas for the implementation of sustainability strategies and measures – especially when thinking about the realization of the Paris 2015 agreement. The prognosis that in 2050 two-thirds of the world population will live in cities is severely underpinning this assumption. To cope with all these global challenges and to support transition and change, research needs to be transdisciplinary, including key aspects of social sustainability. Solution oriented research is in need of holistic approaches targeting new forms of (reflexive) governance in urban settings and neighborhoods. Participation, empowerment and social learning can be seen as the most effective tools for sustainable spatial developments. These tools allow cities to adapt to challenges according to the requirements and needs of the local population and to set the path for change towards sustainable development (Corfee-Morlot et al. 2009; Eraydin and Tasan-Kok 2013; Reimer 2013). In this framework the resilience of cities is essential – depending on how urban actors are dealing with disturbances and threats and how they succeed in shaping cooperative and self-organized forms of governance (Seelinger and Turok 2013; Pugh 2014). The RCE Graz-Styria, the RCE on Education for Sustainable Development at the University of Graz ( is involved in an international EU project, funded by the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe (FFG), called “[email protected] Exp – Towards new forms of urban governance and city development” (http://www. (accessed 10 February 2019)). In this project the RCE is working with an international consortium consisting of five cities (Antwerp, Graz, Leoben, Maastricht, Malmö), four universities (Maastricht, Malmö, Lund, Graz), and a foresight and design studio (Pantopicon, Antwerp). The project goals are targeting innovative forms of governance in urban development by working with/establishing different urban lab experiments (city labs) and are thereby creating new forms of cooperation and mutual learning between policy makers, actors from the civil society, and academics with relevant interdisciplinary knowledge. Of importance is the involvement of different groups of actors with diverse values and value systems working in new and transdisciplinary forms of communication and cooperation. Participatory spaces like living labs or city labs are rapidly developing and spreading across cities around the world in order to support transition and transformation (Kieboom 2014). The theoretical basis of living labs goes back to the participation concepts for software development in computer sciences in the 1980s (Bødker et al. 2000). Urban development labs can be described as institutional platforms for generating ideas for urban innovation by experiments with real users in real contexts – in other words co-creation and joint learning in a multi-actor setting which is more open, more inclusive, more democratic, and more creative than other traditional

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 130

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  131 approaches (Mastelic et al. 2015; Følstad, 2008; Hillgren, 2013; Hellström-Reimer et al. 2012; Wallin 2010). The conceptual background of the research project is based on a transdisciplinary multi-method approach, which is transferring three scientific approaches into practice by testing and improving new methods and new forms of (spatial) governance: The concept of transition experiments (Hoogma et al. 2002; Kemp and Loorbach 2006; Van den Bosch 2010), promoting change processes by multi-actor involvement, value-based reflexive learning, co-creation in real-world contexts, and embedding lessons learned into governance structures. ●● The concept of agonistic participatory design (Björgvinsson et al. 2012) is aiming at the democratization of social innovation processes by involving actors with diverging or even conflicting interests. The focus is on creating a common space where controversial perspectives and values may not necessarily lead to a consensus but may lead to a common ground for discussions and may result in participation-based individual solutions. ● The concept of logical levels (which has been mentioned above), which is focusing on sustainable urban development based on value-oriented visions and value-based goals and strategies by means of new communication and mediation technologies (Janschitz and Zimmermann 2010). ●

Consequently, the [email protected] partners are conducting transdisciplinary transition experiments for spatial urban development by co-designing urban labs with the relevant stakeholders, by applying agonistic democracy aspects, and using envisioning methods with the logical levels as guiding principle (Figure 8.3) – with the goal of co-creating innovative solutions based on co-designed visions. In this context, transdisciplinary approaches as a basis for action research are necessary (Jahn et al. 2012; Whyte 1991). Especially in the last decade transdisciplinarity has become an essential analytical and conceptual framework showing that reflexive research at the interface of science and society is generating more creative, iterative, and transformative potential. This potential is grounded in the immanent co-production of knowledge by clear learning goals and explicitly focusing on social learning processes. It is of importance that (mostly) consensual participatory processes are linked with value oriented transformation approaches – this is crucial to solve concrete urban problems and is an indispensable framework for a sustainable urban future (cp. also Popa et al. 2015; Kläy et al. 2015). Figure 8.4 characterizes the interaction between science and society in the project [email protected] It illustrates how urban experiments and social learning processes are creating new transdisciplinary and transformative knowledge about how urban spaces and neighborhoods will develop. The first fundamental step in the process is the creation of a mutual understanding of problems and challenges, which is leading to a joint creation of a city lab as the basis for co-creation and knowledge integration. The results are integrated into the societal practice (e.g. city or neighborhood development) as well as into the scientific practice (e.g. enhancement of theories and concepts, advancement of methods). This iterative process leads to participatory (spatial) solutions and furthermore to transdisciplinary discussions and a dynamic sampling of transition processes.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 131

20/04/2020 14:23

132  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

What is the new image? Why do we need other values? “Who” is the city after having gone through transformation?

Strategies How can we implement transition processes by social/reflexive learning and changing capabilities?

Logical Levels

pa rti

ion s sit nt an me Tr eri p ex

Valuebased visions

A cip gno at sti or c yd es ig n

Multi-method approach in [email protected]

Measures What are the “ingredients” for change? What are concrete advantages and opportunities? Where should we set measures and actions?

Source:  © Höflehner and Zimmermann (2016).

Figure 8.3  Integration of three theoretical–methodological approaches in [email protected] The results of the transdisciplinary action research and the mutual learning processes in the [email protected] project show that the theoretical approach and the methodological realization through urban labs/city labs are able to contribute to a new governance of urban challenges. When working with a complex agenda, labs seem to be a suitable interface between city representatives, local governments, stakeholders and actors from civil society – especially when using tailored and innovative, value-oriented and participatory working methods. Based on the results so far, there are three important phases for implementing and working with urban experiments (Höflehner and Zimmermann 2016): ●

Agenda setting: After the identification of central actors for the respective experiment for an integrative development, the long-term visions and the common strategies have to be developed based upon a joint (new) value orientation. Value based strategic learning goals have to be developed including top-down (e.g., preparation by a small urban lab task-force) and bottom-up approaches (followed by the involvement of a wider public). Consequently, common ground has to be found at the interface of “top-down meets bottom-up,” providing discussion and room for individual values, needs, and preferences – this is a crucial point in the process, including possible clashes between common and individual value systems

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 132

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  133 Transdisciplinary research model Societal challenges • Disparities • De-industrialization • Segregation • Environmental quality

Actor-based societal discourse • City government • Civic society • Companies, stakeholders • NGOs

Results for the societal practice • Innovative governance concepts • Problem-oriented solutions (scaleable) • Networking, capacity building • Awareness raising

Joint establishment of city Labs • Agenda setting • Open space for experiments • Integration of diverse values, ideas, capabilities

Scientific challenges • Integrative, transdisciplinary perspectives • Value orientation • Sustainability of research results

New transdisciplinary knowledge • City Lab development and experimental processes • Models and methods for transformation of urban spaces and milieus • Reflexive learning and co-production

Knowledge integration • New transdisciplinary knowledge is contributing to solutions for social and scientific challenges

Scientific discourse • Cooperation between university partners • Discourse with company research

Results for the scientific practice • Theories and methods for planning, for monitoring of resilience and for urban transformation • New research agenda

Source:  Adapted and modified after Jahn et al. (2012). © Jahn (2012).

Figure 8.4  Transdiciplinarity in the [email protected] project


and interests. Mediation and envisioning processes play an important role and are the basis for the success of experiments. Process design and experimenting: Following the co-design approach and the agonistic participatory design, urban experiments should include actors from different social groups, different environments and different or even conflicting opinions. By using appropriate communication methods and focusing on social learning a mutual understanding of the respective ideas and needs can be created – if not, urban experiments even have a “license to fail.” Generally speaking, transition experiments are strategic instruments fostering learning based innovation projects and change processes. The transdisciplinary setting supports co-creation and guarantees multi-party work on innovative ideas using a wide range of different processes like collective working and collaboration, dialogue and consensus-building, and concrete projects and visible results. These processes lead to adaptation and changes in knowledge, values, attitudes, and perceptions and create new coalitions and long-term relationships between different actors – all of them necessary prerequisites for supporting sustainable urban change processes.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 133

20/04/2020 14:23

134  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability ●

Learning and embedding: Transition experiments are designed as projects (time limited) and have specific and pre-defined learning goals, which are monitored and under evaluation. Reflexive and deuteron-learning as well as the reflection of learning capabilities and learning results are essential. These learning experiences are the basis for the transfer of results to other levels. The processes of scaling up, broadening, and deepening possible solutions is the greatest challenge for urban labs – or in other words: how can lessons learned be disseminated into urban politics and city planning and how can they be embedded into urban governance? There is a need for an active involvement of city representatives and planners in experiments and a need for knowledge exchange among different levels of administration (and like in our [email protected] Exp project even among different cities) to scale up and broaden the experimental results and support the institutional embedding of governance innovations.

These three elements are not necessarily seen in a hierarchical order; moreover, they are components of an iterative (co-design) procedure when creating and implementing urban/ city labs. There are always mutual social learning and knowledge exchange processes, creating new values, visions, and new basic conditions, which lead to a new agenda setting, a new process design, and even a new experiment. Different experiences with urban labs in different cities, with different challenges, consequently different urban projects, differently embedded in urban governance systems are showing different critical conditions for success. There is one decisive joint aspect: the need for wide participation, for individual solutions and intensive discussions, especially in the agenda setting phase when linking spatial urban challenges with value orientation.

CONCLUSION Global change caused by economic globalization, the development of the new middle class in newly industrialized countries, the consequences of climate change, etc. are leading to Grand Challenges not only for global but also for local societies. There is an open question: how can we cope with the balancing act between the interests of the globalized economic systems and societies and the necessary sustainable rethinking of the paths into our future which needs to be based on massive changes of our value systems – a paradox? The demand for sustainability is growing, the problem is that the interpretation of what sustainability is and means is carried out controversially and mostly mono-directionally in everyday life, in civil society, and in research concepts and theories. However, especially sustainable solution strategies for global challenges are in need of integrative approaches. Here, geography comes into play with its natural- as well as social-scientific spatial concepts and approaches and the ability to integrate sustainability issues into different spatial perspectives of the global–local interplay – sustainability is the chance for geography in the twenty-first century. This chapter tries to point to the “sustainability deficit” in geography. We know that criticism is easy but rarely positive; therefore, we tried to investigate some of the core topics of geography and a variety of connections, links, and overlaps in terms of the suitability for the further development of sustainable (spatial) society concepts. Thereby, the advantage could be that geography traditionally is an integrative discipline (but are

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 134

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  135 traditions still playing a role in our contemporary society?). This means that we need to rediscover “the integrative” in geography – or to use Döring and Thielmann’s (2008) strong words in another context – in a “bizarre backwards-reinvention” of geography. In the meantime, the so-called modern geography is linking the research areas with different other disciplines, which is a first and important step for an interdisciplinary debate about relevant research questions. This interdisciplinarity is in line with the guiding principles of sustainability as a cross-sectional discipline and is the basis for society-relevant research. But interdisciplinarity is too little: the complexity of global and local challenges is striving for the active involvement of civil society – similar to the motto of people with disabilities “nothing about us without us” – and requires us to integrate transdisciplinarity into our daily routine. Transdisciplinarity is a must-have, especially when dealing with future oriented and sustainable strategies, concepts, and projects: only when acting this way does sustainability arrive in reality and with the people “on the ground”. And we need to stress that sustainability is a (never-ending) process which is based on a permanent dynamism and striving for core values such as protection of (natural) resources, intra- and intergenerational equity, democracy, and justice as well as a reduction in disparities. Adaptation and change, transition and transformation are necessary to guarantee a sustainable development at different spatial levels. It is essential that geographers are increasingly engaging themselves into debates about values, value systems, and value changes and consequently are integrating these aspects into their research approaches (or, even better, contributing to a new research paradigm). Therefore, we need to transform geography as a science and, by doing so, global, regional, and local developments could converge with the necessary postulate for sustainability – always incorporating the integration of ecological, social, economic, and institutional dimensions, as shown in the concept of the logics of sustainability. We should not be afraid of finally abstaining from the inner-disciplinary, mostly theoretical, often devastating discussion about (integrative) geography and its role and importance for society-relevant research. We need to be more open towards new research questions. We need to look for inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration and we need to position ourselves as “spatial scientists and experts” who are able to not only bring specific competencies into scientific cooperation but also, concretely contribute to solutions for the Grand Challenges – which has the potential to lead to a better reputation for geography in science and society.

REFERENCES Aachener Stiftung Kathy Beys (eds.) (2014), ‘Soziale Nachhaltigkeit’, in Lexikon der Nachhaltigkeit, accessed 14 July 2016 at AAG (2015), American Association of Geographers Long-range Plan 2015–2025, accessed 31 July 2016 at http:// Al-Rodhan, R. F. Nayef and Gérard Stoudmann (2006), ‘Definitions of globalization: A comprehensive overview and a proposed definition’, Program on the Geopolitical Implications of Globalization and Transnational Security 6, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, accessed 15 July 2016 at Definitions_of_Globalization_-_A_Comprehensive_Overview_and_a_Proposed_Definition.pdf. Bachmann, Nicole (1998), Die Entstehung von sozialen Ressourcen abhängig von Individuum und Kontext. Ergebnisse einer Multilevel-Analyse, Münster–New York–München–Berlin: Waxmann. Barth, Matthias and Gerd Michelsen (2013), ‘Learning for change: An educational contribution to sustainability science’, Sustainability Science, 8 (1), 103–119. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-012-0181-5. Bateson, Gregory (1972), Steps to an Ecology of Mind, New York: University of Chicago Press.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 135

20/04/2020 14:23

136  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Bauhardt, Christine (2014), ‘Solutions to the crisis? The Green New Deal, degrowth, and the solidarity economy: Alternatives to the capitalist growth economy from an ecofeminist economics perspective’, Ecological Economics, 102, 60–68. Beerkens, Henricus J. J. G. (2004), Global Opportunities and Institutional Embeddedness, Higher Education Consortia in Europe and Southeast Asia, University of Twente, accessed 15 July 2016 at http://www.utwente. nl/cheps/documenten/thesisbeerkens.pdf. Björgvinsson, Erling, Pelle Ehn and Per-Anders Hilgren (2012), ‘Agonistic participatory design: Working with marginalized social movements’, CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, 8 (2–3), 127–144. Bødker, Susanne, Pelle Ehn, Dan Sjögren and Yngve Sundblad (2000), ‘Co-operative Design – perspectives on 20 years with the Scandinavian IT Design Model’, in Proceedings of the First Nordic Conference on Human– Computer Interaction, Stockholm: Association for Computing Machinery. Bramley, Glen, Carroline Brown, Nicola Dempsey, Sinead Power and David Watkins (2010), ‘Social acceptability’, in M. Jenks and C. Jones (eds.), Dimensions of the Sustainable City 2, Berlin–Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 105–128. Capello, Roberta and Peter Nijkamp (eds.) (2009), Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing. Colantonio, Andrea and Tim Dixon (2011), Urban Regeneration and Social Sustainability: Best Practices from European Cities, Chichester: Wiley. Corfee-Morlot, Jan, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Michael G. Donovan, Ian Cochran, Alexis Robert and PierreJonathan Teasdale (2009), ‘Cities, climate change and multilevel governance’, OECD Environmental Working Papers, 14, 1–108. Coy, Martin (2007), ‘Nachhaltigkeit: “Ein zukunftsfähiges” Thema für die Geographie?’, GW-Unterricht, 107, 1–11. Coy, Martin and Johann Stötter (2013), Die ‘Herausforderungen des Globalen Wandels’, in Axel Borsdorf (ed.), Forschen im Gebirge – Investigating the Mountains – Investigando las Montanas. IGF-Forschungsberichte, 5, Vienna: Austrian Academy of Science, pp. 73–94. Cuthill, Michael (2010), ‘“Strengthening the social” in sustainable development: Developing a conceptual framework for social sustainability in a rapid urban growth region in Australia’, Sustainable Development, 18, 362–373. DOI: 10.1002/sd.397. Dilts, Robert B. (1990), Changing Belief Systems with NLP, Capitola, CA: Meta Publications. Dilts, Robert B. (1996), Visionary Leadership Skills, Capitola, CA: Meta Publications. Dilts, Robert B., Todd Epstein and Robert W. Dilts (1991), Tools for Dreamers: Strategies for Creativity and the Structure of Innovation, Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. Döring, Jörg and Tristan Thielmann (eds.) (2008), Spatial Turn. Das Raumparadigma in den Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften, Bielefeld: Transcript. Döring, Jörg and Tristan Thielmann (eds.) (2009), Mediengeographie. Theorie – Analyse – Diskussion, Bielefeld: Transcript. Dubbeling, Marielle, Marcia C. Campbell, Femke Hoekstra and Renè van Veenhuizen (2009), ‘Building resilient cities’, Urban Agriculture Magazine, 22, 3–11. Dujon, Veronica, Jesse Dillard and Eileen M. Brennan (eds.) (2013), Social Sustainability: A Multilevel Approach to Social Inclusion, New York: Routledge. Ecosocial Forum Europe (2010), Ecosocial Market Economy: For a Sustainable and Responsible Society, accessed 15 July 2016 at Ehlers, Eckart (1999), ‘Geosphäre–Biosphäre–Anthroposphäre: Zum Dilemma holistischer globaler Umweltforschung’, Geomorphologie und Paläoökologie, Frankfurter Geowissenschaftliche Arbeiten, 25, 87–104. Ehlers, Eckart (2000), ‘Geographie in der Welt von heute – Möglichkeiten und Grenzen eines integrativen Faches’, Geographica Helvetica, 55 (3), 153–162. Empacher, Claudia and Peter Wehling (2002), ‘Social dimensions of sustainability: Concretisation and operationalisation perspectives’, ISOE Study Text, 11, accessed 15 July 2016 at stud11.htm. Eraydin, Ayda and Tuna Tasan-Kok (eds.) (2013), ‘Resilience thinking in urban planning’, GeoJournal Library, 106, 17–37. Felber, Christian (2015), Change Everything. Creating an Economy for the Common Good, Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, Zed Books. Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, Ralf Madlener, Hans Payer, Thomas Pfeffer and Hans Schandl (1995), ‘Soziale Anforderungen an eine nachhaltige Entwicklung, Gutachten zum nationalen Umweltplan (NUP) im Auftrag des BMUJK’, IFF Social Ecology Working Papers, 42, Vienna. Følstad, Asbjørn (2008), ‘Living labs for innovation and development of information and communication technology: A literature review’, Electronic Journal for Virtual Organizations and Networks, 10 (7), 99–131.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 136

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  137 Gans, Paul and Ingrid Hemmer (eds.) (2015), ‘Zum Image der Geographie in Deutschland. Ergebnisse einer empirischen Studie’, forum ifl. 29, 1–135. Garland, Allison M., Mejgan Massoumi and Blair A. Ruble (eds.) (2007), Global Urban Poverty. Setting the Agenda, Washington, DC, accessed 3 August 2016 at GlobalPoverty.pdf. Gebhardt, Hans (2003), ‘“Jetzt wächst zusammen, was zusammengehört?” Diskussionsbemerkungen zu den Vorträgen auf der Münchner Tagung zur Geographie als integrierter Umweltwissenschaft’, in Günter Heinritz (ed.), Integrative Ansätze in der Geographie – Vorbild oder Trugbild, Münchner Geographische Hefte, 85, Passau: Springer, pp. 65–72. Global Marshall Plan (2016), Strategy and Vision, accessed 15 July 2016 at en/strategy-and-vision. Godemann, Jasmin and Gerd Michelsen (eds.) (2011), Sustainability Communication. Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Theoretical Foundation, Berlin–Heidelberg: Springer. Gough, Ian (2016), Global Capital, Human Needs and Social Policies, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK and New York, NY, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. Grobbauer, Heidi, Hakan Gürses and Stefan Vater (2012), ‘Globales Lernen. Zugänge’, Magazin, 16, 1–10. Grunwald, Armin and Jürgen Kopfmüller (2012), Nachhaltigkeit, Frankfurt am Main: Campus. Hanink, Dean M. (2010), ‘Perspectives on regional change: A review essay on Handbook of Regional Growth and Development’, Growth and Change, 41 (1), 3–27. Hard, Gerhard (2008), ‘Der Spatial Turn, von der Geographie her beobachtet’, in Jörg Döring and Tristan Thielmann (eds.), Spatial Turn. Das Raumparadigma in den Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften, Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 263–316. Healey, Patsy (2007), Urban Complexity and Spatial Strategies: Towards a Relational Planning for Our Times, London and New York: Routledge. Held, David, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt and Jonathan Perraton (1999), Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Hellström-Reimer, Maria, Kes McCormick, Elisabet Nilsson and Nicholas Arsenault (2012), ‘Advancing sustainable urban transformation through living labs: Looking to the Öresund Region’, in Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Sustainable Transition, Denmark: DTU. Hillgren, Per-Anders (2013), ‘Participatory design for social and public innovation: Living labs as spaces of agonistic experiments and friendly hacking’, in Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski (eds.), Public and Collaborative – Exploring the Intersection of Design, Social Innovation and Public Policy, New York: DESIS Network, pp. 75–88. Höflehner, Thomas and Friedrich M. Zimmermann (2016), ‘An innovation in urban governance: Implementing living labs and city labs through transnational knowledge and experience exchange’, in Regional Studies Association Annual Conference. Graz: Graz University. Hoogma, Remco, René Kemp, Johan Schot and Bernhard Truffer (2002), Experimenting for Sustainable Transport. The Approach of Strategic Niche Management, London: EF&N Spon. IUCN (1980), World Conservation Strategy, accessed 16 August 2016 at edocs/WCS-004.pdf. Jahn, Thomas, Matthias Bergmann and Florian Keil (2012), ‘Transdisciplinarity: Between mainstreaming and marginalization’, Ecological Economics, 79, 1–10. Janschitz, Susanne and Friedrich M. Zimmerman (2010), ‘Regional modeling and the logics of sustainability – a social theory approach for regional development and change’, Environmental Economics, 1 (1), 134–142. Kemp, René and Derk Loorbach (2006), ‘Transition management: A reflexive governance approach’, in Jan-Peter Voss, Dierk Bauknecht and René Kemp (eds.), Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 103–130. Kieboom, Marlieke (2014), Lab Matters: Challenging the Practice of Social Innovation Laboratories, Amsterdam: Kennisland. Kläy, Andreas, Anne B. Zimmermann and Flurina Schneider (2015), ‘Rethinking science for sustainable development: Reflexive interaction for a paradigm transformation’, Futures 65, 72–85. Kryscynski, David and Dave Ulrich (2015), ‘Making strategic human capital relevant: A time-sensitive opportunity’, Academy of Management Perspectives, 29 (3), 357–369. Littig, Beate and Erich Grießler (2005), ‘Social sustainability: A catchword between political pragmatism and social theory’, International Journal of Sustainable Development, 8 (1/2), 65–79. Lossau, Julia (2012), ‘Spatial turn’, in Franz Eckardt (ed.), Handbuch Stadtsoziologie, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 185–198. Magis, Kristen and Craig Shinn (2008), ‘Emergent principles of social sustainability’, in Jesse Dillard, Veronica Dujon and Mary C. King (eds.), Understanding the Social Dimension of Sustainability, New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 15–44.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 137

20/04/2020 14:23

138  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Mahoney, Joseph T. and Yasemin Y. Kor (2015), ‘Advancing the human capital perspective on value creation by joining capabilities and governance approaches’, Academy of Management Perspectives, 29 (3), 296–308. Majer, Helge (2008), ‘Ganzheitliche Sicht von sozialer Nachhaltigkeit’, in Statistisches Bundesamt (eds.), Analyse von Lebenszyklen, 9–22, accessed 31 July 2016 at​ swirtschaftlicheGesamtrechnungen/SoziooekonomischesBerichtssystem/VGRSozOekBand5_10306050​49004. pdf ?__blob=publicationFile. Martell, Luke (2010), The Sociology of Globalization, Cambridge, UK and Malden, MA: Polity Press. Mastelic, Joelle C., Marlyne Sahakian and Riccardo Bonazzi (2015), ‘How to keep a living lab alive?’, Info, 17 (4), 12–25. Meadows, Dennis L., Donella H. Meadows, Jørgen Randers and William W. Behrens III (1972), The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind, New York: Universe Books. Messner, Dirk (2013), ‘Willkommen im Anthropozän: der WBGU-Report “Welt im Wandel”’, Politische Ökologie, 31 (133), 24–28. Messner, Dirk and Silke Weinlich (2016), ‘The evolution of human cooperation. Lessons learned for the future of global governance’, in Dirk Messner and Silke Weinlich (eds.), Global Cooperation and the Human Factor in International Relations, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 3–46. Nölke, Andreas, Christian May and Simone Claar (eds.) (2014), Die großen Schwellenländer, Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Nölke, Andreas, Tobias Brink, Simone Claar and Christian May (2015), ‘Domestic structures, foreign economic policies and global economic order: Implications from the rise of large emerging economies’, European Journal of International Relations, 21 (3), 538–567. Omann, Ines and Joachim H. Spangenberg (2002), Assessing Social Sustainability: The Social Dimension of Sustainability in a Socio-Economic Scenario, accessed 14 July 2016 at Assessing_social_sustainability.pdf. Paech, Niko (2012), Liberation from Excess: The Road to a Post-Growth Economy, Munich: oekom. Polanyi, Karl (1944), The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time, New York: Beacon Press. Popa, Florin, Mathieu Guillermin and Tom Dedeurwaerdere (2015), ‘A pragmatist approach to transdisciplinarity in sustainability research: From complex systems theory to reflexive science’, Futures, 65, 45–56. Pugh, Jonathan (2014), ‘Resilience, complexity and post-liberalism’, Area, 46 (3), 313–319. DOI: 10.1111/ area.12118. Randers, Jørgen (2012), ‘2012 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years’, University of Cambridge, accessed 15 July 2016 at years.pdf. Rediscovering Geography Committee (1997), Rediscovering Geography. New Relevance for Science and Society, Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Reimer, Mario (2013), ‘Planning cultures in transition: Sustainability management and institutional change in spatial planning’, Sustainability, 5, 4653–4673. DOI: 10.3390/su5114653. Richardson, Douglas B., Nora D. Volkow, Mei-Po Kwan, Robert M. Kaplan, Michael F. Goodchild and Robert T. Croyle (2013), ‘Spatial turn in health research’, Science, 339, 1390–1392, accessed 8 June 2016 at http:// ?keytype=ref&siteid=sci&ijkey=AxghZ5m3vdsfQ. Rittel, Horst W. J. and Melvin M. Webber (1973), ‘Dilemmas in a general theory of planning’, Policy Sciences, 4, 155–169. Rogall, Holger (2013), Volkswirtschaftslehre für Sozialwissenschaftler. Einführung in eine zukunftsfähige Wirtschaftslehre, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Seelinger, Leanne and Ivan Turok (2013), ‘Towards sustainable cities: Extending resilience with insights from vulnerability and transition theory’, Sustainability, 5 (5), 2108–2128. DOI: 10.3390/su5052108. Seidl, Irmi and Angelika Zahnrt (eds.) (2010), Postwachstumsgesellschaft. Konzepte für die Zukunft, Marburg: Metropolis. Spangenberg, Joachim H. (1997), ‘Environmental space-based proactive linkage indicators: A compass on the road towards sustainability’, in Bedrich Moldan (ed.), Sustainability Indicators: A Report on the Project on Indictors of Sustainable Development, Chichester: Wiley, pp. 119–124. Spangenberg, Joachim H. (2004), ‘Reconciling sustainability and growth: Criteria, indicators, policies’, Sustainable Development, 12 (2), 74–86. Spangenberg, Joachim H., Stefanie Pfahl and Kerstin Deller (2002), ‘Towards indicators for institutional sustainability: Lessons from an analysis of Agenda 21’, Ecological Indicators, 2, 61–77. Spring, Joel (2015), Economization of Education: Human Capital, Global Corporations, Skills-Based Schooling, New York, NY, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Stichweh, Rudolf (2008), ‘Kontrolle und Organisation des Raums durch Funktionssysteme der Weltgesellschaft’,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 138

20/04/2020 14:23

Why sustainability matters in geography  139 in Jörg Döring and Tristan Thielmann (eds.), Spatial Turn. Das Raumparadigma in den Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften, Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 149–164. Stötter, Johann and Martin Coy (2007), ‘Forschungsschwerpunkt “Globaler Wandel – regionale Nachhaltigkeit”’, in Universität Standort Innsbruck, Innsbrucker Bericht 2003–07, Innsbruck: University of Innsbruck, pp. 219–237. UN (1992), Agenda 21, Konferenz der Vereinten Nationen für Umwelt und Entwicklung, Rio de Janeiro, accessed 26 July 2016 at UNESCO (2014), UNECSO Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, Paris, accessed 28 May 2016 at Urdal, Henrik (2005), ‘People vs. Malthus: Population pressure, environmental degradation, and armed conflict revisited’, Journal of Peace Research, 42 (4), 417–434. Valentin, Anke and Joachim H. Spangenberg (2000), ‘A guide to community sustainability indicators’, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 20 (3), 381–392. Van den Bosch, Suzanne (2010), ‘Transition experiments: Exploring societal change towards sustainability’, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, accessed 15 August 2016 at Voss, Elisabeth (2015), Wegweiser solidarische Ökonomie; ¡anders Wirtschaften ist möglich!, Neu-Ulm: AG SPAK Bücher. Wallin, Sirkku (2010), ‘The co-evolvement in local development – From the triple to the quadruple helix model’, paper presented at Triple Helix VIII, May, Madrid. WCED (1987), Our Common Future (Brundtland Report), accessed 22 May 2016 at http://www.un-documents. net/our-common-future.pdf. Weichhart, Peter (1995), ‘Humanökologie und Geographie’, Österreich in Geschichte und Literatur mit Geographie, 39, 39–55. Weichhart, Peter (2003), ‘Physische Geographie und Humangeographie – eine schwierige Beziehung: Skeptische Anmerkungen zu einer Grundfrage der Geographie und zum Münchner Projekt einer “Integrativen Umweltwissenschaft”’, in Günter Heinritz (ed.), Integrative Ansätze in der Geographie – Vorbild oder Trugbild, Münchner Geographische Hefte, 85, Passau: Austrian Academy of Science, pp. 17–34. Weichhart, Peter (2009), ‘Humangeographie – quo vadis?’, in Robert Musil and Christian Staudacher (eds.), Mensch. Raum. Umwelt. Entwicklungen und Perspektiven der Geographie in Österreich, Wien: LIT Verlag, pp. 63–77. Werlen, Benno (2015), ‘World-connecting practices: Societal spatial relations as a transdisciplinary research field’, Europa Regional, 1–2, 83–92, accessed 23 July 2016 at Whyte, William F. (ed.) (1991), Participatory Action Research, Sage focus edition, Vol. 123, Newbury Park, CA, London, New Delhi: Sage Publications. Zimmermann, Friedrich M. (2016a), ‘Was ist Nachhaltigkeit – eine Perspektivenfrage?’, in Friedrich M. Zimmermann (ed.), Nachhaltigkeit wofür? Von Chancen und Herausforderungen für eine nachhaltige Zukunft, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 1–24. Zimmermann, Friedrich M. (2016b), ‘Globale Herausforderungen und die Notwendigkeit umzudenken – wie soll das funktionieren?’, in Friedrich M. Zimmermann (ed.), Nachhaltigkeit wofür? Von Chancen und Herausforderungen für eine nachhaltige Zukunft, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 25–58. Zimmermann, Friedrich M. and Hans-Ferdinand Angel (2016), ‘Soziale Nachhaltigkeit als Thema der Anthropologie’, in Friedrich M. Zimmermann (ed.), Nachhaltigkeit wofür? Von Chancen und Herausforderungen für eine nachhaltige Zukunft, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 257–283. Zimmermann, Friedrich M. and Judith Pizzera (2016), ‘Die globale Tourismusindustrie – aktuelle Entwicklungen und Trends’, in Friedrich M. Zimmermann (ed.), Nachhaltigkeit wofür? Von Chancen und Herausforderungen für eine nachhaltige Zukunft, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 171–200. Zimmermann, Friedrich M. and Ulrich Strasser (2010), ‘Integrative Geographie’, in Werner Lenz (ed.), Interdisziplinarität – Wissenschaft im Wandel, Vienna: Löcker, pp. 207–220. Zimmermann, Friedrich M., Oliver Sass and Ulrich Ermann (2014), ‘Was gibt es Neues am Institut für Geographie und Raumforschung der Universität Graz’, Geographieaktuell. Informationen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft, 20 (2), 2.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 139

20/04/2020 14:23

9.  Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus Axel Borsdorf and Andreas Haller

INTRODUCTION Urbanization has been the challenge of the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Today for the first time in history the global urban population exceeds the rural population. Around 54 percent of mankind lives in urban areas, and this proportion is assumed to increase to 66 percent by 2050 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2015). This demographic development and its consequences for human–­ environmental systems clearly create both risks and opportunities. One of the main tasks for the twenty-first century is to find new perspectives and strategies to handle these challenges in a sustainable way. From a geographical perspective, regional specificities such as a location in mountains may be seen as determining factors for facing challenges such as urban settlement growth, the provision of infrastructure, economic development, and the safeguarding of social and ecological aspects of quality of life. Cities in the Alps, for instance, are faced with different urban fabrics, locational characteristics, and urban functions as a result of their geographical conditions (Borsdorf and Paal 2000; Fourny 2001; Messerli 1999; Perlik 2000, 2001; Racine 1999). Despite the manifold particularities of mountain cities, more general research on (not just in) mountain cities is very rare; v­ aluable exceptions include subsections in Gardner et al. (2013) and Borsdorf et al.  (2015), as well as a short  architectural article by Du (2009) on ‘mountain urban landscape ­studies’. Yet  pursuing a mountain-specific perspective in the study of cities in mountains could provide valuable insights for the sustainable development of these unique regions. It was geographer Carl Troll who coined the term Landschaftsökologie, translating it into English as ‘geoecology’, and applied the concept to the study of mountains (Troll 1939, 1971). High-altitude geoecology was institutionalized by creating a commission of the International Geographical Union in 1968 and laid the ground for the development of ‘montology’, a neologism that emerged in 1977 (Neustadtl 1977). With the rise of the idea of sustainable development in the early 1990s, mountain researchers like Jack D. Ives, Bruno Messerli or Robert E. Rhoades have increasingly called for the further development of montology as a transdisciplinary form of human–environmental research on the sustainable development of mountain regions (Ives et al. 1997). Many montological studies concentrated on rural mountain areas, and still do. Although a range of valuable research on cities located in mountains evolved, as did research on specific types of cities in mountains (e.g. the Alpine city or the Andean city), these studies mostly focus on socio-economic issues and seldom fulfil the holistic aspirations of sustainabilityoriented montology. It is the aim of this chapter to advance a montological perspective on the study of cities in mountains. By raising consciousness of the spatial and temporal 140

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 140

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  141 specificities of mountain cities, urban montological scholarship may not only contribute to the sustainability of these settlements, but also drive future-proof development in their hinterlands.

THE MOUNTAIN CITY: A DEFINITIONAL CHALLENGE When working on settlements in mountains as a spatial type and from a regional geography and landscape perspective, there is no avoiding the question of how exactly to understand the term ‘mountains’ and consequently mountain cities. The altitude and relief of the surroundings are obviously central factors in defining mountain cities. For the term ‘mountain’ the definition of the environmental program of the United Nations (Kapos et al. 2000), which sets a minimum altitude of 300 m above sea level (a.s.l.), is generally accepted these days. In areas between 300 m and 2500 m altitude an additional local elevation range of at least 300 m or a certain slope inclination (≥ 5° up to 1500 m or ≥ 2° above) within a radius of 7 km is needed. A quantitative definition of the term ‘city’ by population – with the claim of creating global comparability – is a necessary but difficult undertaking. While a lower limit of currently 5000–10,000 inhabitants for a city might be relatively easy to agree on, the question remains of how to take into account past and future developments in such a definition. A quantitative definition can thus only be applied for a particular period or point in time. A delimitation of the settlement area of a city is also needed: here the literature refers to the morphological definition of the ‘contiguous built-up area’ which covers all buildings – starting in the center – which are no further than 200 m away from the next building (Mathian and Sanders 2014: 14–16). The perimeter of a city or city region thus defined is then expanded by a peri-urban buffer of 500 m. If the outer limit of such an area is at least 300 m a.s.l. and the surroundings meet the criteria of Kapos et al’s (2000) definition of mountains, then that urban settlement may be called a mountain city. Such a definition of mountain cities does, of course, leave sufficient room for criticism: It is purely quantitative, does not take regional differences into account and is based exclusively on morphological rather than functional criteria. Our proposed definition is, however, well argued, globally applicable, allows the use of quantitative methods and is therefore suitable for an initial delimitation of the subject within the typological, geosynergetic research of regional geography. In closer definition of cities in a specific space, for instance the Alps (cf. Bätzing 2015; Mathieu 2015), it is of course very useful to complement the morphological perspective by a functional one (cf. Perlik 2001) and to take into account aspects of historical genesis (cf. Mathieu 2003). Even settlements of 2000 inhabitants may then count as ‘urban’, as long as they fulfil certain central-place functions and the majority of the population earns their living from non-agrarian activities (cf. Bartaletti 2001). Definitions of mountain cities are thus always relative and depend on the observation scale, the study area and the chosen period.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 141

20/04/2020 14:23

142  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE PAST: THE RELEVANCE OF LOCATION Mountain cities are often situated in extreme locations. The mining settlement of La Rinconada (Peruvian Andes) is probably the highest city in the world (estimated 50,000 inhabitants at 5100 m or 16,732 ft.), the metropolitan region of La Paz and El Alto (1.8 million inhabitants) in the Bolivian Andes spans an altitudinal difference of about 1000 m, reaching up to 4150 m or 13,615 ft. The city of Lhasa (550,000 inhabitants at 3600 m or 11,800 ft.) on the Tibetan Plateau is the final stop of the world’s highest railway line Qinghai–Tibet. Potosí, Bolivia (240,000 inhabitants at 4090 m or 13,420 ft.), represents one of the highest UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Centres – by cultural criteria – and a number of other mountain cities, such as Shigatse, Tibet (100,000 inhabitants at 3840 m or 12,600 ft.), Juliaca, Peru (225,000 inhabitants at 3825 m or 12,549 ft.), and Andorra la Vella – Europe’s highest capital city in the Pyrenees (about 45,000 inhabitants at 1000 m (3281 ft.) – all have breathtaking locations. As these examples make clear, what makes mountain cities specific is location. Geographical and Topographical Position Geographers generally distinguish between geographical – i.e. smaller-scale – position and topographical or larger-scale position. From a geographical perspective we can generally state that in extratropical mountains the larger cities are often found at the mountain rim and in tropical mountains they are situated within. The reason is the favorable location: in the tropics the higher altitudes have a more favorable climate; outside the tropics this is true of lower altitudes. For the Alps and Andes Borsdorf (2004) has mapped these location types. In coastal mountains (e.g. the coastal mountains of North and South America or the Scandinavian mountains of Norway) and dry climates, the larger and older cities tend to be ports, e.g. Vancouver (Canada), Valparaíso (Chile) or Bergen (Norway). Often cities open the way into the mountains and are situated in a portal position, e.g. Salzburg (Austrian Alps) and Kempten (German Alps). A similar location motif applies to cities at the foot of passes, such as Zell am See (Austrian Alps) and Coroico (Bolivian Andes). Monofunctional cities are a special case and include mining cities like Eisenerz (Austrian Alps), Potosí (Bolivian Andes) or Tyrnyauz (Russian Caucasus), or urban tourist places like Zakopane (Polish Carpathians), Val d’Isère (French Alps), Zermatt (Swiss Alps), Ifrane (Moroccan Atlas) or Banff (Canadian Rocky Mountains). They are often located on the margin of a natural region. In terms of topography this has led to the formation of different location types. Cities in the valleys are often built on river or rock terraces or on alluvial fans – examples are Innsbruck (Austrian Alps), Bozen/Bolzano (Italian Alps), Quito (Ecuadorian Andes), or Mérida (Venezuelan Andes); in intramontane basins, for instance Bogotá (Colombian Andes), or on high plateaus as in Puno (Peruvian Andes). In some countries, such as Italy and Colombia, settlements have also developed on peaks or ridges. In the Middle Ages, when Italy was a hotly contested terrain, this was the result of the citizens’ search for safety and/or geostrategic advantages; in tropical countries climatic advantages and the relative protection from natural hazards encouraged such developments.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 142

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  143 Consequences of the Location It is the (changing) advantages of a location that encourage the development of cities. Climate, transport, trade, industry and services (administration, etc.) are the factors that determinate these advantages. At the same time any location in the mountains or on their rim also includes risks. Mountains are morphodynamically active spaces: Mass movements, such as rock fall, landslides, debris flows and avalanches threaten the settlement area as do floods. Other risk factors are endogenous forces like volcanic activity (eruptions and lahar flows) and earthquakes. Whole cities have been destroyed by such – often combined – disasters. The possibly best known destruction of a city in antiquity hit Pompeii in Italy in 79 ad. For many cities their location in the mountains necessitates adaptation to the orography. In La Paz (Bolivian Andes), as in many high-altitude mountain cities, cable cars overcome the altitudinal differences today. The cityscape itself may also exhibit a tendency to high-rise buildings because of limited space. And the orographic structure may lead to a finger-shaped cityscape (Veyret-Verner 1968). Innsbruck is a typical example, with its core on the alluvial fan of the river Sill and the city then expanding on the high terraces of the Pleistocene. Today’s expansion follows the river Inn as well as reaching into the lateral valleys. The city region today has between 300,000 and 400,000 inhabitants, depending on how you define the region; its radius, however, is much wider than that of comparable cities in a flat location (Borsdorf and Paal 2000; Krakover and Borsdorf 2000). Mountain cities often are not only central places for their surroundings but have also a key function in long-distance trade. This leads to a variety of upland–lowland interaction (Borsdorf 2012; Stadel 2016). Location is thus the defining element of a mountain city. Table 9.1 summarizes the most common types of location. Figure 9.1 displays the most important relations between the geographical and the topographical position and their characteristic factors and developments. Locational factors, however, are subject to continuous change. Changing economic, political, transport and demographic systems also change the assessment of locational advantages and drawbacks. It is thus essential to study these relative shifts in the significance of mountain cities in order to understand it and ensure the sustainable development of those cities. Table 9.1  Location types of mountain cities (subtypes may overlap) Geographical position

Topographical position





Intramontane location

High-altitude location Natural region marginal location Foot of a pass location Converging valleys location Coastal location Foot of the mountains location Portal location

Valley location

Terrace location Alluvial fan location Mudflow fan location        

Rim location

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 143

Basin location Plateau location Ridge location Outcrop location

20/04/2020 14:23

144  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Position within city networks

Upland–lowland relations

Centrality Geographical position Accessibility and transport


Position within natural space

Mountain city

Tectonic challenges

Atmospheric challenges

Orographic challenges Topographic position

Availability of settlement area

Figure 9.1  Impact of the location on selected aspects of urban development

FROM PAST TO PRESENT: ECONOMIC CONDITIONS FOR URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN MOUNTAIN REGIONS For the Alps Messerli (1999) found that urban development in historic times happened in a delayed fashion. He identifies low population density, territorial backwardness and the limited growth potential due to linear transport structures as the reasons. These factors also apply for many other mountain regions outside the tropics. The post-Fordist growth model reached the Alps between 1950 and 1980 and introduced mainly disadvantages. On the mountain rim, hubs grew (economic growth poles, transport and airway hubs), while Alpine cities, under improved transport infrastructure, came into the catchment of their central places. Bätzing (1998) called this the ‘suburbanization’ of Alpine cities. In the latest phase, Alpine cities have benefitted from flexible specialization, the expansion of trade, services, research, education, tourism, location-independent businesses (telematics) and improved trans- and inner-Alpine transport systems. All this also encouraged strong post-suburbanization, including the emergence of a polycentric structure (Dematteis 2009), which over time reduced the flight of capital to cities on the Alpine rim. Agglomeration drawbacks of the very large cities on the Alpine rim also helped Alpine cities to catch up. After years of demographic stagnation, core cities are

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 144

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  145 now growing again in the course of reurbanization processes. More dynamic growth, however, is reserved for the fringes, so that urban regions as a whole grow strongly and have in many cases emancipated themselves from metropoles on the Alpine rim. Even so, as Perlik (2001) claimed as far back as 2001, apart from city tourism these places are of national rather than international significance. In Europe the conscious acceptance of post-suburban, polycentric settlement structures and valorization of their special location in the mountains is seen as a future-proof model for development even outside the Alps, for instance on the rim of the Portuguese Serra da Estrela (Vaz and Matos 2015). Most European mountain regions, however, have not reached this phase yet. The mountains of South-Eastern Europe still suffer from political instability. In the Carpathians – for instance in the Polish part – there are very few urban settlements at altitudes above 300 m (Więcław-Michniewska 2013), and the Apennine Mountains suffer from natural hazards (Vai and Martini 2001). Smaller rural towns in the Apennine Mountains – as in other mountain areas – benefit, at least demographically, from amenity migration, for instance Montalcino in the Orcia valley (Steinicke et al. 2009). In the Andes mining and processing of ores has played a major role, from colonial times until today. It is there that we find one of the most polluted cities, La Oroya (Peru), as well as probably the largest copper strip mine, Chuquicamata near Calama (Chile). In tropical regions many mountain cities have grown into major hubs. In Ecuador, however, the coastal town of Guayaquil has long surpassed the capital Quito, and in other tropical Andean states the sierra is also more of a region of inertia and emigration. African and Asian mountain areas often suffer from political conflict or even civil war situations, as is the case in the Caucasus (Coene 2010). Only in East Asia have economic circumstances improved considerably even in the mountain regions. In Asian and New World mountains the market function plays a major role in urban development. Periodic markets have a large catchment area, while the daily exchange of commodities and agrarian produce is more relevant on a local and smaller scale. In the tropics the products from different altitudinal levels are offered on open squares or in covered markets. In Oriental cultures bazaars offer products for daily and periodic demand (Ehlers et al. 1990). Accessibility, catchment and/or reach determine the significance of a market in all cases.

THE PRESENT: SPECIFIC CHALLENGES FOR MOUNTAIN CITIES Given the altitude and the relief, the specific challenges for sustainable planning and development of mountain cities result largely from the manifold relations with the ­physical–material surroundings and from the perspective on and assessment of the geographical and topographical position by individuals and society, as this determines usage and formation of urban settlements in mountain areas. Tectonic Challenges Many mountain cities are located in geologically young mountains that have evolved the edges of convergent plates. These are zones with high frequencies of earthquakes. Essential

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 145

20/04/2020 14:23

146  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability for such settlements are earthquake-proof construction methods for buildings and hard infrastructure (e.g. transport and communications, water and energy provision) as well as the creation and maintenance of soft infrastructure. Historic buildings and marginal settlements present particular challenges in this respect. A recent example is Kathmandu (Nepalese Himalayas), where an earthquake in 2015 cost many lives and destroyed much of the settlement and its infrastructure (Sandholz 2016: 335–341). Earthquakes not only damage mountain cities themselves but also affect their rural hinterland. Often this leads to migration processes, as the rural population moves to the urban centers in search of safety, where help is available first. Paradoxically such destructive events thus bring about an increase in population and a growth for the settlement. This was the case with Popayán in the Colombian Andes, where post-earthquake developments changed the settlement and social structure permanently (Haller 2016). In addition to earthquakes, many mountain cities may also need to cope with volcanic activity. Orographic Challenges In mountain cities, earthquakes and volcanic activity may also trigger gravitative mass movements with even more damaging effects in cities than the original earthquake itself. Rock falls, avalanches and break-outs of glacial lakes are just some examples for the special relation between city and mountains, e.g. in the Andean cities of the Santa Valley in Peru (Carey 2005). The same is true for the vicinity of volcanoes. Such areas often have plenty of natural potential, e.g. fertile soils or thermal springs, which has encouraged settlements and the creation of cities. At the same time these volcanoes can unfold great destructive powers, as did the Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador, which repeatedly threatened the town of Latacunga, or the Nevado del Ruiz, which triggered lahars in 1985 and annihilated the Colombian city of Armero (Lowe et al. 1986). For the controlled resettlement of risk zones it is necessary to pay more attention to the risk awareness of the local population. As the results of Haller (2010) in Yungay (Peruvian Andes) suggest, the Nevado Huascarán was still recognized as a source of danger years after a disaster event, but over time the perception of the city as a risk zone faded. Flooding as a result of (extreme) precipitation also presents mountain cities with enormous challenges. The sealed surfaces increase direct outflow into the receiving water course and, in extreme events, this often leads to flooding in the city. Mountain cities, not just in high-precipitation areas like the Eastern Himalayas, need to plan against the negative effects of heavy rains on the population, the settlement and its infrastructure. Atmospheric Challenges In many mountain cities maintaining water provision for the population presents a challenge. On high-altitude plains like the Bolivian Altiplano – around the metropoles of La Paz and El Alto (Hoffmann 2008) – or in the highlands of Tibet this is a big problem, exacerbated by the melting of many glaciers in recent decades. The Indian city of Leh is a very good example. Nüsser et al. (2015) have traced its development: in recent decades the population of this regional center in Ladakh grew from nearly 3000 (1911) to around 30,000 (2011). Water demands in this city, in an arid mountain area, are pushed further by numerous tourists and seasonal workers not included in the census. Local planners and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 146

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  147 politicians – and the population of the city – are facing severe challenges. The example of Leh demonstrates moreover that water shortage and flooding caused by extreme precipitation by no means cancel each other out. Even though the region has an average annual precipitation of just 115 mm, floods have been registered in 2005, 2006 and 2010 (Thayyen et al. 2013). Dame (2010) reports that the flood of August 2010 severely damaged settlement and infrastructure. Other atmospheric challenges are downslope winds and atmospheric inversion, which may affect the quality of life for the inhabitants of mountain cities in several ways. When a pool of cold air develops with an inversion at the upper limit, problems of air hygiene may develop because the vertical exchange of air is hampered in addition to the horizontal exchange, which is limited by the mountains. Any air pollutants produced on the valley floor (e.g. from traffic and industry) remain in the city for longer. Salt Lake City, Utah (US), is a well-known example where air pollution has already had documented effects on real estate prices (Li et al. 2016). In addition, traffic and industry noise spreads further in inversion conditions. Cities on high-altitude plains also have atmospheric specificities as a result of their high altitude. Air pressure is generally lower up there (and so is the partial pressure of oxygen) and the relative UVB radiation of the sun is higher (Körner 2007), a significant health aspect, as it can damage skin, eyes and the immune system. Mountain cities on high plateaus try to mitigate this by urban greening. Clever planting of trees can protect against UVB radiation and contribute to reducing air pollution and noise. Yang et al. (2012) have shown for Lhasa (Tibetan highlands) that on windy and very sunny highaltitude plateaus it is important to choose and arrange the tree species very carefully. Social/Cultural Challenges Except for cities on the high-altitude plains and those on the rim of mountains, the expansion of settlements in mountain areas often leads to conflicts over land use because of limited space on valley floors and in basins. Conflicts between urban and agrarian populations are exacerbated in mountain cities. Often different world views collide: One is dominated by a globalized perspective, the other by a traditional one based on the locality. The Shullcas Valley on the edge of Huancayo (Peruvian Andes) is a typical example. While the former group has increasingly discovered the peri-urban space and its amenities, with a boom in the construction of exclusive and sometimes gated condominiums, plus private universities for an upwardly mobile middle class (Haller and Borsdorf 2013), many small farmers on the edge of the city, still rooted in a world view called lo andino (Gade 1999; Sarmiento 2013), feel marginalized. With poor spatial planning, unclear ownership of plots and numerous farmers dependent on renting land, these hardly profit from the growing demand for land on the part of the real estate developers (Haller 2014). Moreover these developments on the valley floor also affect the areas around the city at higher altitudes (Haller and Einsiedler 2015) and have repercussions (e.g. as orographic challenges) for the entire city population. Comparable processes have been noted in the mountain regions of China (Zhang et al. 2004). In European mountain regions like the Alps the situation is somewhat different because of clearer spatial planning and regulations: Here farmers may – with suitable spatial rezoning – profit, at least financially, from the sale of plots. As Diamantini (2016) has shown for Trento (Italian Alps), however, stronger functional meshing of city and agriculture is needed to maintain a future-proof peri-urban agricultural area on the edge of mountain cities.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 147

20/04/2020 14:23

148  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Another feature of many, especially middle and larger, mountain cities, despite increasing fragmentation of social space, is a still recognizable hypsometric social gradient. This is particularly noticeable in La Paz and El Alto, where the residential areas of the upper class in La Paz are located in the parts of town with the more pleasant climate, up to 1000 m below the consolidated marginal quarters of El Alto. This has multiple consequences. The consolidated marginal quarters are much more vulnerable, for instance, in terms of water and energy provision, below the Altiplano also in terms of orographic risks (flooding, landslides, debris flows) as Urquieta (2014) reports. The lower-income quarters are, of course, not always situated above the more affluent quarters. In Popayán (Colombian Andes) or in Bozen/Bolzano (Italian Alps) the more affluent quarters are located higher up than the lower-income quarters. Often the more expensive real estate objects – often quite far from the original city center – are advertised to financially powerful buyers with reference to their special location in the mountains, to unobstructable views or to the unique aesthetics of the mountain scenery. The mountains thus become a locational advantage – as ‘urban garden’ sensu Mattiucci (2013) even part of the mountain cities. How they are perceived by developers, potential buyers, planners and politicians indirectly affects the socio-spatial structure of the cities and contributes to new segregation trends. As Perlik (2015) sums up, this is true not only of the peri-urban space of middle and larger mountain cities but also of urban tourist places. Originally this was essentially a European and North-American mountain phenomenon, but today it is becoming a global phenomenon. The location systems also present special challenges in many mountain cities. The catchment areas of the cities in narrow valleys differ greatly from the spatially homogenous, circular or hexagonal supply areas of radial cityscapes. In mountain areas enormous distances may have to be overcome to maintain the provisioning of the population. The problem of the distance between demand and the provision in the center concerns any part of the working population not involved in agriculture or the local tourism-dominated service sector, i.e. people who have to commute between their place of residence and that of work and who depend on an efficient transport network. At the same time it is a costly undertaking to provide public infrastructure for a catchment area of vast reach but comparatively low demand and insufficient load. These costs must be accepted to ensure the provision of the population. For such cities the central-place model needs to be modified, because its basic assumption of a homogenous space in terms of topography and orography is in conflict with the mountain city situation. For retail and service centers to be frequented sufficiently, we must assume much greater distances (Borsdorf and Paal 2000). Such drawbacks may be compensated with new networking and cooperation within the city system. A location in the mountains is often difficult to access. In Colombia, for instance, this has led to the capital losing some of the primary function typical in the rest of the Andes. Cali and Medellín in the Western Cordillera developed into significant centers. Table 9.2 presents an overview of these, often overlapping, mountain-specific challenges for mountain cities.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 148

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  149 Table 9.2  Mountain-specific challenges for mountain cities Type



Earthquake Volcanic activity Rock falls Avalanches Debris flows Lahars Flooding Break-out of glacier lakes Glacier melt Drought Fall winds Inversions and cold air pools Low air pressure Higher proportion of UVB radiation Settlement expansion and loss of arable land on valley floors Conflicts of world views and mountain culture Social segregation, mountain commodification and gentrification Location systems, provision and access




A VIEW TO THE FUTURE: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MOUNTAIN CITIES Characteristic for mountain cities is their location in the natural space and in various cultural spaces. In contrast to other cities, there are numerous physical-geographic and cultural-geographic processes that overlap in mountain cities, resulting in higher complexity than in lowland regions. The quality of life approach tries to overcome the dichotomies of objectivism and subjectivism, and of man and the environment, which makes it particularly suited as an approach for sustainable development (Moser 2009). In addition, special attention needs to be paid to regional-geographic particularities: mainly because of different world views and value systems – which in turn are influenced by zeitgeist and the local historical developments – it is rarely possible to transfer experiences from one mountain area to another, so region-specific solutions need to be taken into account. Frolich et al. (2015) demonstrated this on the example of Ecuador and the Andean philosophy of the ‘good life’ (sumak kawsay in Ecuadorean Quechua). Other geographic contexts provide more approaches, e.g. Bhutan and its ‘gross national happiness’. Taking the Austrian Alpine towns of Innsbruck and Bregenz as a case in point, Borsdorf (1999) developed a concept of quality of life that may serve as the basis for developing regionally specific approaches. He distinguishes three levels: (1) the transpersonal and objective level, which covers quantifiable aspects of circumstance (physical environment, social environment, infrastructure, interference factors) which can be captured with quantitative methods on inventorying; (2) a personal and objectifiable level, where the factors on offer are perceived in terms of individual social variables (social

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 149

20/04/2020 14:23

150  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability group, age, gender, formal education level, income, leisure budget) – the demand factors; (3) a personal and subjective (non-objectifiable) level of assessment, dependent on the world view and the value system of an individual and leading to the assessment result (happiness, well-being, health). In order to trigger a sustainable development process and keep it going, boundaries of disciplines need to be overcome and the population needs to be included and participating, both urban and peri-urban groups. Practical research of urban montology might do well to orient itself on the three-phases concept of ideal–typical transdisciplinary research by Lang et al. (2012): the first phase of joint problem framing, definition of the goals and putting together a transdisciplinary research team is followed by a second phase focused on jointly working on solution-oriented and transferable knowledge. The third and last phase is of special significance. This is when research findings are integrated into societal practice, i.e. they really are implemented and used in the mountain city. That city should, of course, not be looked at in isolation but as part of a mountain region, with the hinterland being influenced by developments in the city in both central–peripheral and in hypsometric terms – and in turn affecting the city.

CONCLUSION: MOUNTAIN CITIES AS TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH FOCUS It has been the aim of this chapter to advance a montological perspective on the study of cities in mountains. It has become clear that mountain cities differ from non-mountain cities in terms of location, function, risks and challenges. Sustainability approaches developed in lowland cities can therefore not be transferred directly. Instead, the peculiarities of the mountain cities must be taken into account. This has far-reaching consequences for research. If it wants to provide the scientific basis for sustainable development, it has to be participatory and transdisciplinary in its concept, i.e. it must integrate experts, decisionmakers and the population. We want to conclude with a research agenda for mountain cities, oriented on the Strategic Research Agenda (Drexler et al. 2016), developed for European mountain regions. It includes issues neglected in research so far. Its eight basic statements apply to mountain areas across the world: 1. Mountain ranges transcend political boundaries. 2. Mountains are part of the cultural heritage. 3. Mountains are water towers. 4. Mountains are biodiversity hotspots. 5. People need mountains, and mountains need people. 6. Mountains are sentinels of change. 7. Mountain economies are diverse and provide resources for the economy of wider regions. 8. Mountains have the potential to be viable, vibrant places to live and work. In this view it becomes essential to analyze and assess the urbanization process in mountains. Maintaining cultural heritage in old town centers, careful renovation of cities while safeguarding the traditional aspect and using local and regional building materials is as desirable as controlling sub-, peri- and post-suburbanization processes, which use up

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 150

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  151 enormous amounts of open land. Such processes require tailored planning, which does not endanger the quality of life and the local provisioning of the city dwellers while providing transport links from the more distant urbanization zones to the core city. Developing equitable models to provide services for all ages is a challenge for research as well. National and international city tourism is an economic pillar of many mountain cities, but includes the threat of cultural globalization, ‘festivalization’ and ‘Disneylandization’. When it comes to urban and peri-urban agriculture in mountain areas, research needs to create the foundations for redefining the role of quality production in the bio-economy, developing and promoting innovative technologies, improving business management, marketing and supply chains, and capitalizing on opportunities specific to the local geography. Mountains are rich in renewable energy. Therefore research should undertake an integrated assessment of the availability and use of natural resources for renewable energy production, evaluate the impacts of renewable energy production, storage and transmission, implement innovative and competitive strategies for energy efficiency and develop green energy model cities. Access, transport and traffic emission are key problems of mountain cities because of their location, often in valleys and mountain basins. The challenges here are assessing the parameters of mobility, deploying new mobility systems, increasing acceptance and use of public transport, proposing integrated transport solutions and quantifying the environmental and public health benefits associated with the transport behavior of inhabitants and tourists, as well as the transport of goods. With regard to natural risks and hazards, the study of mountain urban ecosystems is needed to reduce the physical vulnerability of mountain communities to natural and man-made hazards and to establish holistic strategies for the long-term resilience of urban socio-ecological systems in the mountains. And, lastly, education and communication are important to safeguard sustainability in mountain cities. Research should be conducted to facilitate the education of mountain people in urban and rural regions, to enable communication among mountain people and municipalities and between upland and lowland communities in order to sustain and improve networking and cooperation, and to encourage social impact and social innovation in mountain cities and regions. In this way, mountain city inhabitants should be supported to resolve ecological and economic crises. To facilitate innovative and solid research on these topics, open-access databases, userfriendly or even user-controlled geographical information systems and other instruments to visualize structures, changes, trends and scenarios should be provided by researchers to allow a close participation of mountain citizens. In doing so, montological scholarship could be on the right way up to the peaks of transdisciplinarity, opening up new views on the mountain-specific, sustainable development of cities in mountains.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors are very thankful to Brigitte Scott (Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences) for translating the manuscript.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 151

20/04/2020 14:23

152  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

REFERENCES Bartaletti F. 2001. La popolazione delle città alpine italiane. Revue de Géographie Alpine 89(1): 75–86. Bätzing W. 1998. Die Alpen – Vom eigen- zum fremdbestimmten Wirtschafts- und Lebensraum im Zentrum Europas. In: Hamberger S., Baumeister O., Erlacher R., Zängl W. (Eds.). Schöne neue Alpen – Eine Ortsbesichtigung. Munich: Raben-Verlag, 167–170. Bätzing W. 2015. Die Alpen: Geschichte und Zukunft einer europäischen Kulturlandschaft. Munich: C.H. Beck. Borsdorf A. 1999. La qualité de vie dans les villes alpines. Le cas d’Innsbruck. Revue de Géographie Alpine 87(4): 81–91. Borsdorf A. 2004. Verkehrs- und Städtenetze in Alpen und Anden. Über die Problematik der Übertragbarkeit von Erfahrungen im internationalen Entwicklungsdialog. In: Gamerith W., Messerli P., Meusburger P., Wanner H. (Eds.). Alpenwelt – Gebirgswelten. Inseln, Brücken, Grenzen. Heidelberg: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geographie, 299–308. Borsdorf A. 2012. Hochland-Tiefland-Beziehungen in den tropischen Andenländern. Eine ‘ménage à trois’ ungleicher Partner. Histoire des Alpes – Storia delle Alpi – Geschichte der Alpen 17: 25–34. Borsdorf A., Paal M. (Eds.). 2000. Die ‘alpine Stadt’ zwischen lokaler Verankerung und globaler Vernetzung. Beiträge zur regionalen Stadtforschung im Alpenraum. ISR-Forschungsberichte 20. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. Borsdorf A., Stötter J., Grabherr G., Bender O., Marchant C., Sánchez R. 2015. Impacts and risks of global change. In: Grover VI, Borsdorf A., Breuste J., Tiwari P.C., Witkowski Frangetto F. (Eds.). Impact of Global Changes on Mountains. Responses and Adaptation. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 33–76. Carey M. 2005. Living and dying with glaciers: People’s historical vulnerability to avalanches and outburst floods in Peru. Global and Planetary Change 47(2–4): 122–134. Coene F. 2010. The Caucasus: An Introduction. London: Routledge. Dame J. 2010. Torrential rain and flash floods in Ladakh, August 2010. Ladakh Studies 26: 39–44. Dematteis G. 2009. Polycentric urban regions in the Alpine space. Urban Research & Practice 2(1): 18–35. Diamantini C. 2016. Peri-urban agriculture as key driver to sustainability. A planning project in an Alpine city. City, Territory and Architecture 3: 1–15. Drexler C., Braun V., Christie D., Claramunt B., Dax T., Jelen I., Kanka R., Katsoulakos N., Le Roux G., Price M.F., Scheurer T., Weingartner R. 2016. Mountains for Europe’s Future: A Strategic Research Agenda. Innsbruck: MRI/ÖAW-IGF. Du C. 2009. On the mountain urban landscape studies. Science in China Series E: Technological Sciences 52(9): 2497–2501. Ehlers E., Falaturi A., Schweizer G. (Eds.). 1990. Der Islamische Orient: Grundlagen zur Länderkunde eines Kulturraumes. Islam: Raum – Geschichte – Religion 1. Cologne: Diesterweg. Fourny M.C. 2001. La ville alpine, utopie urbaine et projet politique. Le Globe 141(1): 39–55. Frolich L., Aguirre P., Sarmiento F.O. 2015. Cuatro mitologías binarias aplicadas a la sustentabilidad en la calidad de vida urbana: el caso de la ciudad de Ibarra – Ecuador. In: Aguirre P. (Ed.). Sustentabilidad. Principios y prácticas. Göttingen: Cuvillier, 35–51. Gade D.W. 1999. Nature and Culture in the Andes. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Gardner J.S., Rhoades R.E., Stadel C. 2013. People in the mountains. In: Price M.F., Buyers A.C., Friend D.A., Kohler T., Price L.W. (Eds.). Mountain Geography: Physical and Human Dimensions. Berkeley: University of California Press, 267–300. Haller A. 2010. Yungay: Recent tendencies and spatial perceptions in an Andean risk zone. Espacio y Desarrollo 22: 65–75. Haller A. 2014. The ‘sowing of concrete’: peri-urban smallholder perceptions of rural–urban land change in the Central Peruvian Andes. Land Use Policy 38: 239–247. Haller A. 2016. Phasen der Siedlungsentwicklung von Popayán. Eine kolumbianische Andenstadt zwischen Polarisierung und Fragmentierung. In: Innsbrucker Studienkreis für Geographie (Ed.). Die Welt verstehen – eine geographische Herausforderung. Eine Festschrift der Geographie Innsbruck für Axel Borsdorf. Innsbruck: Geographie Innsbruck Selbstverlag, 289–306. Haller A., Borsdorf A. 2013. Huancayo Metropolitano. Cities 31: 553–562. Haller A., Einsiedler F. 2015. Development of a participatory method for capturing preferences of Andean smallholders regarding urbanization. Mountain Research and Development 35(1): 16–26. Hoffmann D. 2008. Consecuencias del retroceso glaciar en la Cordillera boliviana. Pirineos 163: 77–84. Ives J.D., Messerli B., Rhoades R.E. 1997. Agenda for sustainable mountain development. In: Messerli B., Ives J.D. (Eds.). Mountains of the World. A Global Priority. New York: Parthenon, 455–466. Kapos V., Rhind J., Edwards M., Price M.F., Ravilious C., Kremsa V., Varela S., Castro M., Kappelle M., Zawila-Niedzwiecki T., Iracka M., Wisniewska E. 2000. Developing a map of the world’s mountain forests.  In: Price M.F., Butt M. (Eds.). Forests in Sustainable Mountain Development: A State of

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 152

20/04/2020 14:23

Urban montology: mountain cities as transdisciplinary research focus  153 Knowledge Report for 2000. Task Force on Forests in Sustainable Mountain Development. Wallingford: CABI, 4–19. Körner C. 2007. The use of ‘altitude’ in ecological research. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22(11): 569–574. Krakover S., Borsdorf A. 2000. Spatial dynamics of urban expansion: The case of Innsbruck, Austria. Die Erde 131(2): 125–141. Lang D.J., Wiek A., Bergmann M., Stauffacher M., Martens P., Moll P., Swilling M., Thomas C.J. 2012. Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability Science 7(S1): 25–43. Li H., Wei Y.D., You Z., Tian G. 2016. Amenity, accessibility and housing values in metropolitan USA: A study of Salt Lake County, Utah. Cities 59: 113–125. Lowe D.R., Williams S.N., Leigh H., Connort C.B., Gemmel J.B., Stoiber R.E. 1986. Lahars initiated by the 13 November 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia. Nature 324: 51–53. Mathian H., Sanders L. 2014. Spatio-Temporal Approaches: Geographic Objects and Change Process. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Mathieu J. 2003. The mountains in urban development: lessons from a comparative view. Histoire des Alpes – Storia delle Alpi – Geschichte der Alpen 8: 15–33. Mathieu J. 2015. Die Alpen: Raum – Kultur – Geschichte. Stuttgart: Reclam. Mattiucci C. 2013. ‘La montagna come giardino urbano’. Un interpretazione delle pratiche d’uso degli spazi aperti in una città di montagna. In: Corrado F., Di Bella E., Porcellana V. (Eds.). Le nuove frontiere della ricerca per i territori alpini. Milan: FrancoAngeli, 303–313. Messerli P. 1999. Sind die Alpenstädte besondere Städte? Revue de Géographie Alpine 87(2): 65–76. Moser G. 2009. Quality of life and sustainability: Toward person–environment congruity. Journal of Environmental Psychology 29(3): 351–357. Neustadtl S.J. 1977. Montology: the ecology of mountains. Technology Review 79(8): 64–66. Nüsser M., Dame J., Schmidt S. 2015. Urbane Entwicklung im indischen Himalaya. Die Beispiele Srinagar und Leh. Geographische Rundschau 67(7–8): 32–39. Perlik M. 2000. Stadt- und Industrieentwicklung in europäischen Gebirgsräumen. In: Borsdorf A., Grabherr G. (Eds.). Internationale Gebirgsforschung. IGF-Forschungsberichte 1. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 115–128. Perlik M. 2001. Alpenstädte – zwischen Metropolisation und neuer Eigenständigkeit. Geographica Bernensia P38. Bern: Geographisches Institut der Universität Bern. Perlik M. 2015. Mountains as global suppliers: New forms of disparities between mountain areas and metropolitan hubs? Revue de Géographie Alpine 103(3): 1–10. Racine J.B. 1999. Introduction. La ville alpine entre flux et lieux, entre pratiques et représentations. Revue de Géographie Alpine 87(1): 111–117. Sandholz S. 2016. Urban Centres in Asia and Latin America. Heritage and Identities in Changing Urban Landscapes. Berlin: Springer. Sarmiento F.O. 2013. Lo Andino: Integrating Stadel’s views into the larger Andean identity paradox for sustainability. In: Borsdorf A. (Ed.). Forschen im Gebirge – Investigating the mountains – Investigando las montañas. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 305–318. Stadel C. 2016. Tierras Altas – Tierras Bajas. Highland-lowland interactions in the Andean realm. In: Mainali K., Sicroff S. (Eds.). Jack D. Ives, Montologist. Festschrift for a Mountain Advocate. Kathmandu: Himalayan Association for the Advancement of Science, 142–156. Steinicke E., Cede P., Fliesser U. 2009. Development patterns of rural depopulation areas: Demographic impacts of amenity migration on Italian peripheral regions. Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft 151: 195–214. Thayyen R.J., Dimri A.P., Kumar P., Agnihotri P. 2013. Study of cloudburst and flash floods around Leh, India, during August 4–6, 2010. Natural Hazards 65(3): 2175–2204. Troll C. 1939. Luftbildplan und ökologische Bodenforschung. Ihr zweckmäßiger Einsatz für die wissenschaftliche Erforschung und praktische Erschließung wenig bekannter Länder. Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin 7/8: 241–256. Troll C. 1971. Landscape ecology (geoecology) and biogeocenology – A terminological study. Geoforum 2(4): 43–46. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Eds.). 2015. World Urbanization Prospects. The 2014 revision. New York: United Nations. pdf (accessed January 25, 2017). Urquieta P. 2014. Los desafíos de las ciudades vulnerables. Construcción de ciudad y construcción del riesgo en La Paz y El Alto. Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Études Andines 43(3): 445–462. Vai G.B., Martini M. (Eds.). 2001. Anatomy of an Orogen: The Apennines and Adjacent Mediterranean Basins. Dordrecht: Springer. Vaz D.M., Matos M.J. 2015. Regional polycentrism in a mountainous territory: The case of Covilhã (Portugal) and Alpine Cities. European Planning Studies 23(2): 379–397.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 153

20/04/2020 14:23

154  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Veyret-Verner G. 1968. Les Alpes et l’Europe. Revue de Géographie Alpine 56(1): 5–42. Więcław-Michniewska J. 2013. Cities and towns in the Polish Carpathians: Opportunities and limitations of urban development. In: Kozak J., Ostapowicz K., Bytnerowicz A., Wyżga B. (Eds.). The Carpathians: Integrating Nature and Society Towards Sustainability. Berlin: Springer, 531–544. Yang J., Zhou J., Ke J., Xiao J. 2012. Assessing the structure and stability of street trees in Lhasa, China. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 11(4): 432–438. Zhang B., Mo S., Tan Y., Xiao F., Wu H. 2004. Urbanization and de-urbanization in mountain regions of China. Mountain Research and Development 24(3): 206–209.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 154

20/04/2020 14:23

10.  The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability William Dunbar and Kaoru Ichikawa

THE SATOYAMA INITIATIVE AND ITS BACKGROUND The Satoyama Initiative is a global initiative with the vision of realizing “society in harmony with nature”, for the benefit of both biodiversity and human well-being. It is based on the recognition—increasingly popular in discussions around biodiversity conservation—that humans and the natural environment can mutually support each other given appropriate management of natural resources, and is based on many such examples from around the world (Bélair et al., 2010; Ichikawa, 2012; UNU-IAS and IR3S/UTIAS, 2016; Koohafkan and Dela Cruz, 2011). This kind of recognition provides a different perspective on traditional disagreements between those who wish to protect nature, including many in the conservation community, and those with interests in intensifying natural-resource use, for example, the agricultural and development-related sectors (Henle et al., 2008). The Satoyama Initiative lines up with many notable concepts and approaches related to biodiversity and natural-resource management, such as integrated landscape approaches (Sayer et al., 2013; Lopez-Casero et al., 2016), revitalization of social and ecological systems (Takeuchi et al., 2016), synergistic approaches to environment and economy including the “Green Economy” (UNEP, 2011; Ichikawa et al., 2012), and resource management building on traditional knowledge (Berkes, 2008). This chapter provides an overview of the Satoyama Initiative, its background, formation, development and concepts, as well as its implementation through the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), followed by a description of a recent event—the Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Peru—to illustrate some of the ways the initiative functions and continues to be further developed. We will begin with a brief background of how it came to be. On 29 and 30 January 2010, a “Global Workshop on the Satoyama Initiative” was held at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, France, where the elements of activities to be included were defined for an initiative, to be carried out at a global scale, focusing on promotion of the concept of “socio-ecological production landscapes”, and called the Satoyama Initiative. The major outcome document of the workshop, the “Paris Declaration on the Satoyama Initiative” (Satoyama Initiative, 2010), outlines the workshop itself, as well as the initial concept, description and objectives of the initiative—which continue to be further developed, based on these initial ideas, as summarized below. First, the workshop was attended by experts from around the world, and organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) and the United Nations University


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 155

20/04/2020 14:23

156  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS),1 and co-organized by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD). The overall context of the initiative as envisaged by workshop participants was that it would contribute to the processes of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including meetings of its Conference of the Parties (COP) and Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). Its outputs were therefore proposed to be submitted as inputs to the Fourteenth CBD SBSTTA meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2010 and the Tenth CBD COP meeting in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan in October 2010. Next, the declaration describes the main focus of the Satoyama Initiative, using the term “socio-ecological production landscapes”. Later, with the development of IPSI, the word “seascapes” was added to show that this focus includes coastal as well as inland areas, so that today “socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes” (SEPLS) are described—based on language in the Paris Declaration—as “dynamic mosaics of habitats and land uses where the harmonious interaction between people and nature maintains biodiversity while providing humans with the goods and services needed for their livelihoods, survival and well-being in a sustainable manner” (IPSI Secretariat, 2012). Natural resources in well-managed SEPLS are used in a sustainable manner and, as such, their particular relevance within the CBD context is their potential contribution to the second objective of the CBD, the “sustainable use of [biodiversity’s] components”, as described in the “Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines on the Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity”, adopted in CBD COP Decision VII/12 (CBD Secretariat, 2004a). This objective of sustainable use of biodiversity is reflected in the declaration’s emphasis throughout on both biodiversity and human well-being, as both are made possible through socio-ecological production landscapes. As the declaration has it: In these landscapes, natural resources are used in a cyclical manner within the carrying capacity and resilience of ecosystems; the value and importance of local traditions and cultures are recognized; and the management of natural resources involves various participating and cooperating entities and contributes to local socio-economies. These landscape management practices are conducive to maintaining an optimal balance of food production, livelihood improvement and ecosystem conservation. (CBD Secretariat, 2004a)

A number of examples of similar concepts related to landscape management around the world are referred to, “such as muyong, uma and payoh in the Philippines, mauel in Korea, dehesa in Spain . . . chitemene in Malawi and Zambia and satoyama in Japan”, many of which have been described in research findings or case studies submitted to IPSI (see Gonzalez (2002) and Matsushima and Tojo (2010) for practices in the Philippines; Hong and Kim (2011) for mauelsup in Korea; Moreno and Pulido (2009) and Fra Paleo (2010) for dehesa; Takeuchi (1988) and Jumbe et al. (2011) for chitemene; and Duraiappah et al. (2012) for satoyama). 1   The United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies was merged into a new institute named the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability in 2014, retaining the same acronym. Subsequent uses of “UNU-IAS” in this chapter refer to the institute with whichever name is appropriate to the time frame.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 156

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  157 The mention here of Japan’s satoyama landscapes points to the background to the Paris workshop and the reason behind the initiative’s name. The Paris Declaration points to a number of studies indicating that management of socio-ecological production landscapes can contribute to sustainable use of biodiversity, and one of the chief among these studies is a multi-year project carried out in Japan, titled the “Japan Satoyama–Satoumi Assessment” (JSSA) (Duraiappah et al., 2012). The JSSA was developed and carried out from 2006 to 2010, to study “the interaction between humans and terrestrial–aquatic landscape ecosystems (satoyama) and marine–coastal ecosystems (satoumi) in Japan.” It applied the framework of assessments carried out under the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (Alcamo et al., 2003), looking at various aspects of mosaic satoyama landscapes and satoumi seascapes in different regions around Japan. The executive summary of the JSSA identifies a number of key findings, many of which find parallels in the subsequent development of the Satoyama Initiative. These include findings that the critical feature of satoyama landscapes and satoumi seascapes that makes them able to provide for biodiversity and human well-being is their mosaic composition, and that these landscapes and seascapes have faced significant decline in recent decades, with important potential negative consequences. As solutions, it suggests that integrated approaches to the landscape or seascape can be effective where “unconnected and piecemeal” approaches have had limited success, and that such integrated approaches should include a new approach to common resources and lands. Notably, the summary suggests that such an approach would not only apply in Japan, but “could provide the basis for sustainable development in both developing and developed countries”. The findings of the JSSA were specifically intended to feed into the Satoyama Initiative, which was just being developed at the time, so it should not be surprising that the Paris Declaration follows a similar pattern to the JSSA findings in laying the groundwork for the initiative, even if it was developed by workshop participants from around the world. The generalization of characteristics of Japanese satoyama and satoumi to socio-ecological production landscapes worldwide was one of the key outcomes of the JSSA. After pointing out the mosaic composition and benefits for biodiversity and human well-being of socio-ecological production landscapes as noted above—terminology that was employed under the Satoyama Initiative to describe its target areas of conservation and revitalization—the declaration describes recent ­degradation issues facing them due to rural depopulation and ageing populations, unplanned urbanization, industrialization and increases in population and resource demands. It then outlines the Satoyama Initiative as an integrated approach to address these issues. The specific goals of the initiative as presented in the Paris Declaration are three-fold, to: enhance understanding and raise awareness of the importance of socio-ecological production landscapes for livelihoods and the three objectives of the Convention [on Biological Diversity]; support and expand, where appropriate and as part of the implementation of the post-2010 Strategic Plan, socio-ecological production landscapes; and collaborate with other initiatives and programs operating in this area. (IPSI Secretariat, 2015: 42)

Mechanisms for achieving the first two of these goals are also identified as follows.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 157

20/04/2020 14:23

158  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability For the first goal—enhancing understanding and raising awareness—the mechanisms are: collecting, analyzing, synthesizing and comparing case studies, and distilling lessons learned for dissemination and use in capacity-building activities; undertaking research on ways and means to promote knowledge and practice to enable a stable supply of ecosystem services, enable communication between traditional ecological knowledge systems and modern science, exploring new forms of co-management, revitalizing socioecological production landscapes, and integrating results in policy- and decision-making processes; developing measurable indicators of resilience for socio-ecological production landscapes, and applying these indicators to contribute to the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (CBD Secretariat, 2004b); and increasing awareness by promoting education, information dissemination, and document production. For the second goal—supporting and expanding socio-ecological production landscapes—two mechanisms are identified: enhancing capacities for maintaining, ­ rebuilding and revitalizing socio-ecological production landscapes, including through capacity-building workshops and support for on-the-ground projects; and collaborating with local community organizations, national governments, donor agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other United Nations (UN) agencies and organizations in the implementation of activities related to the initiative. To carry out these mechanisms identified for the implementation of the Satoyama Initiative, the Paris Declaration finally calls for the establishment of an international partnership, open to all organizations dealing with socio-ecological production landscapes “with links to national/sub-national and regional partnerships”. Priorities for the partnership as identified in the Paris Declaration are to: identify and develop mechanisms to finance the implementation of the initiative and support its projects and activities; mobilize financial resources for implementing the initiative; facilitate consultations among partner organizations in order to enable cooperation and create collaborative activities; and report on relevant achievements to CBD bodies in accordance with their respective agendas. As proposed in its text, the Paris Declaration was included as an information document for the CBD’s Fourteenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 14) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2010 (CBD Secretariat, 2010b), with the result that a section to be titled “Satoyama Initiative” or “Tools for promoting the sustainable use of biodiversity” was included in SBSTTA Recommendation XIV/6 (CBD Secretariat, 2010c), “In-depth reviews of implementation of the programme of work on Article 10 of the Convention (sustainable use of biodiversity) and application of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines” to be submitted to the next meeting of the COP to the CBD. Accordingly, the recommendation was an information document for the Tenth CBD COP meeting in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan in October 2010, and following the negotiation process, a similar section titled “Satoyama Initiative” was included in CBD COP 10 Decision X/32 (CBD Secretariat, 2010a), which recognized the Satoyama Initiative as “a potentially useful tool to better understand and support human-influenced natural environments for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being”, recognized and supported “further discussion, analysis and understanding of the Satoyama Initiative to further disseminate knowledge, build capacity and promote projects and programmes for the sustainable use of biological resources”, took note of IPSI (see below) “as one mechanism to carry out activities identified by the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 158

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  159 Satoyama Initiative”, and invited “Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to support, as appropriate, the promotion of the sustainable use of biodiversity, ­including the Satoyama Initiative”. This represented the first time the Satoyama Initiative was recognized in international policy-making processes.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SATOYAMA INITIATIVE: THE INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR THE SATOYAMA INITIATIVE (IPSI) As proposed by the Paris Declaration, IPSI was established on 19 October 2010 with a launch ceremony held during CBD COP 10 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The ceremony was organized by the MOEJ and UNU-IAS, and co-organized by the CBD Secretariat. The first 51 founding organizations became IPSI partners at this time, to be joined by further partners over time, with the number of member organizations reaching 202 as of November 2016. The following section provides a brief outline of how the partnership works and some of its activities. According to its Charter (IPSI, 2014a), IPSI is “open to all organizations committed to promote and support SEPLS for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being”, listing the following types of organizations: national or local governmental organizations, non-governmental or civil society organizations, indigenous or local community organizations, academic, educational and/or research institutes, industry or private sector organizations, UN or other international organizations, and others. The partnership was created to be a place where these different types of organizations can engage and work together on an equal footing. The IPSI Charter also identifies the partnership’s “vision”, to “realize societies in harmony with nature”, and outlines its approach and perspectives. A three-fold approach is given here somewhat different from that described in the Paris Declaration, to: consolidate wisdom on securing diverse ecosystem services and values; integrate traditional ecological knowledge and modern science to promote innovations; and explore new forms of co-management systems or evolving frameworks of “commons” while respecting traditional communal land tenure. Six “ecological and socioeconomic perspectives” are also given for members’ assent: resource use within the carrying capacity and resilience of the environment; cyclic use of natural resources; recognition of the value and importance of local and indigenous traditions and culture; multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration in sustainable and multi-functional management of natural resources and ecosystem services; contributions to sustainable socio-economies including poverty reduction, food security, sustainable livelihood and local community empowerment; improved community resilience to achieve multiple benefits, including ecological, social, cultural, spiritual and economic benefits, inter alia through ecosystem-based approaches for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. Finally, the Charter identifies three governing bodies for IPSI: a General Assembly of representatives of all member organizations; a Steering Committee; and a Secretariat to serve the former two. In addition to its Charter, IPSI’s operational principles and strategic directions are laid out in two more documents, the IPSI Operational Guidelines (IPSI, 2014b) and the IPSI Strategy (IPSI Secretariat, 2012). The Operational Guidelines

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 159

20/04/2020 14:23

160  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability (IPSI, 2014b) follow the Charter, providing more detail on the roles and functions of the General Assembly, Steering Committee and Secretariat. They also describe IPSI’s activities, including a mechanism for members to create and carry out collaborative activities, and hold regular meetings for members, both meetings of the General Assembly and Public Forums to strengthen collaboration and enhance awareness about the Satoyama Initiative. The IPSI Strategy, developed in 2012, gives basic directions for what IPSI is actually supposed to do in implementing the Satoyama Initiative. After reaffirming the background, vision and concepts of IPSI as outlined above, it lists the partnership’s four strategic objectives, paraphrased here: Objective 1, to increase knowledge and understanding of SEPLS and make information widely accessible that is of relevance to decision-making on their values, history, status and trends; Objective 2, to address the direct and underlying causes responsible for the decline or loss of biological and cultural diversity as well as ecological and socio-economic services from SEPLS, so as to maintain those that are functioning well and rebuild, revitalize or restore those that are lost or degraded; Objective 3, to enhance benefits from SEPLS including by supporting factors and actions that increase the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services for human well-being; and Objective 4, to enhance the human, institutional and sustainable financial capacities for the implementation of the Satoyama Initiative. The diagram in Figure 10.1 was developed along with the IPSI Strategy to illustrate the relationship between IPSI, the Satoyama Initiative and international processes. Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, related conventions and agreements, and Millennium Development Goals

Satoyama Initiative


Financial mechanisms/resources including innovative mechanisms

IPSI members’ collaborative and individual activities

Non-IPSI members’ SEPLS-related activities

Figure 10.1  Relationship between the Satoyama Initiative and IPSI

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 160

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  161 The general objectives laid out in the IPSI Strategy and listed above were further fleshed out with points for concrete action by IPSI members in 2014, when a Plan of Action was published for the partnership (IPSI Secretariat, 2014). For each of the four strategic objectives, the Plan of Action describes the current situation within IPSI as of 2014, and then provides a list of priority actions. It then gives three mechanisms to implement these priority actions: build and strategically expand the IPSI membership to enhance balance in terms of regional and organizational representation; strengthen and enhance collaborative activities and their implementation, reporting, and dissemination of best practices and achievements; and enhance collaboration with relevant initiatives, programs and networks. It also describes the current situation within IPSI and lists planned measures for each of the three mechanisms. Building on this basic strategic framework of the partnership, the following section describes some of the activities that have been carried out toward implementing the priority actions and planned measures for IPSI’s strategic objectives and mechanisms for implementation.

IPSI COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITIES As mentioned above, the IPSI Operational Guidelines (2014b) include a mechanism for development and implementation of collaborative activities between members. The intention of this mechanism is to facilitate collaboration among members and create synergies by bringing together members’ expertise and resources in order to further promote work on SEPLS in general. These activities are proposed by two or more member organizations, with or without further collaborators from outside the partnership, and endorsed by the IPSI Steering Committee. These are carried out on a voluntary basis; as the Operational Guidelines state, “resource mobilization for IPSI collaborative activities shall be the responsibility of the implementing members in principle”. As of November 2016, 40 collaborative activities had been endorsed by the IPSI Steering Committee. These range widely in scope, type and content, from relatively small-scale projects to restore a single landscape or produce a publication, to much larger global-scale funding allocation and knowledge management projects. Some notable collaborative activities are listed below. The Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS) Project The COMDEKS Project was a large project incorporating aspects of knowledge management as well as providing funding in target landscapes and seascapes in 20 countries around the world (UNDP, 2014, 2016). The COMDEKS Project was administered using an existing scheme for small-scale direct funding through the Global Environmental Facility’s Small Grants Programme to advance the Satoyama Initiative on the ground. The project’s timeframe was from 2011 through 2016, and it was implemented by UNDP along with the MOEJ, the CBD Secretariat and UNU-IAS. Under COMDEKS, each target landscape or seascape created a strategy, which was then used to identify projects for funding and further development, with knowledge management and monitoring carried

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 161

20/04/2020 14:23

162  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability out throughout the projects’ period. The aim in each landscape or seascape was to apply a landscape approach for sustainable development and improved resilience. The Satoyama Development Mechanism (SDM) The SDM is an ongoing funding mechanism, providing small grant funding to six selected IPSI member organizations each year to serve as seed funding for projects that are expected to be sustainable and that would then be able to attract further funding from other sources (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), 2016). Its stated objectives are to: promote the implementation of activities under the IPSI Strategy and Plan of Action; promote the development of model practices for living in harmony with nature and contribution to the CBD’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets; and provide an incentive for IPSI members to strengthen partnerships and to generate a knock-on effect from joint activities. SDM has been administered since 2013 by IGES, along with MOEJ and UNU-IAS. The “GEF-Satoyama Project” “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management in Priority Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes”, known familiarly as the “GEF-Satoyama Project”, is another large-scale project involving funding, knowledge management and capacity-building components. It focuses on three key biodiversity hotspots—Indo-Burma; the Tropical Andes; and Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands—with subgrant funding to selected projects, capacity-building workshops, and knowledge management activities in each. It was begun in 2015 and is scheduled to run until 2019, administered by Conservation International (Japan) along with UNU-IAS, IGES and the Global Environment Facility. Indicators of Resilience in Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes As mentioned above, the Paris Declaration on the Satoyama Initiative calls for “Developing measurable indicators of resilience associated with linkages between human well-being and the socio-ecological production landscape mosaic, including linkages between wild and anthropogenic components of landscape and ecosystems; and applying these indicators to contribute to the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach”, while the IPSI Strategy calls for indicators of resilience to be included in IPSI’s monitoring and reporting processes. Accordingly, a set of 20 “Indicators of Resilience in Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes” were first developed in 2012 as part of a collaborative activity titled “Communities and agricultural landscapes in Cuban Man and Biosphere Reserves”. The indicators were then field-tested and applied in more than 20 countries around the world, and revised in another activity titled “Developing a toolkit for ‘Indicators for resilience in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes’”, which produced a freely-available “Toolkit” publication (UNU-IAS et al., 2014). The primary purpose of the indicators is to empower local communities to plan and implement activities by themselves to enhance resilience in their landscapes, so they have been designed to be used by local communities based on their experiences and observations.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 162

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  163 The indicators have now been applied in over 30 countries, and are used for strategy development, monitoring and assessment processes including in the COMDEKS and GEF-Satoyama projects (see above).

IPSI CASE STUDIES Among the priority actions for IPSI in its Plan of Action is to “exchange knowledge and lessons learned, including from case studies, member activities, and collaborative activities, and feed synthesis into relevant policy discussions” (IPSI Secretariat, 2014). Since the partnership’s beginning, more than 80 case studies from IPSI members, including examples of successful management practices in landscapes and seascapes around the world, have been collected and shared on IPSI’s website. An analysis project was also carried out to distill and compile lessons learned (UNU-IAS and IGES, 2015a), and publications have been created bringing together case studies from the Asian and African regions (Ichikawa, 2012; UNU-IAS and IR3S/UTIAS, 2016). A publication series titled the “Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review” is also being published annually, collecting case studies around a theme along with a synthesis chapter to capture lessons useful for policy-making and practice. Each year’s theme is intended to be relevant to current policy issues. The 2015 edition’s theme is “Enhancing knowledge for better management of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes” (UNU-IAS and IGES, 2015b), and 2016’s is “Mainstreaming concepts and approaches of SEPLS into policy and decision-making” (UNU-IAS and IGES, 2016).

MEETINGS AND EVENTS The IPSI Global Conference The IPSI Global Conference is the major regularly-held event under the partnership’s processes for important decision-making and for raising public awareness. As called for in the IPSI Operational Guidelines, it generally consists of a meeting of the IPSI General Assembly and a Public Forum. The first IPSI Global Conference was held in Japan in March 2011, and conferences have been held on a regular basis since then in various countries, often back-to-back with CBD COP meetings. The General Assembly meeting covers operational issues for the partnership, while the Public Forum is used for outreach and information sharing. Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshops Regional workshops are organized to explore issues related to landscapes and seascapes in terms of the particular characteristics of a region and how they relate to issues faced in the rest of the world, as well as to share information and promote the Satoyama Initiative in the region. As of July 2016, workshops had been held in Kathmandu, Nepal for Asia, Florence, Italy for Europe, Accra, Ghana for Africa, and Cusco, Peru for Latin America and the Caribbean. Workshops include presentations by IPSI members in the region,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 163

20/04/2020 14:23

164  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability keynote speeches by invited experts, working-group discussions and others. Contents are unified around a theme intended to highlight important issues in the particular region. The following section covers the 2016 Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Peru as an example of how the Satoyama Initiative is being implemented and to highlight issues uncovered through processes carried out by IPSI in continuing to develop the initiative.

THE SATOYAMA INITIATIVE REGIONAL WORKSHOP IN PERU The Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Peru 2016 was the fourth regional workshop, and covered the Latin America and Caribbean region, where the initiative has not had as strong a presence as in Asia and some other regions. Accordingly, membership of IPSI is relatively low in the region. Accordingly, this workshop was partly planned to improve the initiative’s regional recognition and effectiveness. In the global context, the workshop was held in the same year as CBD COP 13, and just a few months after the adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was co-organized by UNU-IAS and local partner Asociación ANDES, with major support from the Ministry of Environment of Peru (MINAM). The first day of the workshop was held in Cusco with an opening ceremony and plenary session. This included a roundtable discussion with officials from local governments and national government ministries on issues facing Peru and efforts to address them. Presentations from various sub-regions and panel and plenary discussions followed. The following two days’ events were held in and around the town of Pisac, with field sessions held in the Potato Park. The Potato Park is a confederation of Quechuaspeaking communities that came together in a collectively administrated association in order, according to its website, to “protect our rights and in our role as a center of potato origin and diversity . . . promote environmentally sustainable agriculture” (Parque de la Papa, n.d.). After a welcome ceremony and blessing at a sacred site in the Pisac Archeological Park, participants split into working groups to visit different communities. Presentations were given by both local community members explaining the local landscape and their work, and by workshop participants from other places introducing their own interests and projects. This format gave participants the chance to discuss and compare issues while physically moving through the landscape and observing its various elements. A closing plenary session was then used for participants to consolidate and report on the outcomes of their groups’ discussions in the field sessions, and to synthesize these into overall conclusions and lessons learned from the workshop as a whole. Results and Lessons Learned In the working groups, participants were asked to respond to three key questions: ● ●●

What are some of the key issues for SEPLS in Latin America and Caribbean? What are some of the challenges and opportunities for:   –  Group 1: sustainable management of biodiversity and local food production system in – SEPLS?

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 164

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  165   –  G  roup 2: sustainable livelihoods and ways to enable indigenous peoples and local communities to maintain, rebuild, and revitalize SEPLS?   –  Group 3: development of policies and governance frameworks that bring effective community ownership and management of SEPLS? ● What are possible future actions in the Latin America and Caribbean region to promote SEPLS for sustainable management of biodiversity and secure livelihoods? Responses to these questions were very diverse and difficult to summarize, but emerging common lessons learned help to highlight salient issues in the region and how they relate to and may be partially addressed by the principles of the Satoyama Initiative. First, a number of key issues facing the region were identified: ●


Composition of and threats to the landscape or seascape: Landscape composition and processes of developing landscapes into dynamic mosaics of land and sea uses are the fundamental bases of the Satoyama Initiative. Workshop participants found that typical production landscapes and seascapes in the region have been developed through interactions between humans and nature over long time periods, but are now faced with unprecedented modern threats from extractive industries, monocultural agricultural practices, transgenics and others. The Satoyama Initiative was created as a means to fulfill participants’ expressed desire to find ways for people to live in harmony with nature rather than simply extracting its products. Knowledge (modern and traditional) and awareness: With changes to the human– nature relationship in recent years, workshop participants expressed concerns that important cultures, traditional knowledge and ancestral values are being lost, particularly by indigenous communities. One of the basic tenets of the Satoyama Initiative’s approach is to address this problem through the integration of modern and traditional knowledge, and participants stressed the need to recognize traditional knowledge on biodiverse, community-controlled production systems, and improve knowledge and awareness in society as a whole. Likewise, it was pointed out that local knowledge can help with related environmental and social problems including climate change adaptation.   On this point, the Potato Park served as a good example as the workshop venue, since participants were able to see first-hand how communities’ processes of creating place and gaining ownership of their landscape can create not only material improvements to well-being but also cultural and spiritual meaning for people (Argumedo and Wong, 2010). In the case of the Potato Park communities, which are in many ways traditional societies, this is possible in spite of the pressures of the modern world because of the communities’ deliberate efforts to introduce non-traditional practices of governance and contribution to modern scientific knowledge generation such as their seed banking and multiplication facilities, and research into crop diversification in research plots. It is exactly these kinds of efforts to introduce modern techniques and integrate them with traditional knowledge that have allowed the traditional culture to thrive in these communities, while participants from other landscapes and seascapes in the region explained that such cultures were being degraded and lost.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 165

20/04/2020 14:23

166  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Sustainable livelihoods, well-being and development: Many of the problems related to sustainability raised at the workshop were among those that are commonly identified in work under the Satoyama Initiative and that it is intended to address. These include rural abandonment, particularly by young people moving to cities—a major point addressed by the revitalization and sustainable management of healthy rural landscapes—and in general a contradiction between traditional livelihood systems and modern capitalist models resulting in welfarism and paternalism toward local communities. Where sustainable development and conservation interventions are made, participants echoed the Satoyama Initiative’s emphasis on including a social basis, also ensuring that projects are formally recognized and not too short to be effective given the long-term process of landscape development. ●● Governance and social equity: One of the key factors in the Satoyama Initiative is bringing together multiple levels of governance, with the recognition of the importance of those who live in and depend on the landscape or seascape having control of their own resources. In order for this to happen, workshop participants found that governance must be coherent at multiple levels and across sectors in order to address complex problems like biopiracy, genetically modified organism (GMO) resistance and access to common goods, while allowing for essentially local control. Particularly in the region, it was suggested that landscape governance must be in line with the biocultural reality and also with the needs of indigenous and local communities. Considering the example of the indigenous communities in the Potato Park, some stressed that indigenous communities should be given more self-determination over their traditional territories and resources. ● Partnership and networking: As evidenced by this workshop and the experiences of IPSI in general, more effective partnership throughout a region, both between communities and cultures and between projects and organizations, is desirable for addressing issues from on-the-ground effectiveness to knowledge management to governance. Workshop participants were in agreement in seeing the Satoyama Initiative and IPSI as promising measures in this direction. ●●

Second, challenges and opportunities were explored for sustainable management of biodiversity and local food production systems, sustainable livelihoods and ways to enable indigenous peoples and local communities, and development of policies and governance frameworks to bring effective community ownership and management: Building on the issues related to governance as mentioned above, particularly the Satoyama Initiative’s emphasis on linking multiple levels of governance, participants identified challenges in the region in linking local efforts to higher-level and global processes, with challenges at the local level including developing human resources, access and benefit-sharing, keeping young people in the landscape, and strengthening community organizations. They found opportunities to address these through integration of intercultural programs in educational curricula and creating research centers, and also developing creative local solutions to problems like climate change adaptation. Regarding sustainable livelihoods and ways to enable indigenous peoples and local communities to maintain, rebuild, and revitalize SEPLS, challenges were seen related to threats to and loss of traditional culture and knowledge as described above. Opportunities included the fact that a rich biocultural diversity exists in the region and that a diversity

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 166

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  167 of institutions, traditional knowledge and the oral tradition can help to address many problems. It was suggested that, similar to integrating modern science and traditional knowledge, modern communications technologies could be used to disseminate knowledge and help make it effective for today’s world. Similar points were raised relating to governance, including the need for local governance, alternatives to dominant capitalist economic models, and improved partnership and dialogue, including all concerned actors in any projects. The Satoyama Initiative was seen as helpful in this area with its focus at the landscape or seascape level, and because it does not focus only on agriculture or conservation, allowing it to be an effective means to bring different interests together. Finally, the workshop addressed possible future actions in the Latin America and Caribbean region, with actions falling under themes similar to many of those found above: ●



Governance: Proposed actions related to governance focused largely on engaging with and trying to influence policy-makers and policy-making processes, including incorporation of the Satoyama Initiative into government priorities, strengthening community-based institutions, and ensuring that various types and levels of government have a shared vision for production landscapes and seascapes. Protected areas were also an area of concern, with some participants recommending that sacred natural areas be protected more, and that all stakeholders’ needs should be considered in protected-area policy. Partnership and networking: A greater need for partnership and networking across the region was again raised as one of the most desirable future directions, in order to coordinate efforts to implement the goals of the Satoyama Initiative and to exchange experience and knowledge. Knowledge and well-being: Perhaps the most commonly shared message of the groups’ proposed future actions overall was that putting control of resources and decision-making in the hands of the communities who live in and rely on ­production landscapes and seascapes is the way to ensure sustainability and well-being, as highlighted in work under the Satoyama Initiative. This suggestion also entails recognition of the knowledge held by the communities and its incorporation into policy, in turn requiring knowledge of the challenges faced by communities and their ways of dealing with them, and strengthening of communities’ capacity in order to disseminate and share their knowledge and influence policy-making.

CONCLUSIONS This chapter has two main aims: first, to present readers of this volume with an overview of the Satoyama Initiative including its background, concepts and implementation status; and, second, using the Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Peru as an example, to show how the initiative continues to be developed in light of new perspectives found through various projects and activities as it continues to gain recognition and spread around the world. We, the authors, hope that the perspectives on a landscape-focused resource-management approach found in the Satoyama Initiative will provide a valuable

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 167

20/04/2020 14:23

168  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability contribution to the discussion of the geography and landscape—in all senses of the word—that this volume addresses. In an attempt to sum up the information here in a way that will be useful to readers and other contributors, we would like to offer a few points learned from activities described in this chapter. First, in implementing a concept like the Satoyama Initiative, there is a constant balancing act between generality and specificity that must be recognized and addressed. In the largest sense, this is seen in the balance between general principles of the Satoyama Initiative—“socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes”, its three-fold approach and six perspectives, etc.—and the degree of specificity to which these principles can support individual landscapes and seascapes on the ground. The Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshops are one attempt to address this balance, considering that larger-scale events like the IPSI Global Conference may be too broad for some purposes, while small-scale projects in individual landscapes may produce knowledge that is too specific for broader application. The response based on what is presented in this chapter, particularly the Peru workshop, is to work toward governance that is coherent both horizontally and vertically at multiple levels, from local to regional to global (Duraiappah et al., 2014), recognizing and retaining what is applicable or replicable, while remaining willing to ignore what may not be applicable in a certain situation. This approach has been seen throughout the Satoyama Initiative, with its concept of multilevel, multistakeholder, multi-functional management of resources, and is echoed in workshop participants’ repeated emphasis on bringing coherence to multiple levels of governance in their findings. Second, creation and good management of knowledge is key. Importantly in the context of the Satoyama Initiative, this includes the ongoing effort to integrate traditional knowledge and modern science (Takeuchi, 2010). While this effort has been discussed since the formation of the initiative, the Peru workshop provides further examples, both of participants expressing their desire for more work in this direction and of real-world cases. One of the best of these came from the work at the Potato Park venue itself, where a great deal of traditional knowledge about cultivation of potatoes and other Andean crops is being directly fed into modern scientific research investigating means for sustainable agriculture in the region (Asociación ANDES and the Potato Park, 2015). Finally, both the experiences of IPSI and the findings of the Peru workshop repeatedly emphasize the importance of partnership and networking to achieve all goals in terms of implementation, knowledge-sharing, mainstreaming, replication of good practices and others. One of the outstanding conclusions from the Peru workshop was that, while knowledge-sharing may be comparatively easy at the local level, and various mechanisms and clearing houses may exist for knowledge relevant at the global scale, often ­practitioners within a region have no idea what is going on in other parts of the same region. For this reason, concrete and proactive efforts are needed to share knowledge in an appropriate manner for the scale at which it is most useful. Efforts in this direction, such as Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshops continue, and participants expressed the desire that these efforts be continued and increased.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 168

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  169

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank the editors and other contributors to this volume for the opportunity to engage in this important dialogue on the geography of sustainability, and would also like to thank all of the participants in the Satoyama Initiative Regional Workshop in Peru for the valuable insights contained herein, as well as the MOEJ for their financial contribution to the International Satoyama Initiative project at UNU-IAS and its role as the Secretariat of IPSI.

REFERENCES Alcamo, J. et al. (2003), Ecosystems and human well-being: A framework for assessment, Washington, DC: Island Press. Argumedo, A. and B.Y.L Wong (2010), ‘The ayllu system of the Potato Park (Peru)’, in C. Bélair, K. Ichikawa, B.Y. Wong and K.J. Mulongoy (eds), Sustainable use of biological diversity in socio-ecological production landscapes. Background to the ‘Satoyama Initiative for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being’ (Technical Series no. 52), Montreal: SCBD, 84–90. Asociación ANDES and the Potato Park (2015), Biocultural heritage innovations in the Potato Park: SIFOR qualitative baseline study, Peru, London: International Institute for Environment and Development. Bélair, C., K. Ichikawa, B.Y. Wong and K.J. Mulongoy (eds) (2010), Sustainable use of biological diversity in socio-ecological production landscapes. Background to the ‘Satoyama Initiative for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being’ (Technical Series no. 52), Montreal: CBD Secretariat. Berkes, F. (2008), Sacred ecology, 2nd edn, New York and London: Routledge. CBD Secretariat (2004a), COP Decision VII/12 Sustainable Use (Article 10). Accessed 29 January 2017 at CBD Secretariat (2004b), CBD guidelines: The ecosystem approach. Accessed 24 January 2020 at https://www. CBD Secretariat (2010a), CBD COP 10 Decision X/32 Sustainable use of biodiversity. Accessed 29 January 2017 at CBD Secretariat (2010b), Paris Declaration on the Satoyama Initiative (information paper to the Fourteenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 14)). Accessed 29 January 2017 at CBD Secretariat (2010c), SBSTTA Recommendation XIV/6 In-depth reviews of implementation of the programme of work on Article 10 of the Convention (sustainable use of biodiversity) and application of the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines. Accessed 29 January 2017 at sbstta-14/sbstta-14-rec-06-en.pdf. Duraiappah, A.K., S.T. Asah, E.S. Brondizio, N. Kosoy, P.J. O’Farrell, A-H. Prieur-Richard, M.S. Subramanian and K. Takeuchi (2014), ‘Managing the mismatches to provide ecosystem services for human wellbeing: A conceptual framework for understanding the New Commons’. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 7, 94–100. Duraiappah, A.K., K. Nakamura, K. Takeuchi, M. Watanabe and M. Nishi (eds) (2012), Satoyama–Satoumi ecosystems and human well-being: Socio-ecological production landscapes of Japan, Tokyo: UNU Press. Fra Paleo, U. (2010), ‘The dehesa/montado landscape’, in C. Bélair, K. Ichikawa, B.Y. Wong and K.J. Mulongoy (eds), Sustainable use of biological diversity in socio-ecological production landscapes: Background to the ‘Satoyama Initiative for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being’ (Technical Series no. 52), Montreal: CBD Secretariat, 149–151. Gonzalez, R.M. (2002), ‘GIS-assisted joint learning: A strategy in adaptive management of natural resources’, in J.A.E. Oglethorpe (ed.) Adaptive management: From theory to practice, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN, 15–39. Henle, K, D. Alard, J. Clitherow, P. Cobb, L. Firbank, T. Kull, D. McCracken, R.F.A. Moritz, J. Niemelä, M.  Rebane, D. Wascher, A. Watt and J. Young (2008), ‘Identifying and managing the conflicts between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in Europe—A review’, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 124(1–2), 60–71. Hong, S-K. and J-E. Kim (2011), ‘Traditional forests in villages linking humans and natural landscapes’, in S.-K. Hong, J-E. Kim, J. Wu and N. Nakagoshi (eds), Landscape ecology in Asian cultures, Tokyo: Springer Japan, 83–97.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 169

20/04/2020 14:23

170  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Ichikawa, K. (ed.) (2012), Socio-ecological production landscapes in Asia. Yokohama: UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 at quality.pdf. Ichikawa, K., R. Blasiak and A. Takatsuki (2012), ‘Revitalizing socio-ecological production landscapes through greening the economy’, in J.A. Puppim de Oliveira (ed.) Green economy and good governance for sustainable development: Opportunities, promises and concerns, Tokyo: UNU Press, 117–135. IGES (2016), The Satoyama Development Mechanism (SDM) 2015, Kanagawa, Japan: IGES. Accessed 29 January 2017 at web_0704.pdf. IPSI (2014a),  IPSI Charter. Accessed 29 January 2017 at IPSI-Charter-endorsed.pdf. IPSI (2014b), IPSI Operational Guidelines. Accessed 29 January 2017 at IPSI Secretariat (2012), IPSI Strategy. Accessed 29 January 2017 at uploads/2014/01/IPSI-Strategy.pdf. IPSI Secretariat (2014), IPSI Plan of Action 2013–2018, Yokohama, Japan: UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 at IPSI Secretariat (2015), IPSI Handbook: The International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) Charter, Operational Guidelines, Strategy, Plan of Action 2013–2018. Tokyo: United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability. Jumbe, C., S. Bwalya and M. Husselman (2011), ‘Contribution of dry forests to rural livelihoods and the national economy in Zambia’, Technical Annex to P. Dewees, B. Campbell, Y. Katerere, A. Sitoe, A.B. Cunningham, A. Angelsen and S. Wunder (eds), Managing the Miombo Woodlands of Southern Africa: Policies, incentives, and options for the rural poor, Washington DC: Program on Forests (PROFOR), 56–78. Koohafkan, P. and M. Dela Cruz (2011), ‘Conservation and adaptive management of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)’, Journal of Resources and Ecology 2(1), 22–28. Lopez-Casero, F., K. Ichikawa, W. Dunbar, Y. Takahashi, I. Matsumoto and Y. Amano (2016), ‘From collective learning to action. Integrated landscape approaches for sustainable development and climate change resilience’, IGES Knowledge–Action Linkage Issue Brief Series, IGES. Accessed 29 January 2017 at https:// Matsushima, N. and Y. Tojo (2010), ‘Use and management of “Muyong” in Ifugao Province, Northern Luzon Island in the Philippines’. Accessed 29 January 2017 at​-province-northern-luzon-island/. Moreno, G. and F.J. Pulido (2009), ‘The functioning, management and persistence of Dehesas’, in A. RigueiroRodríguez, J. McAdam and M.R. Mosquera-Losada (eds), Agroforestry in Europe, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 127–160. Parque de la Papa (n.d.), We are five, but now we are one. Accessed 29 January 2017 at http://www.parquedela​ Satoyama Initiative (2010), Paris Declaration on the Satoyama Initiative. Accessed 29 January 2017 at http:// Sayer, J., T. Sunderland, J. Ghazoul, J. Pfund, D. Sheil, E. Meijaard, M. Venter, A.K. Boedhihartono, M. Day, C. Garcia, C. van Oosten and L.E. Buck (2013), ‘Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses’, PNAS, 110(21), 8349–8356. Takeuchi, K. (1988), ‘“Chitemene” a type of shifting cultivation in Zambia’, Tropical Forestry, 13, 2–7 (in Japanese). Takeuchi, K. (2010), ‘Rebuilding the relationship between people and nature: The Satoyama Initiative’, Ecological Research, 25(5), 891–897. Takeuchi, K., K. Ichikawa and T. Elmqvist (2016), ‘Satoyama landscape as social-ecological system: Historical changes and future perspective’, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 19, 30–39. UNDP (2014), Communities in action for landscape resilience and sustainability—the COMDEKS Programme, New York: UNDP. Accessed 29 January 2017 at​ nities-in-action-comdeks-web-v2.pdf. UNDP (2016), A community-based approach to resilient and sustainable landscapes: Lessons from phase II of the COMDEKS Programme, New York: UNDP. Accessed 29 January 2017 at https://comdeksproject.files. UNEP (2011), Towards a green economy, pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme. Accessed 29 January 2017 at sites/ UNU-IAS, Bioversity International, IGES and UNDP (2014), Toolkit for the indicators of resilience in socioecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 at http://i.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 170

20/04/2020 14:23

The Satoyama Initiative for landscape/seascape sustainability  171 UNU-IAS and IGES (2015a), Generating collective knowledge on the conservation, management and sustainable use of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes—A summary of a review of 80 case studies under the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), Tokyo: UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 at UNU-IAS and IGES (eds) (2015b), Enhancing knowledge for better management of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) (Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review vol.1), Tokyo: UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 at UNU-IAS and IGES (eds) (2016), Mainstreaming concepts and approaches of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes into policy and decision-making (Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review vol. 2), Tokyo: UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 at SITR-vol2-web-version.pdf. UNU-IAS and IR3S/UTIAS (2016), Socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) in Africa. Tokyo: UNU-IAS. Accessed 29 January 2017 SEPLS-in-Africa_FINAL_lowres_web.pdf.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 171

20/04/2020 14:23

11.  A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies Ricardo Rozzi

INTRODUCTION The global ecological footprint of humanity has exceeded the Earth’s annual biocapacity by 150 percent since 2007 (Hoekstra & Wiedmann, 2014). It is not the whole of the human race, however, that is equally responsible for “humanity’s unsustainable environmental footprint” (Ogden et al. 2015). Consequently, we need to better distinguish specific human groups or individuals who have negative, or favorable, environmental impacts (Rozzi 2015a). To improve an unsustainable environmental footprint it is indispensable to better assess the carrying capacity of heterogeneous habitats, contrasting life habits that influence environmental impacts, and human inhabitants that are most responsible for these impacts.1 In order to undertake this task, and to foster planetary sustainability in the midst of the vortex of socio-environmental changes in our twenty-first century we urgently need to forge more informed and respectful forms of dialogue between different socio-cultural groups, and between local and global discourses. To foster intercultural dialogues that incorporate both the biophysical and the cultural heterogeneity of the planet, we offer the perspective of the biocultural ethic. Its central concept relies on the vital links between (i) the well-being and identity of the co-inhabitants (humans and other-than-humans);2 (ii) their life habits; and (iii) the habitats where they take place (Rozzi 2012a). This formal proposal of the “3Hs” (co-inhabitants, habits and 1   Carrying capacity was originally used to determine the number of animals that could graze on a segment of land without destroying it. With a broader approach, later biologists defined the concept as the maximum population of a given species that can survive indefinitely in a given environment. In the 1960s, carrying capacity was applied to human populations using the IPAT equation (Daily & Ehrlich 1992). This equation estimates the multiplicative contributions of human population (P), affluence (A, which is associated with the level of consumption by that population) and technology (T, which refers to the processes used to obtain resources and transform them into useful goods and wastes) to environmental impact (I, expressed in terms of resource depletion or waste accumulation). This approach has several limitations (Zimmerer 1994), and recently the concepts of environmental footprints, and planetary boundaries have gained more attention (Fang et al. 2015). However, the IPAT equation has been useful to clarify that carrying capacity for humans is a function not only of population size, but also of differing levels of consumption, which in turn are affected by the technologies involved in production and consumption. The carrying capacity approach and the IPAT equation have been also useful to assist in thinking about ways of reducing environmental impacts by cutting down various types of throughput. For these reasons, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has applied the IPAT equation to assess the contribution of different factors to greenhouse gas emissions. However, until now there is a poor understanding about the complex links among biophysical, cultural, social, and technological dimensions in different cultures that inhabit heterogeneous regions of the world. I hope this chapter draws attention to this point. 2   The expression “other-than-humans” avoids the dichotomy derived from the more usual expression: “nonhumans.” It overcomes this dichotomy for two reasons. First, it alludes to the set of biotic and abiotic beings that form different levels of organization and interactions in the ecosystems they co-inhabit. Second, the expression “other-than-humans” allows us to understand that these beings inhabit not only biophysical nature but also the images, symbols and values of our cultures. Therefore, they are co-inhabitants in our biocultural communities, which encompass biophysical and linguistic domains of reality, and wakeful and oniric phases of our lives.


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 172

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  173 habitats) offers a conceptual framework to analyze, from a biocultural viewpoint, the worldviews of cultures from different geographic regions, historical periods and/or socioenvironmental contexts, and provides a methodological approach to undertake three tasks that contribute to favoring sustainable geographies. The first task is to examine and understand the manner, and extent to which the links between co-inhabitants, their habits and habitats are vital to local communities inhabiting contrasting remote, rural, and urban regions. Based on this eco-systemic, contextual, and co-evolutionary understanding, the second task is to set priorities, policies, and actions to conserve critical habitats and biocultural diversity in the heterogeneous regions of the planet. The biocultural ethic demands then a third task of fostering an intercultural and inter-species solidarity and a socio-environmental justice. Conservation of the habitats and access to them is a matter of justice, because it is the condition of possibility for the continuity of life habits linked to the well-being and identity of the co-inhabitants (Rozzi 2013, 2015a, 2015b).3 To present the 3Hs conceptual framework, I begin with a concise characterization of the concept of biocultural diversity.

BIOCULTURAL DIVERSITY: LANDSCAPES, ECOSYSTEMS AND LANGUAGES Human language, culture and the environment have been molded co-constitutively throughout the evolutionary histories of our species, Homo sapiens. Recent studies have demonstrated positive correlations between biological diversity and linguistic diversity derived from coevolution processes of human groups with their local ecosystems (Maffi 2001, Loh & Harmon 2005). Throughout history human beings have interacted with their environment, modifying it and developing specialized knowledge about it. In order to convey ecological knowledge and practices, humans have also developed specialized ways of talking about the environment (Fill & Mühlhäusler 2006). These eco-linguistic relationships have developed over thousands, hundreds, or sometimes even tens of years (Steffensen & Fill 2014, Toyoda 2018). The continued use of these local, co-evolved languages promotes, in turn, the continuity of local ecological knowledge and practices. The relationships between cultures, their local languages and their socio-ecological environments are particularly evident in local communities that maintain close material and spiritual ties with their regional ecosystems and biodiversity (Maffi 2001). Under the conceptual framework of the biocultural ethic, I highlight that biological and cultural diversity are inevitably interwoven in all cultures for at least two reasons (Rozzi 2001): 1.  Homo sapiens, like other biological species, is a component of ecosystems and biodiversity; as a consequence of the participation of humans in the structure and processes of the ecosystems, biocultural landscapes are generated. 3   The term co-inhabitant refers to sharing the habitat in a way analogous to the way in which the word companion alludes to sharing life and bread (from Latin, cum 5 with; panis 5 bread). The understanding that we are part of multiple-species communities of life and ecosystems is implicit in the term human, which comes from the Latin humus (5 earth). The term person comes from the Latin persona, which means a mask used by an actor. The concept of co-inhabitant springs from multiple cultural roots and, in the framework of the biocultural ethic, it reminds us that humans are not the only important actors on the planet.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 173

20/04/2020 14:23

174  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability 2. Human perceptions and understanding of biodiversity are influenced by biophysical attributes of ecosystems as much as by cultural attributes of language; as a consequence of the dialectical relation between the biophysical and cultural dimensions of both habitats and life habits, biocultural languages are generated. Biocultural Landscapes Ecological and evolutionary sciences have helped us to understand that Homo sapiens is an animal species that, like other biological species, participates in the structure, processes and composition of ecosystems (McDonnell and Pickett, 1994). We humans are part of biodiversity. With our diverse cultures we generate networks of biocultural relationships that diversify (and are diversified by) the heterogeneity of ecosystems and landscapes where they unfold. In fact, novel biocultural approaches in anthropological and ecological research have helped to disclose that many landscapes previously represented as pure (or “pristine”) expressions of nature are in fact cultural landscapes (Denevan 1992). As human populations are components of biodiversity they co-constitute landscapes, which could be better understood as biocultural landscapes (Rozzi 2001, 2012a), since they are generated and modified by communities of co-inhabitants of humans and multiple biological species embedded in their ecosystems. Biocultural landscapes encompass a wide variety of ecoregions and historical epochs. In this chapter we will focus on South America where a great diversity of biocultural landscapes is found in both the high and lowlands. In the highlands of the Andes, sacred sites and Inca trails still represent major trade routes. They have been used over the past 10,000 years. Today these trails feature visible traces of pre-Columbian hunter–gatherer communities, the Inca Empire (fifteenth to sixteenth centuries), battles with the Spaniard conquistadors (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), and are still currently used by Aymara, Quechua and Mestizo peasant communities (Moore 2005, Sarmiento 2000, 2002, 2015). In the lowlands, in vast areas of Amazonian tropical forests, scientists began to distinguish patterns of vegetation from the 1970s that were the result of extensive tree plantations of fruit trees and nuts (Barlow et al. 2012). A notable example corresponds to the forest islands, or apêté habitat of the Kayapó people. Rooted in their ecological worldview, the Kayapó people practice itinerant horticulture in the savannas bordering the Amazonian southeastern forests. With these practices they achieve a high productivity of fruits, seeds and tubers, and high numbers of monkeys and other animals that are attracted to these habitats. The temporal sequence in the sowing of a variety of crops closely mimics the sequence of the ecological succession of the plants and other organisms that co-inhabit with the Kayapó (Posey 1983). The resulting biocultural landscape with the apêté habitat brings well-being to both human and otherthan-human co-inhabitants. The concept of co-inhabitant of the biocultural ethic finds an exemplary convergence with the Kayapó concept of ômbiqwa-ô-toro: plants that are “good friends” or “good neighbors” with respect to each other. The Kayapó know that, when planted together, some combinations of plant species are more prosperous. Synergistic cultivation of plant species requires complex cultivation patterns, and is characterized in terms of “plant energy.” In this way, a “Kayapó garden” is created through careful consideration of the complex combinations of “plant energies.” Planting practices based on plant energies

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 174

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  175 can be compared to the ecological principles that today guide the “new agroforestry” of Western science (Posey 1985). The Kayapó now inhabit a reserve that includes a variety of tropical habitats, ranging from dense forests to vast grasslands, intertwined with varied waterscapes (Zanotti 2018). In these fluvial and terrestrial habitats, the creation of “forest islands” in the tropical savannas shows the extent to which the Kayapó can alter and manage ecosystems to increase biological diversity. This “ecological engineering” requires a detailed knowledge of soil fertility, microclimatic variations and species niches, as well as the interrelationships between species that are introduced into these human-created communities. Because numerous plants are cultivated to attract animals for hunting, the apêté can be considered as both agroforestry plots and hunting reserves (Posey 1985). The biocultural ethic underlines that the conservation of habitats, and their coinhabitants’ access to them, is a necessary condition for the well-being and identity of both the habitats and their inhabitants, and is sustained through the dynamic continuity of traditional habits of life. This emphasis is of major importance given that biocultural landscapes, such as that of the Kayapó, today, are the arena of tense conflicts with national and global development policies. In northern Brazil, the Amazon jungle that was once exuberant and impenetrable has lost large tracts of land destroyed by deforestation and overexploitation. However, aerial views of the Kayapó tribes’ territory still show well preserved habitats. The Kayapó have effectively protected their lands against illegal logging, ranching, and gold mining. Now, as expanding economic and political interests encroach upon their habitats, it is uncertain whether the Kayapó will be able to continue to protect their territory. Today, spokespersons of the Kayapó peoples (as well as other Amazonian peoples, parliamentarians, scientists and several organizations) have expressed fear that access to their protected territories will be granted to large multinational companies. For this reason they have organized conservation alliances with various organizations, and delivered signed petitions to the Brazilian Congress. The Brazilian government has announced that it is expected to expand its agrarian industry, promote mining, and construct several hydroelectric power stations, highways, waterways, ports and railways for industrial transportation.4 Like the Kayapó, numerous Amerindian peoples with ecological worldviews, ethical values, and practices that include the use of fire, forest management, planting, and transplants within and between ecological zones of the Amazon have created a mosaic of islands and forest corridors, which also attract animals. These discoveries in the world’s largest forest region have forced scientists to re-evaluate what had been mistakenly considered “natural” Amazonian landscapes and reinterpret them as “cultural forests” (Heckenberger et al., 2003), or as biocultural landscapes (Rozzi 2001), including large agricultural areas, open parks, hills built with clay, and forests (Mann 2005). Cultural landscapes have attracted increasing attention. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee has adopted and adapted this concept as part of an international effort to overcome “one 4   See the short documentary on the controversial project to build the “Belo Monte” hydroelectric power plant in the Amazon jungle, narrated by Brazilian actor Dira Paes and US actress Sigourney Weaver, created by Amazon Watch and International Rivers in support of the Xingu Movement Vivo Para Semper of Brazil: (accessed September 17, 2016).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 175

20/04/2020 14:23

176  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability of the most pervasive dualisms in Western thought: nature and culture” (in Pannell 2013, p. 53). It is important to note that this perspective has historical roots. Indeed, nature and culture have been integrated from the outset by conservation movements in Europe. For instance, the first protected area in Germany, established during the 1830s, was the Drachenfels, a hill with an ancient ruin of a castle that stands on the banks of the Rhine south of Bonn. The reason for protecting it as a natural monument (Naturdenkmal) was the danger of complete destruction of the castle, and of the mountainside pointing towards the Rhine, due to a quarry that had already caused part of the old ruin to collapse. Later, the area was extended greatly to include the surrounding hills in the nature protection area (Naturschutzgebiet) in Siebengebirge. Both the hills of the Siebengebirge and the ruin of Drachenfels had, however, a high symbolic value in the context of romanticism and the search for national identity in Germany, which at that time was divided into many small, more or less independent states (Jax & Rozzi 2004). The Drachenfels Naturdenkmal shows how in Germany the conservation movement began not as a movement to protect “wild” landscapes, but as Heimatschutz (Dominick 1992, Knaut 1993); i.e., the protection (Schutz) of biocultural landscapes that formed the homeland (Heimat). This was essentially the protection of landscapes shaped by centuries of cultural practices and a variety of economic and political uses (Jax & Rozzi 2004). Previous examples from South America and Europe illustrate how the concept of biocultural landscape (where humans modify and are modified by the habitats they co-inhabit) can be applied to a wide range of ecosystems subject to different degrees of anthropic influence. This gradient extends from remote areas with low direct impact to large, fast growing cities in the world. Urban ecosystems are particularly relevant today, since, as of 2007, more than 50 percent of the world’s population began to live in cities (see Rozzi 2015b). In response to this demographic change, the 2008 Erfurt Declaration made a call to apply the Convention on Biological Diversity specifically to urban environments, considering urbanization as one of the main drivers of loss of biological and cultural diversity (Müller & Werner 2010). Although cities cover only 2 percent of the world’s surface, they account for more than 75 percent of the world’s resources (Poole 2015). It is therefore essential to examine biocultural relations in urban habitats of the twenty-first century. The composition of innovative life habits that are environmentally and economically sustainable, at the same time as being ethically virtuous in their relationships with cohabitants, can be dynamic and have rapid responses in urban habitats. In Japan, for example, some recent urban initiatives have successfully focused on the restoration of estuaries. In cities of Sado Island, the restoration of estuarine habitat has, in turn, enabled the restoration of life habits associated with oyster fishing and education, which have catalyzed the return of diverse co-inhabitants, including diverse forms of human cultures (e.g., fishers and other citizens of Sado Island) and biological species (e.g., oysters, wetland plants) (Toyoda 2018). To achieve estuarine restoration it has been crucial to invite people in a variety of positions, such as fishers, farmers, government officials, schoolteachers, and even children, to participate and share their ideas (Takada et al. 2012). Another interesting example associated with urban estuarine habitats is found in Chesapeake Bay in the United States of America, where oyster fishers have resisted privatization of the commons, while adopting an alternative strategy more in keeping with their life habits and cultural values. In the Chesapeake Bay initiative creating trust among different citizens, including fishers and scientists has been difficult, however (Kingsland 2015).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 176

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  177 In summary, biocultural ethics considers that the integrated preservation of biological and cultural diversity is an essential aspect in urban and rural and remote habitats (Rozzi 2013). This endeavor involves two laborious challenges: (i) intercultural understanding and joint work among members of the communities; and (ii) an openness towards ethics that depart from the philosophical traditions that have separated humans from other animals, in order to understand what connects humans, the environment, and the species that co-inhabit the environment. With this understanding we can appreciate how the conservation of biocultural landscapes is embedded within the broader goal of conserving and innovating cultural traditions and languages to work towards sustainable practices in heterogeneous geographies. Biocultural Languages Humans participate in the biophysical structure and processes of ecosystems, as well as in the symbolic, cultural and linguistic dimensions that shape biocultural landscapes. Human perceptions and understanding of biological diversity are embedded in language, culture and technology. The compound term biocultural makes explicit the role of the “cultural lenses” of any human “observer” (including scientists with their research methods and conceptual taxonomies) in the configuration of the construction and interpretation of biodiversity concepts. In turn, the ways in which humans perceive and understand biodiversity and its environment influence how humans inhabit ecosystems and modify the structure, processes, and composition of living things, from molecular to global scales. To illustrate the biocultural character of language we can compare two contrasting languages, Amazonian Waorani and English, regarding the way they refer to forest ecosystems. The indigenous Waorani word ömö defines forests as worlds inhabited by countless sentient beings, who share with humans the same home, dispositions, values, and culture (Rival 2012). This human–forest kinship implicated in the word ömö encourages the performance of rituals, and today it encourages the Waorani to protect their forests and oppose the extraction of oil in their Amazonian habitats (Sawyer 2004, Finer et al. 2009, Rozzi 2015a). In contrast, the English term “woodland” implies that forest ecosystems are a “land of the resource wood.” The focus on wood may lead to further narrowing the conceptual and value framework to understand and co-inhabit forest ecosystems. First, the word “woodland” excludes from language many non-woody beings co-inhabiting the forests whose existence remains invisible in the linguistic and cultural imaginaries. Then, trees may be interpreted as mere resources, not as living subjects; therefore they may be used without restriction as building materials, fuel, a source of biochemical products or for other uses (Rozzi & Poole, 2011). These contrasting definitions of forest ecosystems illustrate how concepts embedded in language influence both the material cultural heritage and the intangible cultural heritage, involving: 1. diverse ecological practices, through which humans transform other species and the environment; and 2. diverse forms of ecological knowledge, through which humans perceive other species and their environment (Rozzi 2001).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 177

20/04/2020 14:23

178  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability By fostering an understanding of the multiple representations and classifications of biological diversity in various languages, this biocultural method can help to constitute a new—global, but regionally heterogeneous—covenant to sustain the human-Earth-system (sensu Chapin et al., 2009). In order to construct this new covenant based on a genuine human-Earth-system, where both terms of the binomial are considered as subjects with value and rights, it is necessary to overcome the “reification of nature” established by modernity. This reification has led to a land degradation, which has been facilitated by the assumption of reification of nature as a source of “natural resources” or raw material, as Lynn White (1967) has already criticized in his foundational article “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” To overcome the reification of the Earth and to understand that human beings are not the only relevant inhabitants on the planet, it is key to (i) build and reconstruct the language; (ii) protect the habitats where different languages and cultures unfold; and (iii) learn from the ecologies of others (sensu Descola 2013). A biocultural understanding allows us to recognize that the Earth and its biocultural landscapes possess a multiplicity of existential meanings that have an essential value for the life of human and other-than-human cohabitants. In summary, it is essential to overcome the anthropocentrism that prevails in the narratives of modern history, centered only on human events and interests. To overcome this anthropocentrism, we need to relearn languages and practices of composing and telling stories where multispecies and beings co-inhabit. Words and stories like ömö and the Waorani forest worldview make visible the diversity of beings with whom we co-inhabit. In this way, these stories invite us to cultivate habits of biocultural co-inhabitation. To achieve this biocultural co-inhabitation, however, it is necessary to undertake the double task of conserving the habitats and defending the rights that societies (Bernis 2005), and the co-inhabitants of multiple species (Rozzi 2015a) have to their biocultural landscapes.

LOSSES OF BIOCULTURAL DIVERSITY The defense of the rights to manage biocultural landscapes in traditional ways and to continue speaking and teaching local languages is urgently required to address the intense losses of biocultural diversity that affect even the most remote regions of the planet today. Biodiversity loss is a relatively well-known phenomenon. During the twenty-first century, 20 percent of the world’s existing biological species may cease to exist, and up to 43 percent of the species with high habitat specificity might become extinct (Malcolm et al. 2006, Pereira et al. 2010). Less known, though attracting increasing attention, are the rapid and extensive losses of languages and cultures. There are an estimated 6912 languages spoken in the world today (Lewis 2009). However, more than half of these languages are spoken by very small communities of less than 1000 or 10,000 fluent speakers. On the other hand, the top ten languages (Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Bengali, Portuguese, German, and French) comprise more than half of the world’s population. This rapidly growing concentration of the world population in a few languages is taking place at the expense of the diversity of human languages that have co-evolved in specific ecological and cultural environments. This global “language shift” (Harmon 2002) is promoted by growing assimilation pressures that entail collective abandonment of native languages. Today, many threatened

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 178

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  179 languages belong to small language families, and are spoken by less than 100 people. For instance, the Fuegian language family in southern South America includes four languages, two already extinct (Selknam and Haush), and two nearly extinct spoken by less than ten persons (Yahgan and Kaweshkar) (Rozzi et al. 2010). Worldwide more than 10 percent of the living languages are “nearly extinct,” almost 30 percent are highly threatened (less than 10,000 speakers), and up to 90 percent may vanish during the course of this century (Krauss 1992, Maffi 2005). To protect biocultural diversity and defend the rights of indigenous people and multiple species to inhabit their biocultural landscapes, in the twenty-first century we need to better address three challenging facts: 1. More than 70 percent of the 6912 languages in the world are indigenous; hence, indigenous peoples constitute most of contemporary cultural diversity (WGIP 2001). 2. Indigenous people represent a minority; considering the world’s 5000 ethnic groups, they comprise an estimated population of 300 to 350 million, i.e. less than 6 percent of the total world population (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) 2009). 3. Areas of highest biological diversity on the planet (over a wide biogeographical range from the Polar regions to the deserts, from coastal areas to high altitude zones, from savannas to tropical and temperate rainforests) are inhabited by indigenous people. More than two thirds of the world’s languages are found in the set of 238 ecoregions that were identified by the World Wildlife Fund as having the highest priority for current biological conservation efforts (Oviedo et al. 2000). These three interrelated facts make evident the current fragility of biocultural diversity. In 1988, foreseeing this scenario, the International Society of Ethnobiology was created. Under the lead of Darrell Posey, during its First International Congress of Ethnobiology in Belém (Brazil) this society prepared the Declaration of Belém to call public attention towards the need to better understand and conserve the “inextricable links” between biological and cultural diversity. Four years later, during another landmark international conference held in Brazil, the Earth Summit, these inextricable biocultural links were widely recognized by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The terms traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and indigenous knowledge (IK) were first used in 1979 and 1980 (Maffi 2001). However, it was only under the influence of the Earth Summit that these terms began to be widely used. Rio 1992 generated global awareness about the complementary nature of biodiversity and the IK of it. The CBD, Agenda 21 and the Global Biodiversity Strategy included as a principle that “cultural diversity is closely linked to biodiversity. Humanity’s collective knowledge of biodiversity and its use and management rests in cultural diversity; conversely conserving biodiversity often helps strengthen cultural integrity and values” (WRI et al. 1992). In turn, the US National Research Council stated in 1992 that development agencies should place greater emphasis on, and assume a stronger role in, systematizing the local knowledge held by IK, gray literature, and anecdotal information. It also underlined that “a vast heritage about species, ecosystems, and their use exists, but it does not appear in the world literature.” Consequently, it mandated that: “If indigenous knowledge has not been documented and compiled, doing so should be a research priority of the highest order. Indigenous knowledge is being lost at an unprecedented rate, and its preservation,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 179

20/04/2020 14:23

180  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability preferably in data base form, must take place as quickly as possible” (National Research Council 1992). Recording of TEK and IK is necessary, but not sufficient. It is also vital to protect the habitats where TEK and IK are cultivated. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has stressed that “biodiversity also incorporates human cultural diversity, which can be affected by the same factors as biodiversity, and impacts on the diversity of genes, other species and ecosystems” (UNEP 2007). The understanding about the interconnectedness between life habits and habitats is widespread among vernacular worldviews, and is also justified by ecological and evolutionary sciences (Prance & Kallunki, 1984, Harmon 1992, 2002, Wilcox & Duin 1995, Callicott 1994, Posey 1999, Rozzi 2001, Brown et al., 2005). But this comprehension is only incorporated incipiently in most academic circles and by decision-makers (Maffi 2001). By interrelating habitats, habits and co-inhabitants, the 3Hs framework of the biocultural ethic aims to help to better integrate biological, linguistic, and cultural diversity into conservation policies and practices that enhance our ability to: 1. preserve biocultural diversity; 2. identify responsible agents and victims of loss of biocultural diversity that disrupt environmental, economic and socio-ecological sustainability; and 3. raise questions about the socio-ecological contexts of sustainable geographies; i.e., sustainable geographies for whom, where, how? The Biocultural Ethic The “3Hs” formal framework of the biocultural ethic captures the seriousness of the problem of displacements of local communities whose life habits and well-being are dependent on the conservation and access to their habitats. To contribute to transforming the global prevailing development and economic paradigm, the “3Hs” perspective focuses on traditions of environmental thinking, worldviews and ecological practices forged in different continents. This biocultural optics has a double relevance because it enables us: 1. to better know and value a multiplicity of cultures that promote harmonious relationships between human communities and the natural world where they live; and 2. to de-construct the neoliberal discourse that has been progressively and monolithically installed in the media, formal education, and political decision-making since the mid-twentieth century, promoting an unsustainable culture that threatens the life of most human and other-than-human beings. Each ecological worldview is valuable in itself. At the same time, it provides a point of reference to rethink what it means to be integrally human. In the context of contemporary cosmopolitan society, this reflection urges an ethical sense of multicultural solidarity for all humanity.5 A comprehension of the diversity of ecological worldviews helps to better value the ethical multi-potentiality of the human species to co-inhabit with diverse cultures 5   As Uruguay’s former President José Mujica has said, “we must understand that the world’s indigents are not from Africa or Latin America, they are from all of humanity.” Address to the 68th General Assembly of the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 180

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  181 and species in biophysically and socio-politically heterogeneous regions. This comprehension provides a foundation for a sense of justice among different human cultures and among different biological species. Considering both the cultural and formal foundations of justice,6 it is fundamental to forge ontological, ecosocial and ethical foundations to transform core notions of global governance that prevail today, and achieve the sense of intercultural and inter-species justice demanded by the biocultural ethic. Ontological foundations and legal frameworks We can identify ontological foundations in ecological worldviews that broaden the horizon of ways of conceiving ecosystems, biological species and individuals with which humans co-inhabit. In the highlands of the Andes, for example, potatoes and llamas are not merely natural resources for the Aymara and Quechua cultures. Potatoes and llamas are co-inhabitants who participate in rituals, and agricultural and livestock practices in the daily life of communities.7 It is essential to examine land ownership regimes, forms of governance and the socioeconomic problem in the broad sense for the analysis of worldviews not to be limited to a purely theoretical exercise. The first task that I undertake from my perspective of biocultural ethics is to extract ontological foundations from ecological worldviews that support the concept of co-inhabitants. Then, it is necessary to link these foundations with new dimensions of ecological law and rights. These rights may include each of the co-inhabitants and nature as a whole. Co-inhabitants are conceived as living subjects. In contrast, the prevailing economic paradigm conceives plants, animals, and nature as mere “natural resources” or passive objects to be studied and exploited. A significant case to advance the concept of co-inhabitant is the Constitution of Ecuador established in 2008. This Constitution has innovated by incorporating the normative determination of nature as a subject with rights, and has been the first in the world to assign this legal category to nature. The legal dogmatism of positive law has been based on paradigms that serve the unlimited exploitation of the Earth. If we change the paradigm to conceive it as Mother Earth, Pacha Mama or Gaia, then law must foster a communal sense of reciprocity, complementarity, and relationality. This worldview is expressed in Article 71 of the Constitution of Ecuador: Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes. (República del Ecuador 2008)

To promote governance and actions consistent with this worldview, Article 414 states that: United Nations at its New York headquarters, USA: (accessed August 19, 2016). 6   Justice has a cultural foundation based on a social consensus about the concepts of the good and the bad, and the just, and about social virtues that demand action in accordance with that concept and the associated practical aspects that define how relationships between people are rightly organized. Justice also has a formal foundation, codified in written provisions, such as the constitution of the nation states that we will discuss below (e.g., Ecuador and Bolivia), which define a set of rules applied by impartial judges to assess the relationships and the conflicts among individual members and institutions of society. 7   Co-inhabitation with multiple species requires not only rational or verbal interactions, but also corporeality, affection and sharing everyday life (see May 2015, Mamani-Bernabé 2015).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 181

20/04/2020 14:23

182  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The State will adopt adequate and cross-cutting measures for the mitigation of climate change, by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and air pollution; it will take measures for the conservation of the forests and vegetation; and it shall protect the population at risk.

The Constitution introduces these articles within a socio-environmental context, with Article 14: The right of the population to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment that guarantees sustainability and the good way of living, Sumak Kawsay, is recognized.

In the Quechua language, Sumak Kawsay means harmonious life among humans and between humans and the Earth. The new Ecuadorian Constitution represents a contribution that illustrates how changes in the ontological foundations can (and should) be associated with changes in the normative contents, associated to reforms in the governance, the economy, the ethics and the legislation. As we will discuss in the next section, recently other South American countries, such as the Plurinational State of Bolivia, have introduced normative concepts and incorporated the rights of nature into their constitutions (see Zaffaroni 2011). Ecosocial foundations and governance We can identify ecosocial foundations in cultures whose social orders are intimately interrelated with their interpretations of ecological orders. Traditional Hawaiian culture offers a systemic approach that implies a concept of kinship with all living beings, which is associated with a concept of good life. The Hawaiian cosmogony links a sense of evolutionary kinship among all beings—plants, animals, Earth, humans—with the concept pono (Callicott 1994). Pono indicates a harmony that is reached through social and ecological practices of care and land management that provide well-being and health (Vitousek & Beamer 2015). The intimate coupling between ecological and social orders supports, and is sustained by, habits of life that are consistent with the Hawaiian concept that humans are not landowners, but rather administrators or caretakers of the land, or habitat. The concept of pono requires establishing relationships of reciprocity between humans and the land. Reciprocity is based on ecological concepts of the amount of energy that can be withdrawn from ecosystems, and on social concepts of governance that indicate the amount of energy that must be returned to ecosystems. Reciprocity is implemented through practices of care of the land, and supervision of the social structures destined for the common welfare. To put into practice ecosocial foundations we can interrelate ancestral biocultural systems with new proposals for an intercultural democracy. These proposals incorporate multiple democratic forms. Novel examples are represented by the libertarian municipalism and the School of the Commons (“Escuela de los Commons”) in Catalonia (Calle Collado 2015, 2016), the “demo-diversity” conceived by the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2010), or new types of multinational states, such as the one established by the Constitution of Bolivia in 2009. In the Political Constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia the concept of “living well” or suma qamaña was introduced in 2009. With a concise preamble that evokes the Aymara cosmogony, and the current political transformations, the Constitution starts by affirming that:

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 182

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  183 In ancient times mountains arose, rivers moved, and lakes were formed. Our Amazonia, our swamps, our highlands, and our plains and valleys were covered with greenery and flowers. We populated this sacred Mother Earth with different faces, and since that time we have understood the plurality that exists in all things and in our diversity as human beings and cultures. Thus, our peoples were formed, and we never knew racism until we were subjected to it during the terrible times of colonialism . . .   We have left the colonial, republican and neo-liberal State in the past. We take on the historic challenge of collectively constructing a Unified Social State of Pluri-National Communitarian law, which includes and articulates the goal of advancing toward a democratic, productive, peace-loving and peaceful Bolivia, committed to the full development and free determination of the peoples . . .   We found Bolivia anew, fulfilling the mandate of our people, with the strength of our   Pachamama and with gratefulness to God . . .

The concept of Suma Qamaña is then included among the great ethical principles in Article 8: I. The State adopts and promotes the following as ethical, moral principles of the plural society: ama qhilla, ama llulla, ama suwa (do not be lazy, do not be a liar or a thief), suma qamaña (living well), ñandereko (live harmoniously), teko kavi (good life), ivi maraei (land without evil) and qhapaj ñan (noble path or life). II. The State is based on the values of unity, equality, inclusion, dignity, liberty, solidarity, reciprocity, respect, interdependence, harmony, transparency, equilibrium, equality of opportunity, social and gender equality in participation, common welfare, responsibility, social justice, distribution and redistribution of the social wealth and assets for wellbeing.

Previous constitutions of Bolivia aimed at the “integration” of the indigenous people. In contrast to a forced integration or assimilation, the current Bolivian Constitution takes the indigenous worldviews to discuss the principles, values and goals of the State. The expression suma qamaña is presented contextualized with a set of ecological and social values. To understand the meaning of suma qamaña, the concept needs to be analyzed in its original Aymara language and culture. Xavier Albó (2018) explains that qamaña means to inhabit, to live in a specific place or environment, to dwell, and qamasiña means to live with someone. Albó (2018) adds that qamaña also is the name that is given to a sheltered place, protected against the wind, constructed in a semicircle of stones, as a resting place for shepherds while they relax or attend their flocks. Qamaña, then, converges with two core concepts of the biocultural ethic: habitat and co-inhabitation. Co-inhabitation considers not only human beings, but also non-human co-inhabitants, including plants, animals, and the Earth. Suma means beautiful, agreeable, good, friendly, and also precious, excellent, finished, and perfect; hence, it has the sense of “fullness” (Albó 2018). This concept is particularly relevant because suma qamaña, living well together, departs from two core prevailing capitalist concepts: individual quality of life and rights, and living better. The first capitalist concept is criticized because it focuses on living as individuals rather than living in a community. Living together is fundamental for growing in humanness in synchronization with Mother Earth. The second capitalist concept, living better, is criticized because Aymara people do not feel it necessary to aim for better, precisely because suma already includes the best possible level of life (Albó 2018). In addition, the concept of living better is embedded in a never-ending development paradigm, and denies the existence limits to

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 183

20/04/2020 14:23

184  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability growth (Chakravorty 2016). Finally, to live better than others will require exploitation, embarking upon serious competition, concentrating wealth in a few (Rozzi 2015b). The concept of suma qamaña offers ecosocial foundations that broaden the concepts of “living better” and “quality of life.” It emphasizes the importance of harmonious relations between nature and human beings. Its translation into public policy and the adoption of a development model is highly relevant at this historical moment because suma qamaña provides an important link to sustainability, a link that current concepts of quality of life fail to make. Ethical foundations and education We can forge ethical foundations rooted in comparative philosophy, ecological sciences, anthropology, theology, history and ethnography to build a biocultural ethic. However, to cultivate a biocultural ethic it is also essential to conserve the habitats, and to foster life habits that will require a deep transformation of the prevailing formal education system. These transformations require a greater degree of participation of intellectuals, communities and social movements of the Global North and the Global South, the West and the East. This greater participation will help to remove the mantle of universal discourse. “Uni-versal” means “one verse.” Modernity has been erected on a universal knowledge. This knowledge has been institutionalized in higher education through its iconic institution: the “uni-versity.” The hegemonic vision of the sciences and the Eurocentric discourse taught in the universities involved a coloniality of knowledge (Mignolo 2003). Universal knowledge has invisibilized, hidden, and denigrated vernacular worldviews, their knowledge, language, practices, and ecological values. Modern globalization and its high education institutions have imposed a univocal sense of reality, which has been presented as epistemologically and technologically superior. This coloniality of knowledge has led to a biocultural homogenization (Rozzi 2013). Not only higher education, but also the formal education system at all levels represent one of the main causes of loss of linguistic and cultural diversity today. Worldwide, fewer than 500 languages are used and taught in formal education, leaving out more than 90 percent of the world’s languages (Maffi 2001). In addition, more than half of the 193 world states are officially monolingual. These educational policies are due not only to the dominance of colonial languages, such as English and Spanish, but also to internal political conflicts. For example, in Africa many states see minority languages as a threat to national unity. With 2092 languages, Africa is home to over 30 percent of the world’s linguistic diversity. According to Herman Batibo (2005), unless “unmarked bilingualism” (in which two or more languages of unequal social status are treated equally) is achieved in Africa’s formal education systems, minority languages speakers will continue to face the dilemma of either: 1. abandoning their native languages (and the eco-cultural knowledge that accompanies them) to gain access to wider society; or 2. conserving their languages but remaining marginalized from national affairs. The temporal rate and biogeographic scale of current global cultural homogenization is unprecedented. The spread of the dominant culture is proceeding by way of linguistic assimilation, as languages of stronger groups monopolize education, the media,

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 184

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  185 g­ overnment, and other avenues of public discourse. Still today, in Africa and South America, it is possible to detect how the use of local languages and forms of knowledge are restricted. Vernacular languages are often denigrated by labeling them as primitive, and even as superstitious and unfit for the present-day world (Rodney 1982, Mignolo 2000). Analysis about the ongoing linguistic elimination uncovers postcolonial patterns of biocultural homogenization (Rozzi 2013). With the aim of overcoming these patterns of linguistic discrimination, UNESCO and numerous non-governmental organizations signed the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights in Barcelona in 1996. This affirms that “all language communities have equal rights.” Its implementation requires halting the overriding effects of the global-uniform education system, and to foster instead the continuity of local languages and their educational practices. The assimilating educational system constitutes an ethical problem since it conceals the plurality of human natures. It is imperative to criticize this educational oppression. To make visible, understand, and value biological and cultural diversity we need a multiversitality; not a uni-versality. Multiversitality allows an appreciation of the wisdom included in vernacular worldviews, and stimulates intercultural dialogues. The revaluation of the cultures of peoples that have been invisibilized in each of the continents will disclose narratives that will nourish global society with concepts to co-inhabit sustainable geographies. An intercultural debate centered on co-inhabitation among multiple cultures and multiple biological species should help restoring an axiological order that places the value of life above the value of capital.

CONCLUDING REMARK: SUSTAINABLE GEOGRAPHIES IN THE ACTUAL WORLD A central task for the biocultural ethic will be to demonstrate that, in contrast to the monoculture of consumption established by the global hegemonic economic discourse, a wealth of biocultural worldviews and practices exist in each of the continents. To cease awareness of our ways of co-inhabiting with our co-inhabitants, the birds, the moon, the flowers, and the diversity of life forms represents an anomalous life habit for most ancestral and current cultures. The notion of kinship between humans and other animal species is as present in scientific evolutionary theory as it is in indigenous and Buddhist worldviews. These ecological worldviews are embodied in the everyday lives of communities, urban and rural, which are often organized to resist the impact of prevailing one-dimensional economic policies. Knowledge about the heterogeneity of habitats and life habits of their co-inhabitants contributes to overcoming current narrow economic perspectives centered on monetary indicators. This biocultural knowledge broadens the spectrum of values by reintegrating ecological, aesthetic, and ethical dimensions into the appreciation of life. Paraphrasing the motto of the World Social Forum “Another World is Possible”, I propose to affirm that “This Biocultural World is Actual” (Rozzi 2012b). I say “actual” in contrast to “possible” or potential, in an Aristotelian sense. The world that actually exists today encompasses a myriad of worldviews and sustainable ecological practices. Sustainable geographies are not only a potentiality or “possibility” for a future world. I say “this world” in contrast to “another world” because the actuality of sustainable

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 185

20/04/2020 14:23

186  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability geographies is rooted in this planet and its multiplicity of cultures; we do not have to look for a distant planet or future societies. By changing the motto of the World Social Forum, we can affirm that the world governed by a one-dimensional monetary orientation (which imposes a homogenizing and oppressive developmental model on biocultural heterogeneity) should be understood as an infectious “other world,” which threatens sustainable geographies. The biocultural ethic condemns this “other world,” which should be dissolved in order to allow the reemergence of the multiple actual, sustainable geographies that vitally resist with their plethora of biocultural worldviews and practices.8 In summary, sustainable geographies in this world are not only possibilities, but actualities. However, for the actualization of the manifold sustainable geographies it is essential to more precisely and severely sanction those agents who act guided by a self-absorbed economic interest threating the sustainability of life. In addition, it is urgent to more decisively defend those who favor the continuity of life in its diversity of biological and cultural expressions. The biocultural ethic considers that conservation of and access to habitats is the condition of possibility for the continuity of diverse, sustainable life habits of communities of co-inhabitants. This condition represents an ethical imperative that should be incorporated into government policies as a fundamental dimension of socioenvironmental justice. To implement this ethical imperative it is essential to reorient global society to foster a culture that achieves a better integration between (i) biological and cultural diversity; (ii) local and global scales; (iii) scientific disciplines and the humanities. This triple integration will contribute to more fully understanding and more effectively resolving the pressing socio-environmental problems we face today. In order to contribute to this triple integration, we offer the “3Hs conceptual lens” of the biocultural ethic to re-cognize and re-value the multiplicity of ecological worldviews, practices, and values that contribute to the sustainability of life through planetary histories and geographies.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author specially thanks the valuable comments provided by Francisca Massardo, and Kelli Moses. The research has been supported primarily by the Millennium Scientific Initiative (grant no. P05-002 ICM, Chile), and the Basal Financing Program of the Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (grant no. CONICYTAFB170008, Chile). This chapter is a contribution of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program ( coordinated by the University of North Texas in the US, the Universidad de Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Chile.

8   With a voice of resistance, unity and change, the Declaration of the IV Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala (2005) affirms that the resistance and historical struggle of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas in defense of their territories and cultural identity today extends to every corner of the continent. The Declaration culminates stating that: “Another America is Possible! Never Again an America without the Indigenous Peoples!”: (accessed March 17, 2016).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 186

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  187

REFERENCES Albó, X. 2018. Suma qamaña or living well together. A contribution to biocultural conservation. In From Biocultural Homogenization to Biocultural Conservation, R. Rozzi, R. H. May Jr., F. S. Chapin, F. Massardo, M. Gavin, I. Klaver, A. Pauchard, M. A. Núñez and D. Simberloff, eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 333–342. Barlow, J., Gardner, T. A., Lees, A. C., Parry, L. and Peres, C. A. 2012. How pristine are tropical forests? An ecological perspective on the pre-Columbian human footprint in Amazonia and implications for contemporary conservation. Biological Conservation 151: 45–49. Batibo, H. 2005. Language Decline And Death In Africa: Causes, Consequences and Challenges. Multilingual Matters Ltd: Clevedon, Somerset, UK. Bernis, M. 2005. Ecología humana. In La Antropología Biológica, E. Rebato et al., eds. Ediciones Verbo Divino: Estella, Navarra, Spain, pp. 45–62. Brown, J., Mitchell, N. and Beresford, M., eds. 2005. The Protected Landscape Approach: Linking Nature, Culture, and Community. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Calle Collado, A. 2015. Podemos y el auge municipalista. Sobre partidos-ciudadanía y vieja política. Empiria. Revista de metodología de ciencias sociales 32: 169–190. Calle Collado, A. 2016. Ciclos políticos y ciclos de movilización. Entre el 15M, Podemos y nuevos municipalismos. Historia Actual Online 40: 79–94. Callicott, J. B. 1994. Earth’s Insights: A Multicultural Survey of Ecological Ethics from the Mediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback. University of California Press: Berkeley, CA. Chakravorty, S. 2016. Andean Cosmovision and diplomacy for life. Strategic Analysis 40: 440–450. Chapin, F. S. III, Kofinas, G. P. and Folke, C., eds. 2009. Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World. Springer: New York. Constitución Política del Estado plurinacional de Bolivia. 2009. Bolivia.pdf (accessed 14 February 2020). Daily, G. C. and Ehrlich, P. R. 1992. Population, sustainability, and Earth’s carrying capacity. BioScience 42: 761–771. de Sousa Santos, B. 2010. Refundación del Estado en América Latina: perspectivas desde una epistemología del Sur. Plural editores: La Paz, Bolivia. Denevan, W. M. 1992. The Americas before and after 1492: Current geographical research. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82(3): 369–385. DESA. 2009. State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (Vol. 9). United Nations Publications: New York. Descola, P. 2013. The Ecology of Others. Prickly Paradigm Press: Chicago. Dominick, R. H. I. 1992. The Environmental Movement in Germany. Prophets and Pioneers 1871–1971. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, IN. Fang, K., Heijungs, R. and De Snoo, G. R. 2015. Understanding the complementary linkages between environmental footprints and planetary boundaries in a footprint–boundary environmental sustainability assessment framework. Ecological Economics 114: 218–226. Fill, A. and Mühlhäusler, P. eds. 2006. Ecolinguistics Reader: Language, Ecology and Environment. Continuum: New York. Finer, M., Vijay, V., Ponce, F., Jenkins, C. N. and Kahn, T. R. 2009. Ecuador’s Yasuni Biosphere Reserve: A brief modern history and conservation challenges. Environ Res Lett 4(3): 034005. Harmon, D. 1992. Losing species, losing languages: Connections between biological and linguistic diversity. Southwest Journal of Linguistics 15: 89–108. Harmon, D. 2002. In Light of our Differences: How Diversity in Nature and Culture Makes us Human. Smithsonian Institution: Washington, DC . Heckenberger, M. J. et al. 2003. Amazonia 1492: Pristine forest or cultural parkland? Science 301: 1710–1714. Hoekstra, A. and Wiedmann, T. 2014. Humanity’s unsustainable environmental footprint. Science 344: 1114–1117. Jax, K. and Rozzi, R. 2004. Ecological theory and values in the determination of conservation goals: Examples from temperate regions of Germany, USA and Chile. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 77: 349–366. Kingsland, S. E. 2015. Ecological science and practice: Dialogues across cultures and disciplines. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A.  Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 17–26. Knaut, A. 1993. Zurück zur Natur! Die Wurzeln der Ökologiebewegung. Jahrbuch für Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege (Supplement)1: 1–480. Krauss, M. 1992. The world’s languages in crisis. Language 68: 4–10. Lewis, P. M., ed. 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 16th edition. SIL International: Dallas, TX.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 187

20/04/2020 14:23

188  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Loh, J. and Harmon, D. 2005. A global index of biocultural diversity. Ecological Indicators 5: 231–241. Maffi, L., ed. 2001. On Biocultural Diversity. Linking Language, Knowledge, and the Environment. Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington, DC. Maffi, L. 2005. Linguistic, cultural, and biological diversity. Annual Review of Anthropology 34: 599–617. Malcolm, J. R., Liu, C., Neilson, R. P., Hansen, L. and Hannah, L. 2006. Global warming and extinctions of endemic species from biodiversity hotspots. Conservation Biology 20: 538–548. Mamani-Bernabé, V. 2015. Spirituality and the Pachamama in the Andean Aymara worldview. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer, Dordrecht: The Netherlands, pp. 65–76. Mann, C. 2005. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Knopf, New York. May, R. 2015. Andean Llamas and Earth Stewardship. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Springer: Dordrecht: The Netherlands, pp. 77–86. McDonnell, M. and Pickett, S. T. 1994. Human as Component of Ecosystems. Springer: New York. Mignolo W. 2000. Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. Mignolo, W. 2003. The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality and Colonization. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI. Moore, J. 2005. Cultural Landscapes in the Ancient Andes: Archaeologies of Place. University of Florida Press: Gainsville, FL. Müller, N. and Werner, P. 2010. Urban biodiversity and the case for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity in towns and cities. In Urban Biodiversity and Design, N. Müller, P. Werner and J. G. Kelcey Müller, eds. Blackwell Publishing Ltd: New York, pp. 3–33. National Research Council. 1992. Conserving Biodiversity: A Research Agenda for Development Agencies. National Academy Press: Washington, DC. Ogden, L. et al. 2015. The politics of Earth stewardship in the uneven Anthropocene. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 137–157. Oviedo, G., Maffi, L. and Laren, P. B. 2000. Indigenous and Traditional Peoples of the World and Ecoregion Conservation: An Integrated Approach to Conserving the World’s Biological and Cultural Diversity. Gland, Switzerland: WWF and Terralingua. Pannell, S. 2013. Nature and culture in a global context: A case study from World Heritage Listed Komodo National Park, eastern Indonesia. In Transcending the Culture–Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage: Views from the Asia–Pacific region, S. Brockwell, S. O’Connor and D. Byrne, eds., ANU Press: Australia, pp. 53–63. Pereira, H. M., Leadley, P. W., Proença, V., Alkemade, R., Scharlemann, J. P., Fernandez-Manjarrés, J. F., Araújo, M. B., Balvanera, P., Biggs, R., Cheung, W. W. and Chini, L. 2010. Scenarios for global biodiversity in the 21st century. Science 330: 1496–1501. Poole, A. 2015. Urban Sustainability and Drivers of Global Environmental Change: Acknowledging Mechanisms of Biocultural Diversity Loss Embedded within Infrastructure. Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Texas. Posey, D., ed. 1999. Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity. Intermediate Technology Publications and UNEP: London and Nairobi. Posey, P. 1983. Indigenous knowledge and development: An ideological bridge to the future. Ciência e Cultura 35 (7): 877–894. Posey, P. 1985. Indigenous management of tropical forest ecosystems: The case of the Kayapó Indians of the Brazilian Amazon. Agroforestry Systems 3: 139–158. Prance, G. T. and Kallunki, J. A., eds. 1984. Ethnobotany in the Neotropics: Advances in Economic Botany (Vol. 1). New York Botanical Garden Press: Bronx, New York. República del Ecuador. 2008. Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador. National Assembly. Legislative and Oversight Committee. Published in the Official Register. October 20, 2008. Rival, L. 2012. The materiality of life: revisiting the anthropology of nature in Amazonia. Indiana 29:127–143. Rodney, W. 1982. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Howard University Press: Washington, DC. Rozzi, R. 2001. Éticas ambientales latinoamericanas: raíces y ramas. In Fundamentos de Conservación Biológica: Perspectivas Latinoamericanas, R. Primack, R. Rozzi, P. Feinsinger, R. Dirzo and F. Massardo, eds. Fondo de Cultura Económica: Mexico City, Mexico, pp. 311–362. Rozzi, R. 2012a. Biocultural ethics: The vital links between the inhabitants, their habits and regional habitats. Environmental Ethics 34: 27–50. Rozzi, R. 2012b. South American environmental philosophy: Ancestral Amerindian roots and emergent academic branches. Environmental Ethics 34: 343–365.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 188

20/04/2020 14:23

A biocultural ethic for sustainable geographies  189 Rozzi, R. 2013. Biocultural ethics: From biocultural homogenization toward biocultural conservation. In Linking Ecology and Ethics for a Changing World: Values, Philosophy, and Action, R. Rozzi, S. T. A. Pickett, C. Palmer, J. J. Armesto and J. B. Callicott, eds. Ecology and Ethics book series, Vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht: Netherlands, pp. 9–32. Rozzi, R. 2015a. Earth stewardship and the biocultural ethic: Latin American perspectives. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 87–112. Rozzi, R. 2015b. Implications of the biocultural ethic for Earth stewardship. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 113–136. Rozzi, R. and Poole, A. 2011. Habitats–habits–inhabitants: A biocultural triad to promote sustainable cultures. In Sustainable Development: Relationships to Knowledge, Ethics and Culture, O. Parodi, I. Ayestaran and G.  Banse, eds. Karlsruher Studien Technik und Kultur Seroes, Kalsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT): Kalsruhe, pp. 53–74. Rozzi, R., Massardo, F., Anderson, C., McGehee, S., Clark, G., Egli, G., Ramilo, E., Calderón, U., Calderón, C., Aillapan, L. and Zárraga, C. 2010. Multi-Ethnic Bird Guide of the Sub-Antarctic Forests of South America. UNT Press – Ediciones Universidad de Magallanes, Denton TX, and Punta Arenas, Chile. Sarmiento, F. 2000. Human impacts in man-aged tropandean landscapes: Breaking mountain paradigms. Ambio 29: 423–431. Sarmiento, F. 2002. Anthropogenic landscape change in highland Ecuador. The Geographical Review 92: 213–234. Sarmiento, F. 2015. The antlers of a trilemma: Rediscovering Andean sacred sites. In Earth Stewardship: Linking Ecology and Ethics in Theory and Practice, R. Rozzi, F. S. Chapin, J. B. Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, M. E. Power, J. J. Armesto and R. H. May Jr., eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht: The Netherlands, pp. 49–64. Sawyer, S. 2004. Crude Chronicles: Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberalism in Ecuador. American Encounters/Global Interactions Series. Duke University: Durham, NC. Steffensen, S. V. and Fill, A., 2014. Ecolinguistics: The state of the art and future horizons. Language Sciences 41: 6–25. Takada, T., Toyoda, M., Sago, J., Seki, M., Akiyama, K. and Kuwako, T. 2012. A study on the structure of consensus building processes in social infrastructure development. Journal of Japan Society of Civil Engineers, Ser. F5 (Professional Practices in Civil Engineering) 68: 27–39. Toyoda, M. 2018. Revitalizing local commons: A democratic approach to collective management. In From Biocultural Homogenization to Biocultural Conservation, R. Rozzi, R. H. May Jr., F. S. Chapin, F. Massardo, M. Gavin, I. Klaver, A. Pauchard, M. A. Núñez and D. Simberloff, eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 443–457. UNEP 2007. Global Environment Outlook: Environment for Development. United Nations Environmental Programme, Nairobi. Vitousek, P. and Beamer, K. 2015. Traditional ecological values, knowledge, and practices in twenty-first century Hawai‘i. In Linking Ecology and Ethics for a Changing World: Values Philosophy, and Action, R. Rozzi, S. T. A. Pickett, C. Palmer, J. J. Armesto and J. B. Callicott, eds. Springer: New York, pp. 63–70. WGIP. 2001. Indigenous peoples and the United Nations system. Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva. White, L. 1967. The historical roots of our ecological crisis. Science 155: 1203–1207. Wilcox, B. A. and Duin, K. N. (1995) Indigenous cultural and biological diversity: Overlapping values of Latin American ecoregions. Cultural Survival Quarterly (Winter), 49–53. WRI (World Resources Institute), WCU (World Conservation Union), and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). 1992. Global Biodiversity Strategy: Policy-maker’s Guide. WRI Publications: Baltimore. Zaffaroni, E.R. 2011. La Pachamama y el humano. In La Naturaleza con Derechos. De la Filosofía a la Política, A. Acosta and E. Martínez, eds. Ediciones Abya-Yala: Quito, Ecuador, pp. 25–135. Zanotti, L. 2018. Biocultural approaches to conservation: Water sovereignty in the Kayapó Lands. In From Biocultural Homogenization to Biocultural Conservation, R. Rozzi, R. H. May Jr., F. S. Chapin, F. Massardo, M. Gavin, I. Klaver, A. Pauchard, M. A. Núñez and D. Simberloff, eds. Ecology & Ethics Book Series. Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 343–359. Zimmerer, K. S. 1994. Human geography and the “new ecology”: The prospect and promise of integration. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 84: 108–125.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 189

20/04/2020 14:23

12.  Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment David Harmon

The rise of modern protected area systems—usually sourced to the creation in 1872 of Yellowstone National Park in the USA—is, fundamentally, a global expression of longing for sustainability. The stated purpose of protected areas is to protect aspects of nature and culture against destruction, despoliation, or other kinds of impairment. But this doesn’t really get to the heart of the matter. When we declare an area to be worthy of special protection, what we are really doing is proclaiming a set of values associated with that place and declaring that others should recognize and respect those values too. In fact, the central unifying principle underlying all protected areas is that they are committed to sustaining values in the face of change. The Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future, famously defined sustainable development as that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) 1987, 8). Needs, not values or aspirations, appear to be front and center. But just underneath this definition is an implied value, of equity: that there should be an equal opportunity across generations of people to have the basics for a good life. Protected areas share this forward-looking, open-ended ethic of intergenerational equity: they are being protected from harm not just for the benefit of people now, but equally for those to come into the indefinite future. This chapter will explore the relationship between protected places, values, and sustainability: what we might call a “geography of commitment.” Its foundation is a fundamental promise from those in charge of these areas: to sustain them and their associated values not just for some set number of years, but for all time. Outlandish? Perhaps. Nonetheless, the promise of perpetuity defines the mission of protected area conservation.

WHAT IS A PROTECTED AREA? “Protected area” is a generic term that encompasses places such as nature preserves, wildlife refuges, game reserves, national and state/provincial parks, and so on. There are literally hundreds of names for these places that are set apart and treated differently; a common catch-all descriptor is the word “park.” The number of protected areas worldwide rose slowly during the first decades of the twentieth century and began climbing noticeably in mid-century. Since 1990, the number of parks and their coverage has burgeoned so that now nearly 15 percent of Earth’s terrestrial area and just over 10 percent of the oceans have some kind of protection status (Figure 12.1; United Nations Environment Programme and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP–WCMC) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2016). The tens of 190

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 190

20/04/2020 14:23

Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment  191 18

17% of target for terrestrial and inland water protection



Percentage protected


Terrestrial area including inland waters

12 10


30% of target for marine protection

Marine area within national jurisdiction

8 6 4 2 0















Status Year Source:  UNEP–WCMC and IUCN (2016, 30).

Figure 12.1  Percent of protected areas in the planet t­housands of protected areas around the globe form a loose but broadly unified international network (Figure 12.2; UNEP–WCMC and IUCN 2016). The areas are arrayed along a continuum of management objectives, from strict nature protection where human use is severely constrained (such as in designated wilderness areas and Russia’s zapovednik system of reserves largely devoted to scientific research) to mixtures of protection and human use (such as North American-style national parks and, in a very different way, their counterparts in Europe), to community-recognized and -administered places where cultural and natural considerations intertwine (such as sacred sites of indigenous peoples; Wild and McLeod 2008; Verschuuren et al. 2010). IUCN has done more than any other organization to think through what the term “protected area” means. IUCN undertook years of consultations with its volunteer networks of professionals to hone a definition, and the wording—sometimes hotly debated—underwent several revisions. Finally, in 2008 this sentence was settled on: A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. (Dudley 2008: 8)

Every word of the definition was carefully chosen, and each key phrase comes with an official explanation. For example, the phrase “clearly defined geographical space” is meant to include: land, inland water, marine and coastal areas or a combination of two or more of these. “Space” has three dimensions, e.g. as when the airspace above a protected area is protected from

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 191

20/04/2020 14:23

192  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability l­ow-flying aircraft or in marine protected areas where a certain water depth is protected or the seabed is protected but water above is not . . . “Clearly defined” implies a spatially defined area with agreed and demarcated borders. These borders can sometimes be defined by physical features that move over time (e.g. river banks) or by management actions (e.g. agreed no-take zones). (Dudley 2008: 8)

IUCN’s parsings of the 34-word definition continue in this vein for a page and a half. The detail is warranted precisely because protected areas come in such a large number of varieties and with many different objectives. IUCN recognized that no single body, itself included, can dictate which methods individual governments and other managing entities use to protect highly valued places. But the definition does provide a consensus view of the professional parks community. Other noteworthy aspects of the definition are that it includes community-led areas protected by the force of custom rather than law (“legal or other effective means”), and that conservation of nature is paramount whenever other considerations, such as the provision of ecosystem services or the maintenance of cultural traditions, are present in a given park. That, then, is the standard functional definition of a protected area. It tells one what these areas can and should be, but it doesn’t speak to the questions of why and how a particular place becomes acknowledged as being worthy of protected status in the first place. The answers to these questions take us into the realm of how values relate to protected areas. But first we need to ask: where do values come from?

Terrestrial protected areas

Marine and coastal protected areas


Figure 12.2  Protected areas of the world, 2016

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 192

20/04/2020 14:23

Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment  193

DIFFERENCES AS THE SOURCE OF VALUES Human beings are incessant, exuberant classifiers. All day long, practically from the moment we are born to the day we die, we sort and winnow, lump and split, include and exclude. In order to survive, all sentient life forms have to make distinctions, if only at a rudimentary level, and some have evolved complex behavioral repertoires that rely on a sophisticated capacity to categorize. But ours is the classifying species par excellence. According to some analysts of cultural evolution, one of the cooperation-enabling mechanisms that make society possible is our innate tendency to impose distinctions onto continuous cultural differences, leading to group boundaries and identities (Jordan et al. 2013: 87). We bring the same skills to bear upon the analysis of nature: nearly every field in science has its version of biology’s taxonomy. Putting all this conversely (but equivalently), we can say that the ability to discern commonalities—to distil sameness out of a sea of differences in nature and culture—is arguably the single most important diagnostic marker that defines us as human (Harmon 2002). These differences in nature and culture are the respective working materials of physical and human geography. Considered together—as biocultural diversity—they are the basis of the fertile history of interchange between the field’s two great branches. From this perspective, we might say that geography is the science of distinctions projected onto Earth’s landscape and analyzed spatially. The classifications we make are not just relativistic judgment calls. They are based on elemental differences that intrinsically exist in nature and culture, products of tens of thousands of years of biological and cultural evolution. But neither do we just take these basic distinctions as they are and leave them at that. We assign them values. We project onto them verdicts of relative importance. When the distinctions are geographical ones, we end up with a complex of places with different worth: some more “special,” more valued, than others; or at least valued in a different way.

KINDS OF VALUE When we speak of “value,” we need to distinguish between two distinct senses of the word. A value can be a completely abstract concept, such as the principle of fairness or the virtue of being kind to strangers in need. Or, it can be a quality or characteristic associated with a physical entity or place, often capable of being experienced directly. An example from a famous protected area would be the looming presence of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia’s Uluru–Kata Tjuta World Heritage Site. In both cases, the word signifies something of merit, something estimable—whether or not such worth is intrinsic or assigned or by people. That is an important qualification. As they have for centuries, philosophers continue to disagree about where values come from. Are they “out there” inherent in things—autonomous, as it were—or do we humans generate them out of our own psyches, cultures, religions, or whatever? In the larger philosophical debate over the source of values, many have defended one view or the other. There is a third way, however, and it is not just a compromise, but a more ecologically informed answer that has ramifications for the relationship between values, protected areas, and sustainability.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 193

20/04/2020 14:23

194  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The environmental philosopher Holmes Rolston III holds that some values are indeed objectively present in nature, “discovered, not generated, by a valuer.” Such values are intrinsic to their objects. Once discovered, these intrinsic values have the potential to become appreciated by a beholder. This act of appreciation confers instrumental value: that which serves a purpose. The more an intrinsically valuable natural object is appreciated by people, the more instrumental value it gains, and, hence, the more total value it carries (Rolston 1988, 116). All park educational, guiding, and interpretive programs are based on this principle. The more visitors understand a protected area’s features, the more they appreciate them, and the more likely they will care for them—and by caring, the chances of the place as a whole being protected are greatly enhanced. Human appreciation is, therefore, “value added” to protected areas.

SYSTEMIC VALUE But there is more. Rolston observes that the interaction of intrinsic and instrumental values occurs not in discrete, unconnected events, but as part of a larger system: an ecosystem. Within the ecosystem context, the two forms of value are not merely added together; rather, each may be transformed, transferred, and projected from individual features or organisms to other individuals or collectivities. Our example above involved people, but the process is not limited to humans. For example, an individual moose has intrinsic value, just because of what it is. It also has latent instrumental value as a food source in relation to certain predators: a specific wolf pack, let us say. We cannot know in advance exactly which wolf pack will realize the moose’s latent instrumental value by means of a successful hunt; in fact, we cannot know whether it will happen at all. What we do know is this: if it does happen, not only is the latent instrumental value of the moose brought forth and (literally) realized by a particular pack of wolves, part of the intrinsic value of the moose is transformed into instrumental value and transferred to the wolves. This is because part of what makes a moose a moose—part of its intrinsic value—is that it is a prey species. Yet—and this is the key point—the original intrinsic value of the eaten animal does not entirely disappear, even in death. That intrinsic value is projected onto the whole ecosystem by being an integral part of a larger predator–prey relationship vital to the system’s functioning. Intrinsic natural value is therefore “a part in a whole, not to be fragmented by valuing it in isolation” (Rolston 1988, 217). Rolston calls this condition of transformation, transference, and projection systemic value (Rolston 1988, 216–225). Extending Rolston’s thinking to protected areas, we see that their systemic value includes more than the interplay between intrinsic and instrumental values in nature alone. Recall that values are rooted in a mixed roster of natural and cultural differences (biocultural diversity), and that the variety of protected area types now includes many in which the protection of natural and cultural features are important objectives. Therefore, the systemic value of protected areas is expressed as an interchange between intrinsic and instrumental values in nature and their counterparts in culture. At the risk of oversimplifying things, one can argue that protected areas will be successful in their sustainability mission to the extent they are successful in sustaining their systemic value. In an era of quickening climatic and demographic change, shocks to a protected area can come from many directions. The better that managers account for and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 194

20/04/2020 14:23

Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment  195 address the full range of natural and cultural values their parks encompass, the more likely they are to be able to build resiliency into these places they’ve been tasked to care for. We know that the physical context of parks—the overall condition of Earth’s biosphere—will be transformed in the decades to come. We know that the social context—the organization of society and its priorities—will shift as well. Managing for systemic value gives us the best chance of sustaining protected places within these overlapping contexts of continual, far-reaching change.

VALUES AND POWER Scanning the metaphorical horizon in this fashion is useful, but making actual management decisions on the ground remains a major challenge because systemic value itself is not something fixed and permanent. The intrinsic value of features in protected areas may not change significantly over time, but their instrumental values are a reflection of a particular society’s values, and of course those can and do change, sometimes quickly. Protected area designation is subject to negotiation and re-negotiation; it is something that is done (and can be undone; see World Wildlife Fund (WWF) 2017) by particular people living in a particular society at a particular point in history. Yellowstone, the national park—as opposed to Yellowstone, the collection of physical features currently known by that name—doesn’t exist anywhere except in the minds of people. A national park (or any other kind of protected area) is nothing more than a set of rules defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, applied within a precisely defined geographical area, that is backed up by a group of people who have the power to enforce them. In modern democracies, the “group of people” upon whom the protected areas’ legitimacy depends is taken to be a consensus of the citizenry acting through a freely elected government at some level: national, state/provincial, regional, or local. In other forms of national-level governance, an unelected elite—a royal family, perhaps, or a military junta—may be the guarantor. For community-led protected areas, legitimacy may derive from some kind of informal but commonly recognized, durable agreement. The point is that there must be a source of power that can enforce rules. There are no protected areas in an anarchy. So, protected areas express societal values, but we need to dig a little deeper here, because in truth it is only a portion of society, perhaps a small portion, whose values are being projected onto this particular place and enacted through the enforcement of rules. The earliest protected areas were sacred natural sites whose locations and rules were recognized and enforced by small groups of people: a band of hunter–gatherers, say, or a village or other small community. Later came protected areas whose resources were literally reserved, taken away from the commons and held for the exclusive use of a king or other royal personage—an individual who in turn held power because enough people in the wider society accepted his or her claims to it. As noted at the beginning of this chapter, the modern era of protected areas is widely acknowledged as having begun with the designation of Yellowstone as a national park by the United States Congress. Two things made Yellowstone’s creation a turning point. One, it was the first time the protection of a place was formally recognized—based on a presumed consensus of values—as being to the benefit of the whole people of a large and complex nation-state, rather than

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 195

20/04/2020 14:23

196  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability a small homogeneous community or a tiny sliver of elites. The other is that it intended the designation to be in perpetuity, and made provisions for its indefinite care. Congress was rushing to save Yellowstone’s intrinsic values from being converted to a specific kind of instrumental value: as privately held tourist attractions aimed at making a profit for their owners. The act was approved on 1 March 1872 under a real sense of urgency because, the lawmakers were assured, “persons are now waiting for the spring [season] to open to enter in and take possession of these remarkable curiosities, to make merchandise of these beautiful specimens, to fence in these rare wonders so as to charge visitors a fee, as is now done at Niagara Falls, for the sight of that which ought to be as free as the air or water” (Dunnell 1872). The remedy was to withdraw the area from settlement or other forms of development—permanently. That commitment to a perpetual reserved status has since become synonymous with what designating a protected area means. Protection must be permanent or it is no protection at all. Imagine if Congress had placed a “sunset” provision in the Yellowstone law: an expiration date on which its status as a protected area would be subject to termination unless renewed. No matter how well protected in the interim, Yellowstone’s value as a park would have been fatally compromised by the uncertainty. Had this been the “Yellowstone model,” protected areas as we know them today might never have developed.

PROTECTED AREAS AS VALUE-ADDED PLACES The formal designation of Yellowstone was something truly new under the sun. A new relationship between humans and geography had been born, and would prove to be revolutionary. It immediately called into being the need to distinguish the value of an area’s features from that of the protected area designation itself, which is superimposed upon those features. Designation places the area within a formal protective framework, and from this act additional value comes. Again, “designation” should be interpreted broadly so as to include customary forms of recognition that are equivalent to the force of law within indigenous and other traditional communities—the “legal or other effective means” of the IUCN definition. Binding customs are what make protected areas out of sacred natural sites, regulated commons, and similar community-run places. Intent and effectiveness are paramount, not whether the protective designation is enshrined in state-sponsored civil law. Designation also affords an opportunity for the values being proclaimed to maintain or achieve legitimacy. For better or worse, people’s values are influenced by others’ opinions. Much of our social life depends on the existence of shared values that govern behavior. Opinions gain broad acceptance by exhibiting certain qualities that are seen as good, or at least expedient. Together, these qualities are what make a particular action legitimate. Ideally, the process of designating a protected area is characterized by judiciousness, trustworthiness, veracity, and similar virtues. Under these conditions, legal or customary designation becomes a widely accepted affirmation of importance, elevating the status of a place in the eyes of the public and helping reinforce the values it is meant to protect. The additional status leads people to care more about the intrinsic and instrumental values contained in the protected area’s features, resulting in better protection and stewardship.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 196

20/04/2020 14:23

Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment  197 This is not to say that designation assures the permanent protection of an area. Far from it: there have been numerous instances of parks (or portions of them) being delisted (“degazetted”) or downgraded because of blatant political considerations, uncontrolled encroachment by displaced communities, changes in standards of park-worthiness, and many other reasons (WWF 2017). But the promise of perpetuity must be there, and success in carrying it out must be seen as a real possibility, not a long shot. That is precisely what a legal designation bestows. A related critical issue is the displacement of people from newly designated protected areas. For years it was considered necessary to eject residents from parks in order to fully protect their natural values. Often it was done without consultation or compensation, resulting in great hardship to the people affected (Brockington and Igoe 2006). The practice is less prevalent now, thanks to changing attitudes and the increasing use of more flexible protected area designations, but it still happens too often. Where communities have been displaced against their will, they, at least, view the designation as illegitimate. Since these communities usually relocate to areas adjacent to the park, a host of continuing boundary-control problems ensue.

PROTECTED AREAS AS ARENAS FOR DISCOVERING AND ENACTING VALUES Another way values are related to protected areas is when the latter are used as arenas for ethical discovery. Many people go to parks to “find themselves” in an informal way. This often entails sorting out moral issues or problems while in the presence of nature or a profoundly moving cultural site. Parks are even used purposely as backdrops for self-discovery. At least one American university has culminated a course in ethics with a ten-day backpacking trip in a designated wilderness area. The wild setting encourages students to prepare themselves to explore value systems in ways not possible in a walledin classroom. They learn skills—such as self-reliance and the necessity of working with others in an uncompromising environment—that boost their capacity and confidence to tackle complex ethical questions. In addition, they engage the beauty and sublimity of wild nature, thereby awakening a sense of wonder at their own lives, disrupting “the sleepwalking attitude toward life that the comforts and familiarity of the modern world call forth in nearly all of us” (Frederickson and Johnson 2000, 179). In so doing they create a new “ethical space” for productive reflection on life’s meanings.

IS PERPETUITY POSSIBLE? Values on many levels interweave with geography to create the modern notion of a “protected area.” To return to (and restate) the central question of this chapter, can protected areas sustain their systemic value as the planet enters a truly unprecedented period of wholesale change in both nature and culture? The unspoken assumptions beneath the promise of perpetuity were always problematic. First, the science of ecology embraced the idea that dynamism, and not equilibria, characterized many ecosystems, so that the prevalence of a given set of conditions at any

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 197

20/04/2020 14:23

198  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability one point in time does not imply their continuance. With respect to the management of protected areas, this insight has culminated in recent years with a wholesale rethinking of “naturalness” as a measure of management effectiveness (Cole and Yung 2010). Second, globalization’s march as the twentieth century wore on put paid to the idea that at least some cultures could remain autochthonous. Now, the onset of global climate change has decisively ended any hope that the features of protected areas can be maintained absolutely unimpaired, so managers are rapidly recalibrating their goals and management methods by shifting toward a posture that emphasizes adapting to change and promoting resilience within mixed natural/social systems (see, e.g., Gross et al. 2016; U.S. National Park Service (USNPS) 2016). Yet no one in the mainstream of the park profession is advocating a retreat from a commitment to permanent absolute protection, let alone the abandonment of protected areas as a conservation strategy, as some in the so-called ecopragmatist movements have called for. Why not? The science is unequivocal. We will lose significant portions of parks’ systemic values in the years to come. The process is already underway, and nothing can be done to stop it entirely. Too, the declarations and legal actions that create protected areas are not permanent. Neither is the geography of the places being protected. Standing stubbornly against all this, however, is a towering psychological reason to set an impossibly high bar when you are trying to do something sustainable: idealism is what motivates people over the long run, and ideals are most effective when they are framed in ultimate terms. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt addressed a crowd at the state capitol in Sacramento. “I have come across the continent from the East to the West, and now beyond the West to California, for California stands by itself,” he related, with his natural politician’s gift for understated but unmistakable flattery. He had just come from four days’ rest in Yosemite, and invited the audience to reflect on the park’s natural wonders, some of which are unique in all the world: Lying out at night under those giant Sequoias was lying in a temple built by no hand of man, a temple grander than any human architect could by any possibility build, and I hope for the preservation of the groves of giant trees simply because it would be a shame to our civilization to let them disappear. They are monuments in themselves. (Roosevelt 1903)

There was no question of hedging superlatives here, of quibbling over whether these majestic trees really were grander than any monument made by human hands. Roosevelt declared it so—and the audience was in thrall. Then he said these famous words: We are not building this country of ours for a day. It is to last through the ages. We stand on the threshold of a new century. We look into the dim years that rise before us, knowing that if we are true that the generations that succeed us here shall fall heir to a heritage such as has never been known before. I ask that we keep in mind not only our own interests, but the interests of our children. Any generation fit to do its work must work for the future, for the people of the future, as well as for itself. (Roosevelt 1903)

It is not a coincidence that Roosevelt set forth these sentiments having just come from a particular place, a protected place, a place dedicated to be protected for all time, not for a day or a year or even a century. “If we are true”—he is calling the listeners to dedication, calling on them to hew to a set of common values as they pass out into a dim and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 198

20/04/2020 14:23

Values in place: protected areas as a geography of commitment  199 unknowable future. His call would have fallen flat, his words leaden and forgotten, had he not aimed as high as possible. Higher, actually. That is how it is with those who steward protected areas. Without a commitment to permanence, however impossible it may be on a practical level, there is no hope of sustainability at all. And, in the end, the quest for sustainability is as much a matter of hope as it is of reason.

AUTHOR’S NOTE Portions of this chapter are closely based on Harmon (2003).

REFERENCES Brockington, Daniel, and John Igoe. 2006. Eviction for conservation: A global overview. Conservation and Society 4(3): 424–470. Cole, David N., and Laurie Yung. 2010. Beyond Naturalness: Rethinking Park and Wilderness Stewardship in an Era of Rapid Change. Washington, DC: Island Press. Dudley, Nigel, ed. 2008. Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Dunnell, Mark H. 1872. The Yellowstone Park. House Report no. 26, 42nd United States Congress, 2nd session. Frederickson, Laura M., and Baylor L. Johnson. 2000. Wilderness: A place for ethical inquiry. In Wilderness Science in a Time of Change Conference. Volume 3: Wilderness as a Place for Scientific Inquiry, S.F. McCool, D.N. Cole, W.T. Borrie, and J. O’Laughlin, comps. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-3. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture–Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 177–180. Gross, John E., Stephen Woodley, Leigh A. Welling, and James E.M. Watson, eds. 2016. Adapting to Climate Change: Guidance for Protected Area Managers and Planners. Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series no. 24. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Harmon, David. 2002. In Light of Our Differences: How Diversity in Nature and Culture Makes Us Human. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. Harmon, David. 2003. The source and significance of values in protected areas. In The Full Value of Parks: From Economics to the Intangible, David Harmon and Allen D. Putney, eds. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 13–25. Jordan, Fiona M., Carel van Schaik, Pieter François, Herbert Gintis, Daniel B.M. Haun, Daniel J. Hruschka, Marco A. Janssen, James A. Kitts, Laurent Lehmann, Sarah Mathew, Peter J. Richerson, Peter Turchin, and Polly Weissner. 2013. Cultural evolution of the structure of human groups. In Cultural Evolution: Society, Technology, Language, and Religion, Peter J. Richerson and Morten H. Christiansen, eds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 87–116. Rolston, Holmes, III. 1988. Environmental Ethics: Duties to and Values in the Natural World. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Roosevelt, Theodore. 1903. Address at the Capitol Building in Sacramento, California, May 19. Online at http:// Accessed 27 January 2017. UNEP–WCMC and IUCN. 2016. Protected Planet Report 2016: How Protected Areas Contribute to Achieving Global Targets for Biodiversity. Cambridge, UK, and Gland, Switzerland: UNEP–WCMC and IUCN. USNPS. 2016. Director’s Order #100: Resource Stewardship for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: USNPS. Verschuuren, Bas, Robert Wild, Jeffrey A. McNeely, and Gonzalo Oviedo, eds. 2010. Sacred Natural Sites: Conserving Nature and Culture. London: Earthscan. WCED. 1987. Our Common Future. New York: Oxford University Press. Wild, Robert, and Christopher McLeod, eds. 2008. Sacred Natural Sites: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers. Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series no. 16. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. WWF. 2017. PADDD tracker: Tracking protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement. Online at: Accessed 27 January 2017.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 199

20/04/2020 14:23


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 200

20/04/2020 14:23

13.  Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability Eduard Müller

INTRODUCTION We are already living in a different world, a world that changes so rapidly that much of humanity is being left behind. In 2016, the same amount of data was produced as in all previous years including 2015 (Helbing, 2019). We have more information and knowledge than needed to save our planet, yet we have not been able to transform it into wisdom, enlightenment and action. The fourth industrial revolution, especially artificial intelligence, will dramatically change our world over the next few years (not decades); meanwhile we are not able to maintain our life supporting planetary services, putting our civilization at risk of extinction together with many other life forms. Over the last three decades, we have been discussing sustainable development, holding hundreds of conferences all over the world, first to agree on a definition and then on how to achieve it, with hundreds of beautiful booklets and reports printed. In May 2016, looking up “sustainable development” on Google came up with 14,300,000 entries, in October 2019 the number had climbed to 233,000,000. Yet, we have never achieved sustainable development; we have not even curbed the rate of global destruction. I truly believe sustainable development is not achievable anymore; we are 20 years too late. In the early definitions, sustainable development was about leaving future generations similar conditions to the ones we inherited. Now, it is about all present human beings, irrelevant of age, class or race, being able to make the change that will allow our civilization as a whole to have a future. Now, it will be a different future, but the more we wait to take action, the more people will be vulnerable, the more people will suffer and the whole foundation for our current civilization will be undermined. In order to reverse our self-destructive pathway, we need to modify what we have been doing so far, moving to holistic approaches that optimize Earth’s biocapacity while keeping our footprint within the planetary boundaries.

HOW IS THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET? It is clear that Earth’s capacity to maintain life as we know it is seriously compromised. We have reached the most important crossroad in the history of humankind. The preamble of the Earth Charter states: “We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future” (The Earth Charter, 2000). Global change is with us, as well as its consequences. From more “simple” problems such as vanishing pollinators, plummeting fish stocks and plastic pollution to complex issues such as climate change and poverty, we have managed to push our planet into a different future. 201

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 201

20/04/2020 14:23

202  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability We have promoted degenerative development with massive resource extraction. If we look at the relation between the ecological footprint and biocapacity (the planet’s biologically productive land areas), we have clearly surpassed Earth’s capacity to satisfy our current consumption; today we require the equivalent of 1.7 planets to provide the resources used and to absorb the waste produced. What we consume in one year takes Earth 18 months to regenerate (Global Footprint Network, 2019). Most of the developed countries surpassed their biocapacity over half a century ago, meaning that achieving their current status was only possible due to consumption of resources coming from elsewhere. Many least developed countries still have a larger biocapacity than their footprint, but in most cases the distance between both values is closing rapidly.

PLANETARY BOUNDARIES The planetary boundaries approach defines the “safe operating space for humanity” – the conditions required for human societies to develop and thrive, based on the biophysical processes that regulate the stability of Earth’s system (Steffen, 2015). Four of the boundaries have apparently been crossed: biodiversity loss, the biogeochemical flow, land-use change and climate change, putting the future of the planet in danger. Three of these are discussed below. Biodiversity Loss Biodiversity loss has escalated to unprecedented levels. How much loss ecosystems can tolerate before losing their capacity for supporting life on Earth, including human life, is not yet clear from the scientific perspective. In practice, signs of ecosystem changes are visible throughout the planet: flooding in deforested lands, coastal erosion from destruction of mangroves, depletion of fish populations, massive death of coral reefs, massive death of marine life washing up on shores, insect collapse and loss of pollinators affecting agricultural and natural systems, transformation of cloud forests into rain forests, loss of life in soils, and many more. Thousands of reports confirm the graveness of the situation. Climate change is accelerating and is today one of the main drivers for the loss of biodiversity through changing precipitation patterns and increasing temperatures with important impacts on species distribution, trophic chains, breeding cycles, genetics, invasive species, and more. Research over the last two decades in the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica reveals that it is transitioning from a cloud forest to a rainforest; atmospheric warming has raised the clouds and there has been a dramatic decline of dry-season mist frequency. Monteverde is also the site for the first documented climate change related extinction in 1987, that of the golden toad (Bufo periglenses) that followed synchronous population crashes that led to the disappearance of 40 percent of the species of frogs and toads that year (Pounds, 1999). Biogeochemical Flow Excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorus has led to the crossing of another planetary boundary (Steffen, 2015). Disturbances to the nitrogen cycle are greater than those

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 202

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  203 of the carbon cycle (Fields, 2004). Anthropogenic nitrogen leakage to the environment can harm the ecosystems and human health, and contributes to changes in the global climate system (Davidson, 2009; Sobota, 2015). Academic institutions and the petrochemical industry in what was called the Green Revolution, somehow managed to convince the world that in order to produce food for all, it was necessary to use “agricultural packages” consisting of agrochemicals, irrigation, high yielding varieties and mechanization. Abundant short-term experiments in research plots show exponential increases in productivity; nevertheless, long-term unintended consequences are now being harvested. If we take into account the impacts beyond agriculture, it becomes even more questionable whether we can keep on with current agricultural practices. Agriculture is today responsible for about 80 percent of global changes (Campbell, 2017). Agricultural side-effects and externalities are not well studied and the full cost of cleaning up environmental consequences is passed on to society as a whole. Pesticide manufacturers are not charged with the full cost of their products’ side-effects. Run-off fertilizers are severely damaging marine systems and the future of fisheries which are already affected by overfishing. Since the 1960s, the number of marine dead zones (hypoxia) has doubled each decade with over 1000 dead zones globally. Until 2008, over 1 billion square kilometers of seabed were covered by oxygen minimum zones (Diaz, 2008). Climate Change Climate change is the fourth planetary boundary to be crossed. Most of the recent climate change information indicates a great urgency for action if our current civilization is to survive. What was once debatable doom and gloom information is now underpinned by the most rigorous scientific evidence. Scenarios vary but more and more the worst-case ones are proving to be the most probable. Most importantly, climate change is already underway and nature as a whole is being affected, with clear consequences for millions of people in every part of the globe. We are getting used to information reporting that the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years and that the four last years have been the hottest ever (WMO, 2019), that the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.43 °C above the twentieth century average (NOAA, s.f.), or that Arctic sea ice is at a record low (National Snow and Ice Data Center, 2017). In February 2016 global temperature reached 1.35 °C (NASA GISS, s.f.), which is very close to the 1.5 °C mark that is supposed to be reached in 83 years, a clear reason for immediate action. Highly reputable scientists are affirming that critical tipping points have been crossed or are on the verge thereof. The widely endorsed maximum atmospheric CO2 limit to maintain the climate to what humans and nature are adapted is 350 ppm (parts per million) (Hansen, 2008); this was crossed back in 1988 (NASA GISS, 2017). Twentyfive years of negotiations have not been able to change the constant increasing trend of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere. In my view, this is due mainly to the question of “who is responsible” and who must reduce more. Countries such as Bolivia kept pointing their fingers at the “capitalist nations”, blaming them for all of climate change and claiming the right to have access to the “remaining carbon budget” to reach

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 203

20/04/2020 14:23

204  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability development.1 I personally consider the estimated “carbon budget” to be a technocratic instrument that only serves the political sphere. Climate change not only causes direct changes in most of Earth’s systems but also fosters ending other anthropogenic processes, with rapid deterioration of basic conditions for life, and seriously compromised land, freshwater and oceanic ecosystems. Natural and productive ecosystems are becoming less resilient. Countries are losing increasingly more crops, and food shortages are affecting millions of people, especially the poor. Water supply is decreasing in many regions at alarming rates. We urgently need new approaches, policies and actions to create “counter-tipping points” to balance human development with the natural world. Climate change adaptation and mitigation require that the root causes of global change be addressed and that we move from knowing to doing.

HOW ARE WE MANAGING KNOWLEDGE? The linear economic model imposed on us with the promise that ever increasing economic growth and the globalization of markets would trickle down benefits to everyone, has left hundreds of millions of people without access to the so called “development”. For me, one of the main causes of the disaster we are facing is the reductionist approach that has been consolidated by the academic and institutional framework of the Western world. Complex problems such as global change, poverty, global unrest and many others will not be solved through disciplinary approaches alone. We have “large numbers of scientists working competitively in silos without combining their efforts” (Munafo, 2017). Complex problems require complex thinking and holistic approaches that do not fit into an academic world with ever growing specialization, set up in “pigeonholes”, where scientists are recognized and praised by how many other scientists are using their information, even if it has little or no impact in the real world. I have heard hundreds of times “My job is getting peer review articles into renowned journals, it is not to communicate my results to decision makers or even the broader audience” – “I do not have the skills required for this”. Academic careers and university rankings are still strongly tied to the number of publications (Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2016) with little if any weight given to how much and how fast the results of these publications get used by policy makers to take decisions and actions, let alone to be incorporated into university curricula. Researchers working on holistic approaches and complexity have still today little or no possibility of publishing in the “best renowned” journals. Much of the information they could publish is qualitative, highly variable and sometimes even intuitive. Scientific and technological development has brought us far ahead in many fields, from nanotechnology to artificial intelligence. By June 2019, close to 60 percent of the world’s population was using the internet with over 4.5 billion users (Internet World Stats, 2019) with Facebook alone having 2.41 billion monthly active users as of June 2019 (Facebook, 2019). Social Networks have increased scientific communication and many organizations and individuals are now bringing scientific information out to the general public, though it has also allowed for the fast growth of misinformation (Del Vicario, 2016). 1   I personally heard this from President Evo Morales at a pre-G771China Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, May 2014

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 204

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  205 We are living in a time where human impacts are significantly changing the planet and while the changes are accelerating and pretty obvious to everyone, it has taken scientists almost two decades to decide whether we are moving from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. We are now well into the sixth planetary extinction (Ceballos, 2016), and the paradox lies in that this is the best scientifically documented planetary extinction in history; we know exactly what we are doing wrong and what the consequences are. The disconnect between science and social, political and business decisions is huge. Scientists are demanded to have total and convincing proof, making it difficult to eliminate phrases such as “could”, “possibly”, “probably”. While climate change experts are reluctant to classify current changes as climate change or global change and confuse the public with “climate variability”, climate change deniers do not hesitate to clearly state that climate change does not exist, based on all the “evidence”. The lack of clarity of the scientific community is partially responsible for years of unfruitful climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – there was always a small possibility that what 97 percent of scientists were affirming could be wrong. This was quickly taken by the oil and other industries to make bold political statements that would block any agreement to curb their business expansion. Another constraint of modern science and its education is that it must be fact based; any spiritual or intangible component is traditionally not contemplated. I personally feel that, without the spiritual component, advancement in solving our complex problems of today will be slow. Technology, of course, plays an increasing role in solving problems and is progressing at exponential leaps, but it will not change the way humans behave in the period required to save life on Earth. In personal discussions with presidents, chancellors and other representatives of well renowned universities from the North, I have seen reluctance towards spirituality since it cannot be evaluated or measured and thus cannot be included in the study plans. Nevertheless, most of today’s wrong decisions and actions, be they individual, corporate or government, originate from a global-wide lack of ethics and values. What is called corruption in some countries is legal and denominated “lobbying” in others – buying a decision from a politician. At the bottom line, many of these decisions benefit a small group and not the community as a whole. A key process for future success is that the path from information to knowledge culminates with wisdom, where we are finally able to convert them into action.

REGENERATIVE DEVELOPMENT As discussed earlier, we are now entering an era where sustainable development is no longer achievable. We have degraded the planet to such an extent that the capacity for ecosystems to deliver the life supporting services as they have for millions of years is seriously compromised. We need to promote regenerative development. Regenerative development has holistic approaches in its heart. This implies the true understanding of Aristotle’s quote that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The origins of the concept of regeneration go back to J. I. Rodale who in 1942 used the term organic farming for a natural way of agriculture (Rodale, 1989) “which seeks to save and rebuild soil worn out by conventional farming” (Fowler, 1990). In the 1980s, about the same time that the term “sustainable development” became popular, his son Robert

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 205

20/04/2020 14:23

206  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Rodale used the term regenerative agriculture for farming that goes beyond “sustainable” (Rodale Institute, 2014) based on “continuing organic renewal of the complex living system . . . as the basis for healthy soil and, in turn, for healthy food and healthy people” (Mang, 2012). Today several organizations are working with regenerative agriculture and animal production including Regenesis Group, Savory Institute, Regeneration International, Organic India, Alliance for Regeneration, to name just a few. Some other areas are also developed under the regenerative concept. Capital Institute (2017) published a Field Guide to a Regenerative Economy under the banner of the “Regenerative Capitalism Framework”. More applications can be found in areas such as regenerative architecture (REGENARCH, 2017), the building industry (Sblendorio, 2017) and even regenerative urban development (Woo, 2013; Girardet, 2010). I published a book chapter in 2017 on “Regenerative development in higher education: Costa Rica’s perspective” (Müller, 2018). In my opinion, the use of the term regenerative development goes beyond just another definition. It is a new way of looking forward. Restoration ecology has to do with trying to get ecosystems back to the original state. With a rapidly changing planet, I believe we need to generate the capacity for ecosystems to achieve a functional status, which probably will be different than the original state. “[R]egenerative development takes a different approach, by asking the question: How can we re-align human activity with the evolution of this ecosystem? How can humans be partners in that evolution?” (Regenesis Group, 2015). Today it is known that indigenous communities have managed ecosystems for millennia (Levy Tacher, 2012; Ford, 2016; Meggers, 1996) as will be discussed later in this chapter. At the University for International Cooperation (UCI) in Costa Rica, we started working on holistic approaches linked to biosphere reserves under the UNESCO–MAB (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – Man and the Biosphere) program in 1994, where biodiversity conservation, development, and research and education have to be integrated in a territorial approach. In practice, the integration of social, economic and environmental factors – which was the basic concept for sustainable development in the early 1990s – proved not enough to generate significant changes that would allow the biosphere reserve concept to be successfully implemented. We discovered that culture, policy and politics, and spirituality had to be contemplated. Culture and spirituality are very closely linked and provide the “glue” for societies, giving distinct identities to people from one country to another and even within regions of a same country. Politics and policy must be integrated and are a key factor, mostly due to permanent change in visions, interests and actions. We must prepare for changes; by now it is clear the planet will never be the same again. We can regenerate ecosystems and make them productive again, develop more just economies that strengthen societies to make better choices in politics and bond together with stronger culture and spirituality. We do not have to reinvent the wheel; we can actually look how nature works and imitate it in our human world. Implementing Regenerative Development In order to advance with the implementation of regenerative development we must reinforce the need for a holistic approach, integrating the following six processes:

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 206

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  207 ●

Functional regeneration of ecosystems and their services, supporting biodiversity and allowing life to continue thriving throughout the planet. ●● Social strengthening which fosters community organization and development to be able to cope with adaptation to climate change and reduce sumptuous consumption patterns. ●● A new paradigm for economic development where people matter more than markets and money, where entrepreneurship for youth is more important than employment, where economic development is promoted at all levels of society allowing for more opportunities to achieve better living standards. ●● Conservation and valuation of living culture, which is the necessary bond for community life, where local knowledge, values and traditions are shared within family, friends and the community as a whole, giving meaning to these terms. ●● Rethinking and redesigning current political structures so they can reflect true participatory democracy without the influence of money and power and especially fostering long-term vision and actions that seek increased livelihoods and happiness and not only gross income. ● And, most importantly, fostering deep spiritual and value structures based on ethics, transparency and global well-being to allow humanity to live in peace with itself and Mother Earth. These processes have to be looked upon as “layers” or “blankets” that fall onto a given territory. They are closely interlinked and cannot be dealt with using disciplinary approaches. There may be different sequences for action, according to local conditions and challenges. In one territory, land degradation might be limiting production and services, affecting the local economy and reducing social resilience. This then generates lack of governance, exclusion and crime. It will be difficult to work with the communities unless the ecological systems are regenerated, helping to reverse the process. In other places, for example with migratory movements as can be observed in the Peruvian jungle, where communities from the highlands are rapidly spreading through the Amazon region, the natural resource base is still present – though disappearing quickly – but the cultural attachment to this land is not present and people don’t recognize the new territories as “home”. I have witnessed difficulties in trying to get these communities to produce more sustainably; they do not value the land and live in a sort of “transition” stage – when resources run out they move on to “new” land. To work with these communities, social, cultural and spiritual approaches are needed in order for them to develop higher self-esteem, community bonds and solidarism. The “vertical” links between all six layers are multiple, in direction and strength. They are also dynamic and change is now a constant, not an exception. We must re-educate professionals so they can go beyond their “boxes” of knowledge and expertise. One of the most difficult aspects we have encountered is the process of “unlearning”. We must “erase” many of the traditional concepts and approaches that have been deeply embedded through a lifetime education. We need to remove the “blinders” that have been placed, especially through higher education, much as blinders that are put on horses to pull wagons, avoiding “distractions”. The ever specialization process that professionals face today often limits the angle of view. Socio-economic scenarios are being used in different fields. At UCI we have been working with the Future Scenarios Project (CCAFS-CGIR, 2016a) in the development

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 207

20/04/2020 14:23

208  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability and use of socio-economic and climate change scenarios in agriculture (CCAFS-CGIR, 2016b). In Honduras, at cross policy levels, with the help of scenarios the country was able to make the climate adaptation policy more robust (CCAFS-CGIR, 2016c). We also used scenario-guided development of Costa Rica’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) that was presented in Paris for COP20 (Veeger, 2015). There is no standard procedure, no recipe, and every case has to be analyzed separately. The approach cannot be technocratic; the human component is of vital importance, and any start has to be with the people. Different dynamics, workshops, practical projects and many others can be used. Working at the spiritual level with values, ethics and recovering cultural heritage can motivate a community for collective action. In the following paragraphs, I go into a little more depth about five of the different “layers”. 1.  Functional regeneration of ecosystems and their services Conservation efforts all over the world have generated success stories yet we are still losing the battle. We have been successful establishing protected areas, but not so much managing them efficiently. We have tried to establish biological corridors, with a few successful sites. We see organic farming growing. The concept of watershed management has been around for several decades. But vast areas, both terrestrial and marine are already degraded and increasing. In my opinion, the biggest challenge to be successful is interlinking all efforts with focus on the territory. We must regenerate diverse and functional landscapes that, as the biosphere reserve model from UNESCO suggests, has a gradient of uses that allows for development through conservation. The focus should be on functioning of ecosystems that provide services for all life, including human. This requires looking at the interactions within the system, more than the components of the system. It requires dynamic approaches since change is now permanent. Functional landscapes require the integration of protected areas into the broader landscape and seascape, especially through connectivity conservation. There is enough knowledge and instruments to effectively achieve this. The integration of different approaches should lead to a “map” of land uses, clearly defining the gradient in the intensity of use, where areas with higher “protection” can serve as seed banks for the regeneration of watersheds, connectivity conservation, and increased resilience to agricultural landscapes. These maps must be designed in a participatory manner with the local communities, since no one better can identify which areas could be set aside for natural regeneration and which areas can benefit from agroecological practices to increase productivity and livelihoods. Technical assistance and orientation are crucial, as long as they are transdisciplinary and holistic. Science should be brought down to the local knowledge complementing any gaps that may arise. On the productive side, we need to shift away from traditional agriculture, especially chemical monoculture agriculture that has proven, as discussed earlier, not to deliver the expected results and the “collateral damage” which has risen beyond logical proportions. We know now that agroecological approaches are not only friendly to environment and human health but can increase productivity once life has been brought back into the soil. Significant mitigation opportunities are an increasingly important byproduct. Integrating organic or regenerative farming with nature has proven beneficial in both directions. Water resources are more resilient with functioning ecosystems, interlinking forests and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 208

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  209 corridors with agriculture results in better pollination, lower temperatures and protection against pests. Fostering diversity is the key. Soils are among the planet’s largest carbon reservoirs and represent an important carbon sink. Increases in soil carbon aid in atmospheric CO2 reduction (Hansen, 2013). The QUIVIRA Coalition states that in the USA, a 2 percent increase in soil carbon, produced by 2 percent of the population with a cost of 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) would solve the CO2, water and food problems with concrete experiences where soil carbon has doubled in less than ten years on a 500-acre organic operation near San Francisco, California (White, 2015). Cattle are considered the most important producer of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially through methane production, and are responsible for more global warming than the transportation system (IPCC, 2014). Natural systems thrive because they are regenerative, but for regeneration to happen, we have to actively support nature, avoiding any future damage and allowing degraded ecosystems to regenerate on their own or assisting them in the process. The modern world has changed societal function significantly. When I was growing up, our playground was “outside” where we would meet neighbors and invent many different games, be it running, cycling or swimming. Obesity was an exception; most kids were very fit. When TV became available, we were allowed one program a day on weekends. Lots of family time was spent playing table games in the living room. On weekends, a family outing to a riverside for picnics was frequent, often with more families coming together. Strong bonds were established. We knew our neighbors well and often organized social events jointly. This situation is still around in a few places but is more and more challenged by modern life. Chats on WhatsApp have replaced conversations; we are overwhelmed with news and information, much of which we did not actually search for. Attention span has become shorter. The dynamics of day-to-day life do not allow for “thinking time”. Purchasing new “stuff ” has replaced lasting happiness with short-term enthusiasm. Family outings are to the mall where kids are deposited at the movies or the food court to consume junk food. Overweight from over consumption is a main issue throughout the population with huge consequences for kids. Society has to find its track again. I do not think we need to go back to what we had, but we do need to strive for a social web that will make communities more resilient to challenges, be these in food, security, health, politics or other. We do not need to restore societies; we need to regenerate them. We need to move to a stage of “self-awareness”, a state of deep consciousness, of active and inclusive participation in defining the future and evolving the present. We need to move from individualism to cooperation, where community rights are above individual rights. The concept of “the commons” must take the front stage. Social transformation will be accelerated by artificial intelligence, changing current jobs and ways of living. We might be evolving to a society where time to think and live are made available as work is taken over by robots. The most important principle to remember is that change is now the rule, not the exception, and it is happening fast, faster than the adaptive capacity of society as a whole. This might lead to another type of distortion, such as what happened with the economy, where a small percentage will “own” the technological advances and have control of society – this has to be avoided! The best

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 209

20/04/2020 14:23

210  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability way is to educate and inform, establishing resilient and robust networks for cooperation and collaboration and, above all, collective decision making, allowing for true democracy. In the application of social regeneration, the main goal is to empower local communities in a way that they assume their own development instead of waiting for outside forces to do so. This means that everybody has to have a voice and this voice has to be heard. Voices also have to be informed, which requires capacity development, information and knowledge sharing, co-creation and permanent co-innovation. The final result has to be collective quality of life – a true state of well-being. The concept of social capital has been used for many decades to describe different forms of relationships within civil society (Foley, 1997). It is often seen as the “social relations that have productive benefits” (Social Capital Research, 2004). The concept of social regeneration was initially used related to urban development (Ginsburg, 1999). Other initiatives in social regeneration have specific focus, such as health, education, community facilities, arts and culture, and family and child well-being (Oireachtas Library & Research Service, 2011) or are focused on social exclusion in deprived neighborhoods (Page, 2006). Some deposit the trust of regenerating society in technological innovation (Social Capital, s.f.). In our holistic approach to regenerative development, we look at social regeneration as the advancement of a community or group of communities towards a more cohesive state where there is bonding and collaboration between people that have affinity but also and very importantly, the inclusion of people with diverse positions, in other words, full inclusion of all. I have experienced that even the “enemies” within a group have contributions to make and not taking them into account usually means that whatever we are trying to achieve will not happen. In working with social issues, a key step is to get a community to define a common vision or goal, something to look forward to. Looking ahead usually makes current differences less relevant, since future challenges are very similar for all, especially when threats such as climate change are taken into account. The Local Agenda 21 methodology (San Roman, 2003) for community strategic planning, often used at municipal level, has delivered good results over the past two decades. It consists in establishing a joint vision in all the different aspects that affect society but more importantly, in the dream, especially the collective dream that can be identified. To reach this stage it is highly important to have youth involved, who still have the ability to dream. In many cases, my experience tells me that adults will establish a vision that usually does not go beyond a list of current problems solved. Youth have the ability to develop more abstract dreams that involve quality of life, leisure, justice and transparency. After the vision is established, the community identifies the current situation, usually a set of problems or challenges that pose a burden to well-being. The key to this is what we define as looking through the “mother-in-law’s eyeglasses”. This metaphor has to do with the critical look at the surroundings. Often, due to permanent exposure or slow changes, a community or individuals get used to a certain aspect and stop noticing it. Good examples are litter within the community, or sewerage running alongside the road in open creeks or deteriorated facades of buildings or run-down playgrounds and schools. It is important to get people to see their reality through these “eyeglasses”. A good tool is handing them cameras or more recently just getting them to use their cell phones to take pictures of “problems” that are shared among everybody.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 210

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  211 The third step is establishing actions or projects to move from the current status to the envisioned one. These actions can be ranked according to requirements, be it complexity, time frame, requirement in human or financial resources, or other aspects. Generally, a majority of the problems identified can be solved without significant resources and they should precede other efforts. Getting some of the problems solved allows empowerment, making it easier to solve more complex problems. Once the solution pathways have been identified, the community assigns people responsible and a time frame for making them happen. Many different approaches have been developed and should be taken into consideration to find the best fit. Successful initiatives such as the Citizen Integration Platform (Plataforma de Integración Ciudadana, 2017), Community Social Planning (Clague, 1993), and many others can complement the process. 2.  Regenerating the economic development model In order to survive, humanity must rapidly shift its economic development model away from the linear economy, which is based on the “take–make–dispose” economy that foresees that by 2020 about 82 billion tons of raw materials are expected to enter the economic system (Ellen Macarthur Foundation, 2013). The resulting ever-increasing rates of extraction and destruction of natural capital to produce goods and services is a clear symptom that the development model is still disconnected from the fact that the proper functioning of ecosystems are the basis for life and for future economic and social well-being. In his book The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, Tom Wessels (2006) analyzes the difference between economic growth and economic development and how political leaders are trapped in a false paradigm, based on the belief that the solution to environmental problems is economic growth, when it is actually primarily responsible for today’s environmental degradation, especially through the ever-increasing extraction of resources and waste generation. Responsible for this trend is a market society that has promoted an overconsumption of disposable products, many of which have planned obsolescence, which started in the automobile industry over 80 years ago (London, 1932) developed to force consumers to buy new products. Alternative national income accounting systems have been proposed such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), which attempts to measure the total health and wellbeing of the economy, society and the environment (Anielski, 2002; Erickson, 2013). The Gross National Happiness (GNH) index was adopted by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan, and measures good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental considerations (Inspired Economist, 2014). The Happy Planet Index (2016) multiplies life expectancy, well-being and inequality and divides the product by a measure of ecological impact. The Better Life Index, developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2016) is based on 11 topics identified as essential in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life. The Social Progress Index has been widely adopted by European countries as well as Costa Rica. It is a global standard based on a range of social and environmental outcome indicators reflecting basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunity (Social Progress Imperative, 2017). In the search of new economic models, several different concepts have come up over the last decades, such as the “circular economy”, one of the first to look deeper into how

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 211

20/04/2020 14:23

212  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability to develop closed loop approaches instead of linear open ones (Pearce, 1989). Again, the need of a systems approach may explain, in part, why it has not been mainstreamed. Vested interests, especially of the corporate sector, could also be limiting the adoption. The circular economy is inspired by nature and its function. Another dimension that must be mainstreamed to achieve regenerative development is what is called “internalizing externalities”, which means contemplating the true cost of nature in economic evaluations. Today, even with all available information, global awareness and changing demands, the value of nature is still not adequately reflected in both political and economic decisions. The “Green Economy” was one of the two specific themes for the Rio120 summit in June 2012 having a focus on how countries can achieve green growth and low carbon economies (UNDESA, 2012). Other alternatives seem more promising, such as Christian Felber’s “Economy for the Common Good” (2015), a holistic vision where success is measured in terms of human needs, quality of life and fulfillment of fundamental values instead of the accumulation of money. There are 20 guiding principles; the third principle has to do with the replacement of GDP by the Common Good Product at the macroeconomic level while the Common Good Balance Sheet (CGBS) will replace the financial balance sheet for companies. There is a shift from competition and greed to collaboration and solidarity (Felber, 2015; Economy for the Common Good, 2013). The Blue Economy (Pauli, 2010) also lays the ground for innovative approaches to alternative economies. Pauli talks about Nature’s MBA – “Mastery of Brilliant Adaptations”. Learning from ecosystems to design new development strategies is the basis of regenerative development. The Blue Economy book gives 100 examples of true alternative examples where both humans and nature benefit. In developing new economic models, we must focus especially on youth. In the past, most education focused on training young professionals for jobs, which were increasingly within the corporate world. Diversity will be the key for the future where small and local will have a huge role, implying that we must develop the basis for entrepreneurship, giving youth the opportunity for generating their own “jobs” which they can build through co-creation processes with youth from around the globe. Business is called to play an active role in correcting the current development path. Corporate Social Responsibility, which in many cases does not go beyond philanthropy, will not produce the desirable results in the time frame required. We need companies to think and act differently. CEOs and shareholders must understand the impending urge for change but, moreover, business must know what to do and how. We must get nature into business plans and business must clearly understand the most relevant challenges. It is our job to offer concrete solutions that will allow any business, independent of scope or size to be an active leader and promote the transition into a new developmental paradigm. 3.  The cultural dimension Culture is the bond of society; it is what differentiates one nationality from another and is built by customary beliefs, values and social practices. It is a regenerative development “layer” that is very intrinsically related to the other layers. Recognition of the importance of culture to conservation and sustainability is growing (Sarmiento et al.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 212

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  213 2015). In “Music and sustainability: organizational cultures towards creative resilience”, Kagan (2016) offers a broad transdisciplinary review of research at the intersection of music and sustainability where “social experience and practice of music can contribute to the cultural dimension of sustainability in communities, organizations and society”. Kirchberg (2016) studies the relationship between arts, culture and artists to understand urban development. Culture is in constant evolution as new technological advances, especially in communication, become available; new aspects are readily “imported” into current culture. Cultural erosion is often tied to media and consumerism. The adoption of other values by a society has its consequences; when there is a detachment from traditional values and behavior through the quick adoption of foreign customs, the “glue” to social relationships within the community gets weaker. Culture and nature are inseparable. Many “natural” landscapes as we know them today have evolved due to human intervention through centuries, even in places we would not imagine. I would dare say that most landscapes with exception of Polar Regions are “managed landscapes”. The Mayas highly modified the landscape according to their needs in what is called the “Maya Forest Garden” (Ford, 2009). Even the Amazon has had “substantial pre-Columbian landscape modification in what is called ‘coupled natural human systems’” (Hechenberger, 2010). This is known to science (Vitousek, 1997) but I think we need to embed it deeper into ecological education and, especially, in landscape approaches to conservation and development. It is well known that European natural landscapes have been shaped by humans over centuries. Many of the Spanish biosphere reserves are now in danger of losing these landscapes due to migration of younger generations to cities and the abandonment of traditional farming activities. The Alps are confronting much the same challenges and I’ve witnessed how cattle grazing has been substituted by government subsidized machine mowing in order to conserve “natural” flora. Ellis and Ramankutty (2008) have proposed the term “anthromes” or “anthropogenic biomes”, having characterized terrestrial biomes based on global patterns of sustained, direct human interaction with ecosystems. It is clear that the analysis of ecosystems and landscapes cannot be carried out ignoring human interaction, which has been the weakness in many traditional ecological studies. These authors state that “Anthropogenic biomes point to a necessary turnaround in ecological science and education . . . Anthropogenic biomes clearly show the inextricable intermingling of human and natural systems almost everywhere on Earth’s terrestrial surface, demonstrating that interactions between these systems can no longer be avoided in any substantial way.” The Ecosystem Approach is clear in setting the framework for action incorporating the human dimension (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2016). We need to get ecologists to work more in the human–nature connection than out in pristine areas. Traditional knowledge’s value in functional landscape management has finally been recognized. Local and indigenous knowledge management systems are fundamental. Scientists have come to realize that local people that grew up in the ecosystems are often the most knowledgeable about their functioning. In my perception, one of the great advantages of local communities, especially indigenous ones, is their holistic view. They look at the system beyond the components and it is the interactions that can maintain or regenerate a system.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 213

20/04/2020 14:23

214  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability An important aspect of working with local people is that we need to bring science to local knowledge. Climate change, for example, is not embedded into many traditional knowledge systems. Generally, the opposite occurs, when researchers study local knowledge to “take it back home”. I have heard renowned scientists affirm that they are “experts” in local indigenous knowledge, after spending only a couple of months within a community. In my experience, this superficial understanding leads to communities not wanting to interact with scientists and I have witnessed how they give wrong information on purpose. Daniel Wahl has published one of the best overviews in his highly recommended book Designing Regenerative Cultures (Wahl, 2016) encompassing some of the most important concepts of regenerative development. 4.  The political realm Over the past decades, both national as well as global politics have been increasingly engulfed by powerful corporate sectors and other interest groups. For politics and policy to change, we need to inspire and educate politicians; we need to work closely with them and influence their decision-making. This involves all layers of regenerative development. To reduce corruption, we need to strengthen ethics, values and promote transparency. The internet has allowed us to follow many political decisions; we now need to use it to influence decisions. We urgently need a new generation of politicians. Young people are mostly wary of politics and few want to get involved, and even fewer actually do it. Nevertheless, more and more are active in changing the way of life. Youth movements are popping up everywhere in the world advocating for alternative transportation, bicycle lanes, organic foods, and greener cities. We need to strengthen their abilities and competences and generate a wave of new young leaders to effectively change the status quo. A few decades ago when media was controlled by powerful sectors, often aligned with government, achieving changes required strong civil participation, often ending in violent protests. Today, social media allow interest groups to come together quickly, often for short-term actions. Some of the first examples are the Indignado movement in Spain, the Arab Spring, or recent anti-Trump protests which have evolved to global movements such as the youth movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg or the Extinction Rebellion movement. Social networking can overthrow governments, but, alone, will not build democracies. Today we have new challenges, such as data mining and the use of big data to influence democratic elections which have gotten unfit leaders into power (Bologna Business School, 2018; Tactical Tech, 2018). With the increased use of artificial intelligence and bots, this will become a major issue which must be addressed in the near future. Our focus must not be limited to global or country politics. Local governments are crucial for landing regenerative landscape approaches and adaptation strategies. This is a great challenge because, often, people who take office at local level (and some at national level) are not well versed in many issues and especially not in complex issues such as climate change. Rotation of staff is another great challenge. Nevertheless, land-use planning happens at the local level though often overridden by higher interests at national or regional level.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 214

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  215 5.  The spiritual element In order to move to regenerative development, we need a change in consciousness; the reestablishment of a deep connection between humans and nature. This is only possible if we are capable of looking beyond our exterior and strengthening our inner-self. For this to happen, we have to open our hearts and minds and this requires a sense of spirituality (see Chapter 1). Spirituality is essential in human life, even in that of scientists. In the Western academic world, as mentioned earlier, whenever the importance of spirituality in modern education is brought up, I usually get the reply: “How can you measure it?” “How can you evaluate if students are ‘learning’ spirituality?” “If you cannot measure it, what’s the point in ‘teaching’ it?” Many years ago while participating in the drafting of the Madrid Action Plan as part of my work at the MAB International Advisory Committee, when I insisted on including spirituality as one of the main factors in the conservation and development realm, a prominent scientist stood up and said “To make you happy, we might as well put a church and a mosque in every biosphere reserve!” Clearly, there is still confusion between spirituality and religiousness. I personally believe that the “mess” the planet is in, especially in terms of global change and current geopolitics, is a result of the lack of spirituality, resulting mainly through blind belief in technological and technocratic approaches. This is for me the main difference between the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2014) and the Pope’s Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ (Francis, 2014), and being a very strong advocate of the SDGs, I consider Laudato si’ the most powerful guide for confronting current and future challenges. The Earth Charter is another powerful instrument that I have been using in education and community work, having been able to take part in the initial discussions at the Rio15 meeting in 1997, though the final launch was on June 29, 2000. It is the largest crosscultural dialogue carried out by civil society. The preamble leaves it clear: We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations. (The Earth Charter, 2000)

REFERENCES Anielski, M. a. (2002). Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) accounting: Relating ecological integrity to human health and well-being. En P. a. Miller, Just Ecological Integrity (págs. 83–97). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc. Bologna Business School. (22 de febrero de 2018). Elections: The Role of Big Data in Political Campaigns. Recuperado de Campbell, B. M. (2017). Agriculture production as a major driver of the Earth system exceeding. Ecology and Society, 22(4), 8. DOI: Capital Institute. (15 de enero de 2017). The Field Guide to a Regenerative Economy. Recuperado de Capital Institute:

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 215

20/04/2020 14:23

216  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability CCAFS-CGIR (3 de marzo de 2016a). CCAFS Scenarios: A Tool to Co-develop Policy and Research. Recuperado de Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security: news/ccafs-scenarios-tool-co-develop-policy-and-research#.WJFP2FPhBaQ. CCAFS-CGIR (2016b). Testing Climate and Agriculture Policy against Future Scenarios. Recuperado el 23 de octubre de 2016, de Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security: https://ccafs.cgiar. org/scenarios/#.WJFPzFPhBaQ. CCAFS-CGIR (2016c). Scaling out Scenario-guided Policy and Investment Planning. Recuperado el 31 de enero de 2017, de Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security: scaling-out-scenario-guided-policy-and-investment-planning#.WJFPylPhBaQ. Ceballos, G. e. (19 de junio de 2016). Accelerated Modern Human-induced Species Losses: Entering the Sixth Mass Extinction. Recuperado de Science advancements: Clague, M. (mayo de 1993). What is Community Social Planning? Recuperado de SPARC BC: http://www.sparc. Davidson, E. (2009). The contribution of manure and fertilizer nitrogen to atmospheric nitrous oxide since 1860. Nature Geoscience, 659–662. Del Vicario, M. e. (2016). The spreading of misinformation online. PNAS, 113(3), 554–559. Diaz, R. a. (2008). Spreading dead zones and consequences for marine ecosystems. Science, 926–929. Economy for the Common Good. (2013). Economy for the Common Good. Recuperado de 20 principles guiding the Economy for the Common Good:​ -economy-common-good. Ellen Macarthur Foundation. (2013). Towards the Circular Economy. Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Ellis, E. a. (2008). Putting people in the map: Anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecololgy and the Environment, 6(8), 439–447. Erickson, J. (2013). Redefining Progress in the Genuine Economy. Recuperado el 31 de enero de 2017, de UVM Outreach: Facebook. (2019). Recuperado el 2 de enero de 2017, de Facebook Newsroom:​ pany-info/. Felber, C. (2015). La Economía del Bien Común. Barcelona: Deusto. Fields, S. (julio de 2004). Global nitrogen: Cycling out of control. Environmental Health Perspectives, 112(10), A556–A563. Foley, M. a. (1997). Escape from politics? Social theory and social capital debate. American Behavioral Scientist, 40(5), 550–561. Ford, A. a. (2009). Origins of the Maya Forest Garden: Maya Resource Management. Journal of Ethnobiology, 29(2), 213–236. Ford, A. a. (2016). The Maya Forest Garden, Eight Millennia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands. New York, NY: Routledge. Fowler, G. (21 de septiembre de 1990). Robert Rodale, 60, dies in crash; publisher backed organic farms. The New York Times. Recuperado el 14 de enero de 2017, de robert-rodale-60-dies-in-crash-publisher-backed-organic-farms.html. Francis, H. F. (2014). On Care for our Common Home. Recuperado de Vatican: francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html. Ginsburg, N. (mayo de 1999). Putting the Social into Urban Regeneration Policy. Recuperado de Local Economy: Girardet, H. (2010). Regenerative Cities. Hamburg: World Future Council. Global Footprint Network. (16 de octubre de 2019). Global Footprint Network. Recuperado de Footprint Network: Hansen, J. e. (2008). Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim? The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, 217–231. Hansen, J. e. (2013). Assessing “dangerous climate change”: Required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature. PLoS ONE. Happy Planet Index. (2016). Happy Planet Index. Recuperado de Happy Planet Index: https://static1.squarespace. com/static/5735c421e321402778ee0ce9/t/578dec7837c58157b929b3d6/1468918904805/Methods+paper_2016. pdf. Hechenberger, M. (2010). Biocultural diversity in the Southern Amazon. Diversity, 2, 1–16. Helbing, D. (2019). Homo socialis: The road ahead. In Towards Digital Enlightenment (págs. 187–200). Cham: Springer. Inspired Economist. (2014). Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness: A Model for Other Countries? Recuperado el 31 de enero de 2017, de Inspired Economist:​ -happiness-a-model-for-other-countries/. Internet World Stats. (16 de octubre de 2019). Internet Usage Statistics. Recuperado de https://www.internet​

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 216

20/04/2020 14:23

Regenerative development as natural solution for sustainability  217 IPCC. (2014). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC. Kagan, S. a. (2016). Music and sustainability: Organizational cultures towards creative resilience – a review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135, 1487–1502. Kirchberg, V. (2016). Künste, Kultur und Künstler im Verständnis der Stadtentwicklung – eine vergleichende. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 14–22. Levy Tacher, S. (2012). Applying traditional knowledge to forest restoration in Lacandon Forest, Mexico. En K. e. Keenelyside, Ecological Restoration for Protected Areas: Principles, Guidelines and Best Practices. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. London, B. (1932). Ending the Depression. Recuperado de London_(1932)_Ending_the_depression_through_planned_obsolescence.pdf. Mang, P. a. (2012). Regenerative development and design. En R. A. Meyers, Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology. Recuperado el 21 de febrero de 2017, de Regenesis Group: wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Encylopedia_Sustainability_Science_Ch303.pdf. Meggers, B. (1996). Amazonia: Man and Culture in a Counterfeit Paradise (Revised Edition). Washington DC: Smithsonian Instittuion Scholarly Press. Müller, E. (2018). Regenerative development in higher education: Costa Rica’s perspective. En N. W. Gleason (ed.), Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (págs. 121–144). Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. Munafo, M. e. (2017). A manifesto for reproducible science. Nature Human Behaviour, 1. NASA GISS. (2017). Global Mean CO2 Mixing Ratios (ppm): Observations. Recuperado el 28 de diciembre de 2016, de National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Fig1A.ext.txt. NASA GISS. (s.f.). GLOBAL Land–Ocean Temperature Index in 0.01 degrees Celsius base period: 1951–1980. Recuperado el 21 de enero de 2017, de National Snow and Ice Data Center. (7 de febrero de 2017). Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis. Recuperado de National Snow and Ice Data Center: NOAA. (s.f.). State of the Climate. Recuperado el 21 de enero de 2017, de NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information: OECD. (2016). OECD Better Life Index. Recuperado de OECD Better Life Index: http://www.oecdbetterlifein​ Oireachtas Library & Research Service. (junio de 2011). Social Regeneration: Beyond Bricks and Mortar. Recuperado de Spotlight: spotlights/SocialRegeneration.pdf. Page, D. (7 de diciembre de 2006). Respect and Renewal: A Study of Neighbourhood Social Regeneration. Recuperado de Joseph Rowntree Foundation:​ bourhood-social-regeneration/. Pauli, G. (2010). The Blue Economy:10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs. Taos, New Mexico: Paradigm Publications. Pearce, D. a. (1989). Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Plataforma de Integración Ciudadana. (16 de enero de 2017). Plataforma integración Ciudadana. Recuperado de PIC Costa Rica: Pounds, J. F. (1999). Biological response to climate change on a tropical mountain. Nature, 398, 611–615. REGENARCH. (15 de enero de 2017). Regenerative Architecture. Recuperado de http://www. Regenesis Group. (25 de febrero de 2015). What’s the Difference between Regeneration and Restoration? Recuperado de Regenesis: Rodale Institute. (17 de abril de 2014). Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change. Recuperado de Rodale Institute. San Roman, L. (2003). Agenda 21 Local. San Jose, Costa Rica: Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional. Sarmiento, F. O. e. (2015). Managing cultural uses and features. En G. Worboys e. (editors). IUCN’s Protected Area Governance and Management (págs. 686–714). Sydney, Australia: ANU Press. Sblendorio, A. A. (15 de enero de 2017). Toward regenerative design: The sustainable development of brownfields. Recuperado de Renewal & Redevelopment: Toward-Regenerative-Design-The-Sustainable-Development-of-Brownfields. Sobota, D. e. (2015). Cost of reactive nitrogen release from human activities to the environment in the United States. Environmental Research Letters, 10(2), 025006. Social Capital. (s.f.). Social Capital. Recuperado el 24 de enero de 2017, de Social Capital: http://www.socialcapi​ Social Capital Research. (7 de enero de 2004). Definitions of Social Capital. Recuperado de Social Capital Research:

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 217

20/04/2020 14:23

218  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Social Progress Imperative. (2017). Social Progress Index. Recuperado de Social Progress Imperative: http:// Steffen, W. e. (2015). Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855. Tactical Tech. (22 de octubre de 2018). Brazilian Elections and the Public–Private Data Trade. Recuperado de The Earth Charter. (2000). The Earth Charter. Recuperado el 17 de enero de 2017, de The Earth Charter Initiative: Times Higher Education World University Rankings. (31 de diciembre de 2016). World University Rankings. Recuperado de THE World University Rankings:​ -university​ -rankings. UNDESA. (2012). A Guidebook to the Green Economy. UNDESA. United Nations. (septiembre de 2014). Sustainable Development Goals. Recuperado de sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/. Veeger, M. (15 de diciembre de 2015). Scenario Guided Development of Costa Rica’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. Recuperado de CGIAR-CCAFS. Vitousek, P. e. (1997). Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science, 277(5325), 494–499. Wahl, D. C. (2016). Designing Regenerative Cultures. Charmouth: Triarchy Press. Wessels, T. (2006). The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont Press. White, C. (2015). 2% solutions for hunger, thirst and CO2. Resilience, Special Issue, 39, 1–3. WMO. (6 de febrero de 2019). WMO confirms past 4 years were warmest on record. Recuperado de World Meteorological Organization:​ -past​ -4-years-were-warmest-record. Woo, F. (3 de septiembre de 2013). Regenerative urban development as a prerequisite for the future of cities. Recuperado de The Guardian:​ -development-future-cities.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 218

20/04/2020 14:23

14.  Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity Nigel Dudley

INTRODUCTION All natural ecosystems have been influenced directly or indirectly by human activity (Dudley, 2011); the idea of “untouched wilderness” or “virgin forests” is increasingly irrelevant. Areas that are popularly assumed to be natural, like the Amazon rainforest, the savannah plains of Africa, and the interior wilderness of Australia, all bear clear signs of human management stretching back over millennia (e.g., Norton-Griffiths, 1979; Redford, 2000; Willis et al., 2004). Even in places where humans seldom, if ever, set foot, influences such as long range air pollution, climate change and invasive species alter the make-up of natural communities and the way in which ecosystems function. Realisation about the extent to which we have shaped life on the planet has led some commentators to argue that the question of naturalness is increasingly irrelevant (Low, 2002), while others seek to incorporate elements of naturalness in their approaches to land and water management. This chapter argues that naturalness is a much more important component of sustainable development than is generally recognised, but that we need to do some fundamental rethinking about what we mean by “natural” if it is to remain a meaningful and useful concept in the future. To focus attention on these changes, use of the concept of authenticity is suggested as an alternative way of viewing the issue more suited for conditions in the twenty-first century.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF A CONSTANTLY CHANGING PLANET Ultimately, what we describe as natural is defined by human perspectives; different people will have very different and often opposing viewpoints. A shorthand approach views natural as a condition that exists without human interference, but this is itself a dangerous concept because it separates humans from the rest of nature, a distinction that has become steadily less tenable over time. Even if we can agree on a definition, “natural” is not a fixed point but rather a sliding scale; naturalness is lost, and less frequently regained, gradually over time through a series of changes, large and small. Semi-natural pastureland is altered through increased grazing pressure and replanting with exotic grasses; the result is less natural because it would not exist without human intervention. Over-fishing alters and destabilises marine ecosystems, many of which also experience levels of invasive species well in excess of those occurring on land (Bax et al., 2003). Some of these changes are gradual and incremental, while others are abrupt. The Amazon may have been influenced by indigenous people for thousands of years but it remains far more natural than the oil palm plantations and cattle grazing areas that are now rapidly creeping over its territory. Conversely, social changes such as the widespread abandonment of upland farming are marking a return of more natural habitats in areas of Europe, Central America and 219

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 219

20/04/2020 14:23

220  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability e­ lsewhere, sometimes after thousands of years in which the land has been carefully shaped by human activity. Falling levels of sulphur dioxide pollution in some developed countries is allowing a return of lichen species absent since the height of the industrial revolution. So, while natural ecosystems and ecological processes are in general retreating, they are more generally in flux, ebbing and flowing with the changing pressures from human society. This is not solely a function of modernism. Some of the most dramatic changes, including large-scale extinction of many large predators, took place long before the beginning of written history. Homo sapiens, ourselves, either drove other human species to extinction or somehow interbred and incorporated their genes into our own: scientists are still debating what happened and we will probably never know for certain (Harari, 2011). Dramatic changes to vegetation occurred thousands of years ago at the beginning of settled agriculture, in the so-called Neolithic Revolution (Cunliffe, 2015, p. 44). Many of today’s “natural” ecosystems evolved in the presence of humans, making a sharp distinction of “before” and “after” completely meaningless. For example, the “wildwood” of Europe only re-established after the last ice age, when humans were already present (Mithen, 2006), and the giant saguaro cactus habitats of the Sonoran desert, iconic of American desert wilderness, did not develop until long after human groups were living in the region (Philips and Comus, 2000). Furthermore, disruptors such as climate change and invasive species make the concept of a static ecosystem increasingly irrelevant (Harris et al., 2006; Beaumont et al., 2007); the “original” ecosystem may no longer suit conditions now existing at the site. What concern is this to sustainable development? In a world where a billion people still go hungry, where food and water security are declining and where the richest eight people on the planet own the same wealth as the poorest half (Oxfam, 2017), is there time to worry about an apparently academic issue like the level of naturalness? In fact, far from being the preserve of scientists and dreamers, natural ecosystems are increasingly recognised as critical to the future of the planet. Natural ecosystems play a huge role in national consciousness, in cultures, religions, and spiritual and aesthetic values. But they also have practical and irreplaceable values to human society. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment demonstrated the critical role that ecosystem services play in supporting human society, and also noted that 70 per cent of these services are declining (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), 2005). A growing body of research suggests that more natural ecosystems have important advantages over altered and degraded ecosystems in their ability to provide effective ecosystem services (Díaz et al., 2006; Cardinale et al., 2012) and to demonstrate resilience to pressures such as climate change (Elmqvist et al., 2003). Amongst the ecosystem functions where naturalness plays a critical role (Peterken, 1998) are: ●

Ecosystem services: some, although not all, ecosystem services increase with the naturalness of the ecosystem (Chazdon, 2008; Rey Benayas et al., 2009). This is particularly true for those drawing on a wide range of genetic material, for instance crop wild relatives (ICEM, 2014) or pharmaceuticals (Shanley and Luz, 2003), and those that depend on strong ecosystem functioning, such as the role of mangrove forests in supporting fish spawning and breeding (Rönnbäck, 1999). There are uncountable ecosystem services associated with thousands of species and ecological interactions. Some are recognised at a global scale, while others are known only to

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 220

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  221




a small group of people who have learned a particular value, such as the medicinal benefits of a plant that is confined to a small area of the planet. As society becomes more homogenous, much of this detailed and localised traditional ecological knowledge is being lost. Additionally, degradation and biodiversity loss leads to loss of many ecosystem services and to a decline in food and water security (Díaz et al., 2006), with impacts for instance on crop yield, fodder, fisheries, and the ability of agricultural systems to resist exotic plant pests and pathogens (Cardinale et al., 2012), and to a general decline in the resilience of ecosystem functions (Oliver et al., 2015). This has negative consequences for everyone, but perhaps impacts poorest people most severely (Agrawal and Redford, 2006). Links between naturalness and ecosystem services are increasingly recognised. Biodiversity conservation: disturbed and degraded ecosystems tend to lose specialised species: in forests for example this might include species associated with old trees, dead wood (Maser et al., 1988) and specialised habitat niches such as mires. While disturbance can bring an influx of “new” species, these will tend to be generalist species, such as weed plants and invasive animals (Haeussler et al., 2002), which are widely distributed. Replacement of natural ecosystems with managed systems almost invariably results in a decline of species; in the most diverse areas any significant loss of habitat will likely result in permanent extinction of species with a very local distribution. Given that scientists believe only a small number of the world’s total species have yet been described, many losses are taking place without us even being aware of what is disappearing. Cultural and aesthetic services: in addition to its utilitarian and conservation values, naturalness is also a significant factor in the way that people perceive and experience natural habitats and an important component of several aesthetic and cultural aspects of ecosystems. Natural habitats are important in defining how different cultures view themselves, informing myths, arts and societies. They are enormously influential in the appeal of places for tourism and recreation and the way in which individuals view their own surroundings. Most recreational visitors instinctively appear to prefer a “natural forest” to a plantation for example, although both can have aesthetic values, and understanding of the difference between the two is often very incomplete (Hull et al., 2001). Natural habitats also feature in many faiths, such as the many forests, lakes and mountains that function as sacred natural sites (Verschuuren et al., 2010). Resilience: there is an increasing body of evidence suggesting that naturalness is also closely related to the ability of ecosystems to withstand rapid environmental change, including climate change (e.g. Peterson et al., 1998; Loreau et al., 2001). Ecologists distinguish between engineering resilience, the ability of an ecosystem to return to its pre-disturbance state and ecological resilience, also known as equilibrium dynamics, the ability of an ecosystem to absorb impacts, change and adapt to maintain itself below a threshold where the system changes into a different state altogether (Walker et al., 2004). Engineering resilience becomes less likely under climate change, while ecological resilience reflects a more approximate process, perhaps not exactly the same but functioning in much the same way and also recognises that ecosystems may exist in more than one stable state (Schroder et al., 2005). The issue of resilience is discussed in greater detail below.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 221

20/04/2020 14:23

222  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

BUT WHAT IS NATURAL? Efforts aimed at maintaining or recovering naturalness are faced with an immediate problem, which is one of definition, and thus in turn of goals and objectives. “Naturalness” is a poorly defined concept and is difficult to apply in practice because a combination of data scarcity, the scale of historical change and rapid altering environmental conditions often lead to a poor understanding about what constitutes a natural ecosystem in a particular place. More fundamentally, as hinted at above, there are philosophical challenges in defining natural. For practical purposes it is often interpreted as the kind of ecosystems present before human intervention, or, not infrequently in colonised countries before European intervention, a practice that has been increasingly criticised for ignoring the management carried out by other cultures (e.g. Bjorkmann and Velland, 2010). Another approach is to regard a natural ecosystem as one that has evolved through a sequence of natural succession (Schuck et al., 2002). Anderson (1991) offers a more complete description of a natural forest: (1) the degree to which the system would change if humans were removed; (2) the amount of cultural energy required to maintain the functioning of the current ecosystem; and (3) the complement of native species present compared with those prior to human settlement. This could be applied to any ecosystem. Rossi and Vallauri (2013) provide detailed guidance on identifying natural temperate forests in the field. But none of these definitions really tackles the question of how to interpret the impact of species moved around the world through human actions: places like New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii have undergone massive change as a result of both accidental and deliberate introduction of non-native species and virtually no part of the world is unaffected by this phenomenon. As a result, many different interpretations are applied to words like “natural” and “wild”; this problem multiplies when such words are translated into other languages. “Natural” and “nature” mean dramatically different things in different cultures, socioeconomic groups and professions, with the emphasis changing from precise descriptions based around Western science to much more general concepts rooted in culture, mythology, and history. All the terms resonate, positively or negatively, with a proportion of stakeholders, further complicating attempts at definitions. Due to the focus on forest conservation in the last 20 years, the definitional debate has been particularly acute regarding natural forests; some attempts at describing natural forests are given in Table 14.1: despite its length this list is illustrative rather than comprehensive. It is compiled from the intense debates about forest definitions during the latter part of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century. To some extent this continues today with, for instance, arguments continuing about whether or not a mono-species plantation should be regarded as a “forest”. This basket of definitions gives some idea of the many different ways of approaching the subject. Some draw on a Western scientific perspective by including components such as species composition or degree of disturbance; some refer back to the history of an ecosystem and attempt to incorporate social and cultural expectations. Many of the terms come weighted with preconceptions and expectations: a word like “wilderness” is controversial, being a powerfully positive image for some conservationists but seen very negatively by other people, particularly indigenous peoples who see it applied to land that they have managed for centuries and many farming groups who regard it as a sign of

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 222

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  223 Table 14.1  Ways of defining naturalness in forests and more generally in ecosystems Definition

Explanation and sources

Definition by degree of disturbance Virgin forest Forests never significantly altered by humans: “original in its structure and has developed untouched by humans under natural conditions. Virgin forest is not limited to the climax stage, but most virgin forests are old-growth forests. The terms ‘primeval forest’, ‘primary forest’ or ‘pristine forest’ are often used interchangeably with the term ‘virgin forest’” (Parviainen, 2005). Natural forest There are several definitions. Broadly, forests that regenerate with natural succession but can show evidence of past human influence (Parviaianen, 2005); in other words a forest that is still functioning as a natural ecosystem but which has been affected by humans in the past. Semi-natural forest Consists of tree species which would occur naturally on a specific site and show similarities to primary forest. They can be regarded as a reconstruction of the natural forest cover achieved by using various silvicultural practices (Schuck et al., 2002). Frontier forest Forests large enough to support a full range of indigenous species with structure and function shaped by natural events, defined by the World Resources Institute. “Relatively undisturbed and big enough to maintain all their biodiversity, including viable populations of the wide-ranging species associated with each forest type. Criteria include: primarily forested; natural structure, composition and heterogeneity; dominated by indigenous tree species” (Bryant et al., 1997). Intact forest Defined as “an unbroken expanse of natural ecosystems within areas of  landscape current forest extent, without signs of significant human activity, and having an area of at least 500 km2” (Potapov et al., 2008). Undisturbed by Definition used by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture  man Organization (FAO) and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) amongst others. Defined as “forests where processes, composition of species and structure remain natural or have been restored” (MCPFE Liaison Unit and FAO, 2003). In practice this is interpreted in Europe as undisturbed for at least 200 years. Wildwood “Wholly natural woodland unaffected by Neolithic or later civilisation” (Rackham, 1976: a definition used in the UK). Definition by age or stage in ecological development Old-growth forests Forests with mature structural and functional characteristics. There are various definitions, e.g. “stand in which the relic trees have died and which consists entirely of trees which grew from beneath” (Oliver and Larson, 1990) and (for the Pacific Northwest of the USA): “A forest stand usually at least 180–220 years old with moderate to high canopy cover; a multilayered multi-species canopy dominated by large over-storey trees . . .” (Johnson et al., 1991). Ancient forests Forests that display characteristics associated with primary forests but with no proof that they have always been undisturbed: precise age limits to be considered ancient woodland vary but in the UK 400 years is commonly used (Kirby, 1992). Some ancient forests may have been managed for long periods, such as the old coppice forests of Europe, and some wild species may have adapted to this type of disturbance.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 223

20/04/2020 14:23

224  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Table 14.1  (continued) Definition

Explanation and sources

Primary woodland  / Primary forest / Primeval forest / Primary-type forest Historical forest

Forest that has existed continuously since original forest first developed; various definitions, e.g. “Land that has been wooded continuously since the original-natural woodlands were fragmented. The character of the woodland varies according to how it has been treated” (Peterken, 2002). Forests which have experienced no change (Hobbs et al., 2013).

Definition by composition Native forests Meaning is variable: often forests consisting of species originally found in the area – may be young or old, established or naturally occurring. In Australia, often used as if it were primary woodland (Clark, 1992). Climax forests The final stage of successional development on a forest site under specific climatic and other environmental conditions, leading to a more or less stable equilibrium underlying only minor changes in species composition (Schuck et al., 2002). Definition of wilderness by extent of geographic isolation Wilderness A large area of unmodified or slightly modified land, and/or sea, retaining its natural character and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition (Dudley, 2008). Wilderness in Europe A wilderness is an area governed by natural processes. It is composed of native habitats and species, and large enough for the effective ecological functioning of natural processes. It is unmodified or only slightly modified and without intrusive or extractive human activity, settlements, infrastructure or visual disturbance (Wild Europe, 2013). Definition by multiple factors High conservation Forests that meet thresholds relating to one or more of the following  value forests criteria: species diversity, landscape-level ecosystems and mosaics, (HCVF) ecosystems and habitats, ecosystem services, community needs, and cultural values (Jennings et al., 2003). Used in Forest Stewardship Council certification and other certification schemes relating to forests. Hybrid forests Forests that have experienced reversible changes (Hobbs et al., 2013). Novel forests Novel forests (also termed “emerging forests”) result when species occur in combinations and relative abundances that have not occurred previously within a given biome. Key characteristics are novelty, in the form of new species combinations and the potential for changes in ecosystem functioning, and human agency, in that these forest ecosystems are the result of deliberate or inadvertent human action (based on definition of novel ecosystems in Hobbs et al., 2006). These changes are likely to be irreversible (Hobbs et al., 2013).

having lost control over sound management of land (Cronon, 1996; Callicott, 2000). It is virtually impossible to find a term that will appeal to everybody. Definitions of naturalness take on an additional edge when ecological restoration is considered: can a restored ecosystem ever be considered natural? Wilderness purists would

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 224

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  225 say no, that once altered the precise mixture of species and ecological interactions will never be regained. Others adopt a more pragmatic approach. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) refers to restoration as regaining the “historical trajectory” of an ecosystem, which takes account of the historical ecosystem but recognises that changing conditions may result in a different ecosystem after restoration (SER International Science and Policy Working Group, 2004). Richard Hobbs and colleagues go further by proposing that restoration needs to adapt to the reality of so-called “novel ecosystems” (Hobbs et al., 2009), and distinguish three states: historical ecosystems, where conditions remain essentially unchanged; hybrid ecosystems, where there have been significant but reversible changes; and novel ecosystems, where changes are effectively not irreversible (Hobbs et al., 2013). Others challenge these concepts (e.g. Murcia et al., 2014). During a period of intense debate about the goals and objectives of restoration, the role of “naturalness” in this discussion remains in flux and will be returned to below.

AUTHENTICITY AS A WAY OF DESCRIBING NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS Most the definitions quoted are predicated, at some level, on the assumption that humans are not part of the ecosystem, defining naturalness as “before humans” or “without humans”, or similar. Many also assume that there is an “original” habitat that can act as a baseline to guide restoration efforts. Both these ideas are becoming less tenable as our understanding grows about the variable nature of ecological systems, the impact of changing climate and the extent to which human societies have already altered apparently “natural systems”. As noted above, in many cases we cannot even identify the predisturbance ecosystem. The common use of pre-modern settlement in colonised countries such as Australia or North America is now recognised as inadequate because earlier human inhabitants had already made major changes before European settlers arrived (Flannery, 1994, 2001). Many other “natural” ecosystems have developed since humans have been present and actively altering ecological processes. For example, some of the apparently “natural” forests of Borneo have been planted (Marjokorpi and Ruokolainen, 2003). It is increasingly recognised that we need a different and more flexible definition of naturalness for the ecological conditions existing today, which have been so fundamentally influenced by human activity that some scientists have dubbed the current epoch the Anthropocene (e.g. Steffen et al., 2007). The term authenticity (Dudley, 1996, 2011) recognises the importance of naturalness within an altered, and still altering, ecosystem. A suggested definition of authenticity from an ecological and social perspective is: a resilient ecosystem with the level of biodiversity and range of ecological interactions that would be predicted as a result of the combination of historic, geographic and climatic conditions in a particular location. (Dudley, 2011)

In other words, the term authenticity as used here views naturalness from filters that incorporate what is known from the ecological history of the site; what can be inferred from knowledge of geography, soils, climate and conditions in similar ecosystems; and what can be predicted from projections of future climate change and other environmental pressures.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 225

20/04/2020 14:23

226  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The definition emerges from earlier work by IUCN, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on forest quality (Dudley et al., 2006). Proposals from Clewell (2000) that the emphasis of restoration should be to restore to natural authenticity rather than historical authenticity were also useful in developing these ideas. Authenticity aims to provide a pragmatic and attainable objective for a range of situations, from ecosystems which remain relatively unchanged (e.g. climate refugia, old-growth forests, some remote islands) to those that have already been changed, or are expected soon to change to a dramatic extent, for example due to changing climate. Where will species go as their ecological niches move or disappear? How will ecosystems like forests develop under conditions of dramatically different hydrology, fire frequency and weather patterns? Authenticity embraces the change and proposes that from the perspective of biodiversity conservation, the ecosystems which emerge should as far as possible be managed to retain as full an array of the species present before disturbance as possible, but accepts that the mixture and location of these species may alter. In other words, within conservation strategies on a landscape scale (and here “landscape” may be a very large unit) we should be aiming to minimise loss of species diversity and ecosystem functions, but on a site scale many ecosystems will inevitably be transformed. Table 14.2 below outlines some critical influencing factors. Authenticity therefore focuses on broad scale management of flexible, durable and resilient ecosystems composed of the variety of species that might be predicted from the past ecological history and the current climatic and geographic conditions. There is less concern about whether or not those species were present in some (largely hypothetical) “original” ecosystem. This also results in a different perspective on non-native species, introduced by humans. In many cases these will make little difference. Sometimes they will replace an existing species and fulfil much the same ecological function – something likely to upset wilderness purists but not a change that will undermine or alter a whole ecosystem. In a minority of cases, a species will be so disruptive that major control efforts Table 14.2  Elements of authenticity within an ecosystem Element



●  ●  ●  ● 

Pattern Functioning

●  ●  ● 


●  ● 


●  ●  ● 


●  ● 


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 226


Tree species Keystone and landscape species Microhabitats Absence of alien invasive species Natural mix of vegetation age classes Hydrological integrity Functioning food web Disturbance regimes Regeneration processes Pests Pollution Climate change Development of a landscape mosaic Protecting the most natural habitats Ability to withstand ecosystem pressures and change

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  227 might be justified, such as those underway in New Zealand to eradicate introduced mammals that are driving (or have already driven) ground nesting bird species to extinction.

PROTECT, MANAGE AND RESTORE If we accept that large natural ecosystems are a critical element of a sustainable society, we are left with many questions, such as: how much natural ecosystem do we need; how should these ecosystems be managed; and who makes the decisions? A moment’s consideration will show that most conservation “targets”, such as those set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, are an uneasy mixture of science, culture and politics; there are no clear-cut answers. In general, it is accepted that we need to retain a proportion of our natural ecosystems in as close to their original state as possible, increase the effectiveness of management on much of the remainder and, increasingly, act to restore ecosystems that have been altered or degraded to an extent where they no longer function to support human society. There is a long debate about what proportion of the planet’s land and water should be under different management regimes, which does not concern us here. However, the emphasis placed on these various strategies could be heavily influenced by the way in which concepts of naturalness or authenticity are applied. Table 14.3 contrasts the approaches. The concept of authenticity recognises the importance of related concepts such as intactness and naturalness to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and cultural values, but sets them within a more flexible framework, suitable for a global ecosystem that has already changed enormously and is likely to change even more in the near future. Authenticity could thus become an over-arching principle to define some important aspects of conservation management. We return to these issues below, but first focus on the opening few words of the definition of authenticity, and discuss what resilience means in the context of restoration.

AUTHENTICITY AND RESILIENCE Key to conservation management decisions today is the question of how any particular ecosystem will maintain itself – in other words its resilience – in changed environmental conditions. We use resilience here to refer to the ability of an ecosystem to maintain its functions (biological, chemical, and physical) in the face of disturbance (Gunderson, 2000). It is defined variously as: “the amount of change a system can undergo without changing state” (IPCC TAR, 2001), or: “a tendency to maintain integrity when subject to disturbance” (UNDP, 2005). Climate change has focused attention on resilience because conservation biologists are trying to predict what projected changes to ecosystems will mean to their constituent species and ecological interactions. A climate resilient ecosystem is more likely to retain its ecological functioning and ecosystem services in the face of rapid climate change. Adaptation measures such as ecosystem-based adaptation (Colls et al., 2009), community-based adaptation (Ayers and Forsyth, 2009) and the more generalised climate adaptation (Lim and Spanger-Siegfried, 2004, see also Clewell and Aronson, 2013) will all require measures

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 227

20/04/2020 14:23

228  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Table 14.3  Contrasting priorities of conservation aimed at naturalness and authenticity Value





Aims to manage for as close to an “original” array of species as possible, eliminating invasive or introduced species and possibly reintroducing native species that have disappeared.

The replacement of native red squirrels by introduced grey squirrels in parts of Europe is a major issue for naturalness, but less so for authenticity, as grey squirrels fulfil (approximately) the same ecological function (MacKinnon, 1978; Gurnell et al., 2004).

Ecosystem services

Aims to maintain and often enhance ecosystem services such as soil formation and stabilisation, flood mitigation and shoreline protection. Particular focus on role of natural ecosystems. Aims to maintain a natural ecosystem that is of sufficient size and integrity to have the maximum chance of maintaining itself in the face of rapid climate change.

Aims to manage a rich, balanced ecosystem. Little concern with removing noninvasive introduced species; successful introduced species may also be tolerated if they fill an ecological niche and do not out-compete native species or upset ecological stability. Focus on removal of invasive species that disrupt major parts of that ecosystem. Aims to maintain ecosystem services such as soil formation and stabilisation, flood mitigation, shoreline protection. Greater tolerance of hybrid or novel ecosystems, such as tree plantations, wellmanaged cropping systems, so long as they supply ecosystem services. Aims to maintain a seminatural ecosystem that will be resilient to degradation under conditions of climate change. Acceptance that many ecosystems will change: a conservation strategy might, for instance, include a mixture of small areas maintained in as close to an original state as possible and other areas allowed to change to meet new conditions. Focus on a wider involvement in nature, new and old, by a wide variety of stakeholders including those with little or no interest in ecology or natural history, with an acceptance of the importance and aesthetic appeal of many cultural landscapes, introduced species etc.

In Europe, eroded peat bogs are being restored to reduce carbon loss and prevent soil erosion. Naturalness would focus on reintroducing all original species (e.g., some are lost due to air pollution) while authenticity would focus simply on creating a robust peat ecosystem with less focus on regaining the full array of original species.


Cultural and aesthetic services

Focus on building interest in and support for “original” ecosystems such as old-growth forests.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 228

Protection of forested watersheds would fit both approaches; in the case of management based around authenticity the composition of the forest would be relatively less important so long as hydrological functions were sustained.

In the Mediterranean region, most restoration focuses on maintaining a cultural landscape (vineyards, cork and coppiced oak forests, scrub), which fits well with concepts of authenticity and with cultural expectations. Restoration for naturalness would attempt to bring back “pre-human” forest that would look very different (Schnitzler et al., 2008).

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  229 to maintain the resilience of ecosystems, so that they can continue to supply essential services and where possible support native biodiversity under new climatic conditions. However, scientists remain uncertain about the impact of different climate change scenarios on ecosystem functioning, due to the complex biological and physical feedback loops involved. We still have little experience in how to manage ecosystems to maintain resilience. So while the importance of resilience is increasingly recognised, the practical implications of including it within ecosystem management objectives remain only very partially understood. Nonetheless, the emerging science of resilience has identified several important principles. One is the link between diversity and resilience: more diverse ecosystems are likely to be more resilient (Peterson, 1998; Loreau et al., 2001; Carpenter et al., 2006; Thompson et al., 2009). Next is the observation that, under conditions of rapid climate change, restored ecosystems in many parts of the world are unlikely to return to their pre-disturbance state, leading to the conclusion that we need to adopt more open-ended restoration goals (Heller and Hobbs, 2014). Findings about resilience fit within a broader understanding about diversity and ecosystem function. There is growing evidence that diverse, functioning, authentic ecosystems are likely to be efficient at sequestering carbon, supplying other ecosystem services, and withstanding rapid environmental change. Many researchers propose connections between high biodiversity and efficient provision of ecosystem services, and between high biodiversity and high ecosystem productivity (Thompson et al., 2009). There are also suggestions that ecosystems with high carbon often also have high biodiversity (Kapos et al., 2008). The science of these interactions remains unclear and simplistic links between biodiversity and ecosystem function have been criticised (Lasky et al., 2014). One hypothesis is that species richness increases ecosystem resilience by increasing the interdependencies and robustness of the system (the stability–diversity hypothesis, Doak et al., 1998). Other researchers argue that it is not species richness but functional diversity that plays the pivotal role (Díaz and Cabido, 2001): ecosystems should thus be managed for their functions, and species that maintain biological functions (such as seed dispersers) should be the target of management. These ideas are still emerging and will become clearer over the next few years. The concept of authenticity, as applied to biodiversity conservation and restoration, aims to maintain both overall species diversity and ecosystem functioning in the wider landscape, while acknowledging and accepting change at the site level; therefore it addresses resilience under either hypothesis.

CONCLUSIONS The ecological, social and cultural importance of natural ecosystems is increasingly recognised (Sarmiento and Hitchner, 2017); conservation is increasingly seen as a necessity rather than a luxury. But “naturalness” remains a slippery social construct that has many different interpretations, and remains poorly understood. Some of the older definitions, which rely on reference to an “original” ecosystem, do not work in the context of our growing understanding about environmental history and rapid environmental change. Their application, particularly through top-down processes, has fostered resentment and resistance.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 229

20/04/2020 14:23

230  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The definition of authenticity proposed here could provide a useful way of thinking about managing and measuring components of naturalness at site and landscape scales. Care will need to be taken to define more precisely what this means in practical management terms. For example, it will be important to distinguish between alien species that are ecologically neutral and not problematic in an authentic ecosystem, and invasive alien species that are a problem: a cautionary approach is needed along with recognition that status may change over time. For those wanting to include consideration of naturalness or authenticity when they are planning or implementing management of land or water, the following steps may all be useful: 1.  Gap analysis: what components of authenticity does the forest landscape already contain and what is missing, threatened or scarce? An expanded version of Table 14.2 could be used as a checklist, and various tools for assessing naturalness and authenticity exist (e.g. Dudley, 2011; Rossi and Vallauri, 2013). A clear picture of the status and ideally the trends in ecosystem authenticity is a necessary perquisite for management decision and for setting a baseline against which to measure success or failure. 2.  Finding out what people want: to return to the chapter title, the challenge is not just to create a sustainable ecosystem but to do so in a way that is based around sustainable relationships. In other words, success isn’t just about the physical aspects of creating a balanced ecology but also the social and political aspects of doing so in an equitable manner. Such approaches imply a robust participatory process, negotiations and trade-offs. Bottom-up approaches increase the time and the expertise needed amongst the initiators of such projects but also provide a stronger and more durable result. 3.  Management approaches: how can authenticity be retained? The standard conservation approach to maintaining natural ecosystems is through some form of protected area, which can range from strictly protected reserves to protected landscapes and seascapes, including settled human communities and places with management systems compatible with biodiversity conservation (Dudley, 2008). More recently, other approaches have also emerged, including “other effective area-based conservation measures” (Jonas et al., 2014), biological corridors, buffer zones and many forms of tenure involving indigenous peoples and local communities. 4.  Restoration: if authenticity has been lost, how can the missing elements be returned most efficiently, at what quantity and scale are they needed, and where best in the landscape should they be restored? This requires consideration of the main ecosystem services required and what this implies in terms of total area, type of ecosystem, connectivity between patches of natural habitat, etc. Systematic conservation planning tools can help to develop restoration plans. 5.  Measuring success: how can protection, management and restoration be monitored (criteria and indicators)? This will require elements not only of factors such as total area of remaining habitat, but also changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services. With the impossibility of measuring everything, it will be important to choose key indicators that together capture an overall picture of the success or failure of the project. 6.  Making plans: what steps are needed and in which order? Once needs and objectives are identified, these should be incorporated into a detailed management plan, with priorities, costs, necessary skills and equipment, and a realistic timeline.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 230

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  231 7.  Adaptive management: what to do if things don’t work out as expected? A good monitoring system is a critical part of management because it allows those involved to track progress over time and make changes if necessary. Management programmes must inevitably remain flexible and adaptable (Hughes et al., 2012); as we learn more about how ecosystems are responding to climate change for instance, strategies may need to be adapted. The world has already accumulated many years of experience in all of the aspects outlined above. Combining them and applying at scale is still challenging, however; each initiative is necessarily an experiment. Bringing naturalness or authenticity into the process will in some cases be an additional but necessary complication.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Parts of this work were drawn together for a project undertaken for IUCN; I am grateful for the financial and intellectual support.

REFERENCES Agrawal, A. and K. Redford (2006). Poverty, Development, and Biodiversity Conservation: Shooting in the dark? Working Paper number 26. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York. Anderson, J.E. (1991). A conceptual framework for evaluating and quantifying naturalness. Conservation Biology 3 (3): 347–352. Ayers, J. and T. Forsyth (2009). Community based adaptation to climate change. Environment, Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 51 (4): 22–31. Bax, N., A. Williamson, M. Aguero, E. Gonzalez, and W. Geeves (2003). Marine invasive alien species: A threat to global biodiversity. Marine Policy 27: 313–323. Beaumont, L.J., A.J. Pitman, M. Poulsen, and L. Hughes (2007). Where will species go? Incorporating new advances in climate modelling into projections of species distributions. Global Change Biology 13: 1368–1385. Bjorkmann, A.D. and M. Velland (2010). Defining historical baselines for conservation: Ecological changes since European settlement on Vancouver Island, Canada. Conservation Biology 24 (6): 1559–1568. Bryant, D., D. Nielsen, and L. Tangley (1997). The Last Frontier Forests: Ecosystems and economies on the edge. World Resources Institute, Washington DC. Callicott, J.B. (2000). Contemporary criticisms of the received wilderness idea. In: D.N. Cole, S.F. McCool, W.A. Freimund and J. O’Loughlin (eds.) Wilderness Science in a Time of Change Conference – Volume 1: Changing Perspectives and Future Directions; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ogden, UT, 24–31. Cardinale, B.J., J.E. Duffy, A. Gonzalez, D.U. Hooper, C. Perrings, P. Venail, A. Narwani, G.M. Mace, D. Tilman, D.A. Wardle, A.P. Kinzig, G.C. Daily, M. Loreau, J.B. Grace, A. Larigauderie, D., S. Srivastava, and S. Naeem (2012). Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature 486: 59–67. Carpenter, S.E., E.M. Bennett, and G.D. Peterson (2006). Scenarios for ecosystem services: An overview. Ecology and Society 11: 29. Chazdon, R.L. (2008). Beyond deforestation: Restoring forests and ecosystem services on degraded lands. Science 320: 1458–1459. Clark, J. (1992). The Future of Native Forest Logging in Australia. Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies Working Paper 1992/1. The Australian National University, Canberra. Clewell, A.F. (2000). Restoring for natural authenticity. Restoration Ecology 18 (4): 216–217. Clewell, A.F. and J. Aronson (2013). Ecological Restoration: Principles, values and structure for an emerging profession. Island Press, Covela, California. Colls, A., N. Ash, and N. Ikkala (2009). Ecosystem-based Adaptation: A natural response to climate change. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 231

20/04/2020 14:23

232  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Cronon, W. (1996). The trouble with wilderness: or, getting back to the wrong nature. Environmental History 1 (1): 7–28. Cunliffe, B. (2015). Beyond Steppe, Desert and Ocean: The birth of Eurasia. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Díaz S. and M. Cabido (2001). Vive la différence: Plant functional diversity matters to ecosystem processes. TRENDS in Ecology & Evolution 16: 646–655. Díaz, S., J. Fargione, F. Stuart Chapin III and D. Tilman (2006). Biodiversity loss threatens human well-being. PLoS Biology 4(8): e277. DOI: 10.1371/journal. pbio.0040277. Doak, D.F., D. Bigger, E.K. Harding, M.A. Marvier, R.E. O’Malley, and D. Thomson (1998). The statistical inevitability of stability–diversity relationships in community ecology. The American Naturalist 151: 264–276. Dudley, N. (1996). Authenticity as a means of measuring forest quality, Biodiversity Letters 3: 6–9. Dudley, N. (ed.) (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. Dudley, N. (2011). Authenticity in Nature: Making choices about the naturalness of ecosystems. Earthscan, London. Dudley, N., R. Schlaepfer, W. Jackson, J.P. Jeanrenaud, and A. Stolton (2006). Forest Quality: Assessing forests at a landscape scale. Earthscan, London. Elmqvist, T., C. Folke, M. Nyström, G. Peterson, B. Walker, and J. Norberg (2003). Response diversity, ecosystem change, and resilience. Frontiers of Ecology and Environment 1 (9): 488–494. Flannery, T. (1994). The Future Eaters. Reed New Holland, Sydney. Flannery, T. (2001). The Eternal Frontier: An ecological history of North America and its peoples. William Heinemann, London. Gunderson, L.H. (2000). Ecological resilience – in theory and application. Annual Review of Ecological Systematics 31: 425–439. Gurnell, J., L.A. Wauters, P.W.W. Lurz and G. Tosi (2004). Alien species and interspecific competition: Effects of introduced eastern grey squirrels on red squirrel population dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology 73: 26–35. Haeussler, S., L. Bedford, A. Leduc, Y. Bergeron, and J.M. Kranabetter (2002). Silvicultural disturbance severity and plant communities of the southern Canadian boreal forest. Silva Fennica 36 (1): 307–327. Harari, Y.V. (2011). Sapiens: A brief history of humankind. Vintage, London. Harris, J.A., R.J. Hobbs, E. Higgs and J. Aronson (2006). Ecological restoration and climate change. Restoration Ecology 14 (2): 170–176. Heller, N.E. and R.J. Hobbs (2014). Development of a natural practice to adapt conservation goals to global change. Conservation Biology 28 (3): 696–704. Hobbs, R.J., S Arico, J. Aronson, J.S. Baron, P. Bridgewater, V.A. Cramer, P.R. Epstein, J.J. Ewel, C.A. Klink, A.E. Lugo, D. Norton, D. Ojima, D.M. Richardson, E.W. Sanderson, F. Valladares, M. Vilà, R. Zamora and M. Zobel (2006). Novel ecosystems: Theoretical and management aspects of the new ecological world order. Global Ecology and Biogeography 15: 1–7. Hobbs, R.J., E. Higgs, and J.A. Harris (2009). Novel ecosystems: Implications for conservation and restoration. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24 (11): 599–605. Hobbs, R.J., E. Higgs, and C. Hall (eds.) (2013). Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the new ecological world order. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. Hughes, F.M.R., W.M. Adams, and P.A. Stroh (2012). When is open-endedness desirable in restoration projects? Restoration Ecology 20 (3): 291–295. Hull, R.B., D.P. Robertson, and A. Kendra (2001). Public understandings of nature: A case study of local knowledge about “natural” forest conditions. Society and Natural Resources 14: 325–340. ICEM. (2014). USAID Mekong ARCC Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Study on Protected Areas. Prepared for the United States Agency for International Development by ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management, Bangkok, Thailand. IPCC TAR. (2001). Climate Change 2001: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. IPCC Third Assessment Report. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Jennings, S., R. Nussbaum, N. Judd, and T. Evans (2003). The High Conservation Value Forest Toolkit. ProForest, Oxford. Johnson, K.N., J.F. Franklin, J.W. Thomas, and J. Gordon (1991). Alternatives for Management of LateSuccessional Forests of the Pacific Northwest. A Report to the Agriculture Committee and The Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee of the US House of Representatives by the Scientific Panel on LateSuccessional Forest Ecosystems, October 8 1991. Jonas, H., V. Barbuto, H.C. Jonas, A. Kothari, and F. Nelson (2014). New steps of change: Looking beyond protected areas to consider other effective area based conservation measures. PARKS 20 (2): 111–128. Kapos, V., C. Ravilious, A. Campbell, B. Dickson, H.K. Gibbs, M.C. Hansen, I. Lysenko, L. Miles, J. Price, J.P.W. Scharlemann, and K.C. Trumper (2008). Carbon and Biodiversity: A demonstration atlas, UNEPWCMC, Cambridge, UK. Kirby, K. (1992). Woodland and Wildlife. Whittet Books, London.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 232

20/04/2020 14:23

Sustainable relationships and ecological authenticity  233 Lasky, J.R., M. Uriate, V.K. Boukili, D.L. Erikson, W.J. Kress, and R.L. Chazdon. (2014). The relationship between tree biodiversity and biomass dynamics changes with tropical forest succession. Ecology Letters 17: 1158–1167. Lim, B. and E. Spanger-Siegfried (eds.) (2004). Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing strategies, policies and measures. UNDP and Cambridge University Press, New York and Cambridge, UK. Loreau, M., S. Naeem, P. Inchauti, J. Bengtsson, J.P. Grime, A. Hector, D.U. Hooper, M.A. Huston, D. Raffaelli, B. Schmid, D. Tilman, and D.A. Wardle (2001). Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Current knowledge and future challenges. Science 294: 801–808. Low, T. (2002). The New Nature. Viking Press, Camberwell, Victoria, Australia. MacKinnon, K.S. (1978). Competition between red and grey squirrels. Mammal Review 8 (4): 185–190. Marjokorpi, A. and K. Ruokolainen (2003). The role of traditional forest gardens in the conservation of tree species in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biodiversity and Conservation 12: 799–822. Maser, C., R.F. Tarrant, J.M. Trappe, and J.F. Franklin (eds.) (1988). From the Forest to the Sea: A story of fallen trees. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-229. USDA Forest Service, Washington DC. MCPFE Liaison Unit and FAO. (2003). State of Europe’s Forests 2003: The MCPFE report on sustainable forest management in Europe. Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, Vienna. MEA. (2005). Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: A framework for assessment. Island Press, Covelo, California and New York. Mithen, S. (2006). After the Ice: A global human history 20,000–5,000 BC. Harvard University Press, New York. Murcia, C., J. Aronson, G. Kattan, D. Moreno-Mateos, K. Dixon, and D. Simberloff (2014). A critique of the “novel ecosystem” concept. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 29: 548–553. Norton-Griffiths, M. (1979). The influence of grazing, browsing, and fire on the vegetation dynamics of the Serengeti. In A.R.E. Sinclair and M. Norton-Griffiths (eds.) Serengeti: Dynamics of an Ecosystem. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 310–352. Oliver, C.O. and B.C. Larson (1990). Forest Stand Dynamics. McGraw-Hill, New York. Oliver, T.H., N.J.B. Isaac, T.A. August, B.A. Woodcock, D.B. Roy, and J.M. Bullock (2015). Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10122. Oxfam. (2017). An Economy for the 99 Per Cent. Briefing, Oxford. Parviainen, J. (2005). Virgin and natural forest in the temperate zone of Europe. Forest, Snow and Landscape Research 79: 9–18. Peterken, G. (1998). Naturalness. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Peterken, G. (2002). Reversing the Habitat Fragmentation of British Woodlands. WWF UK, Godalming. Peterson, G., C.R. Allen, and C.S. Holling (1998). Ecological resilience, biodiversity and scale. Ecosystems 1: 6–18. Philips, S.J. and P.W. Comus (2000). A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and University of California Press, Tucson, Berkley, Arizona and California. Potapov, P., A. Yaroshenko, S. Turubanova, M. Dubinin, L. Laestadius, C. Thies, D. Aksenov, A. Egorov, Y. Yesipova, I. Glushkov, M. Karpachevskiy, A. Kostikova, A. Manisha, E. Tsybikova, and I. Zhuravleva (2008). Mapping the world’s intact forest landscapes by remote sensing. Ecology and Society 13. http://www. (accessed 20 January 2020). Rackham, O. (1976). Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London. Redford, K.R. (2000). Natural areas, hunting and nature conservation in the neotropics. Wild Earth (Fall): 41–48. Rey Benayas, J.M., A.C. Newton, A. Díaz, and J.M. Bullock (2009). Enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem services by ecological restoration: A meta-analysis. Science 325: 1121–1124. Rönnbäck, P. (1999). The ecological basis for economic value of seafood production supported by mangrove ecosystems. Ecological Economics 29: 235–252. Rossi, M. and D. Vallauri. (2013). Évaluer la naturalité: Guide pratique version 1.2. WWF, Marseille. Sarmiento, F.O. and S. Hitchner. (eds.) (2017). Indigeneity and the Sacred: Indigenous revival and the conservation of sacred natural sites in the Americas. Berghahn Books, New York. Schnitzler, A., J.C. Génot, M. Wintz, and B.W. Hale. (2008). Naturalness and conservation in France. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21: 423–436. Schroder, A., L. Persson, and A.M. de Roos (2005). Direct experimental evidence for alternative stable states: A review. Oikos 110: 3–19. Schuck, A., R. Päivenen, T. Hytönen, and B. Pajari (2002). Compilation of Forestry Terms and Definitions. European Forest Institute Internal Report number 6. EFI, Joensuu, Finland. SER International Science and Policy Working Group. (2004). The SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration. SER International, Tuscon, Arizona. Shanley, P. and L. Luz (2003). The impacts of forest degradation on medicinal plant use and implications for human health in eastern Amazonia. Bioscience 53 (6): 573–584.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 233

20/04/2020 14:23

234  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Steffen, W., P.J. Crutzen, and J.R. McNeil. (2007). The Anthropocene: Are humans overwhelming the great forces of nature. Ambio 36 (8): 614–621. Thompson, I., B. Mackey, S. McNulty, and A. Mosseler (2009). Forest Resilience, Biodiversity, and Climate Change: A synthesis of the biodiversity/resilience/stability relationship in forest ecosystems. CBD Technical Series no. 43. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. UNDP. (2005). Adaptation Policy Frameworks for Climate Change: Developing strategies, policies and measures, ed. B. Lim and E. Spanger-Siegfried, E., co-authors I. Burton, E. Malone, and S. Huq. UNDP, New York. Verschuuren, B., R.G. Wild, J.A. McNeely, and G. Oviedo (2010). Sacred Natural Sites: Conserving nature and culture. Earthscan, London. Walker, B., C.S. Holling, S.R. Carpenter, and A. Kinzig (2004). Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9. (accessed 19 December 2010). Wild Europe. (2013). A working definition of european wilderness and wild areas. wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Definition-10092013.pdf (accessed 30 January 2020). Willis K.J., L. Gillson, and T.M. Brncic. (2004). How “virgin” is virgin rainforest? Science 304: 402–403.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 234

20/04/2020 14:23

15.  Feeding futures framed: rediscovering biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes Genevieve A. Holdridge, Fausto O. Sarmiento, Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch, Bynum Boley, James K. Reap, Eric A. Macdonald, María Navarro, Sarah L. Hitchner and John W. Schelhas

INTRODUCTION The issue of food security, defined by the World Food Summit in Rome (1996) as promoting sufficient, available, nutritious, safe and preferable food for everyone at all times, encompasses many challenges. Despite the significant place of food security in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (United Nations (UN) Report, 2002), which is also concerned with reducing world poverty and hunger in half by 2015, many people in developing countries are still food insecure and impoverished. In light of the 2008 food crisis and the impending challenges of climate change, the subject of foodstuffs has taken central stage in the international research agenda, which led to the development of the Committee on World Food Security in 2009 (Gordillo, 2013), and prompted investment in agricultural research and development funding (Von Braun et al., 2008). Further steps taken to address the challenges to food security by the FAO (Branca et al., 2011; de Haen and Stamoulis, 2004) and the UN (UN Report, 2007) include the necessity of expanding the diversity of plants consumed and grown, and increasing within-crop genetic diversity. They advocate that more diversity in our diets will not only improve human health, but also protect environmental quality (Ebert, 2014; FAO, 2014; Gordillo, 2013). Indigenous peoples1 and small-scale food systems exhibit much agrobiodiversity globally, but here the focus will be on the Americas (Altieri et al., 2012; Moreno-Calles et al., 2010; van der Merwe et al., 2016). Agrobiodiversity refers to the diversity of domesticated, cultivated, and wild plants that thrive in managed systems of cultural landscapes (Sarmiento, 2008). In the Americas, research on these diverse food systems has shown that they also enhance local biodiversity, promote resource conservation and environmental sustainability, and encourage community-scale gains (Altieri et al., 2012; Moreno-Calles et al., 2010). Indigenous peoples in the Americas have been managing local food and fiber 1   According to the UN and the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), important trademarks of indigenous peoples are self-identification, group acceptance and collective action (de Haen and Stamoulis, 2004; UN Report, 2007). Some favored terms in the Americas are First Nations (Canada), American Indian or Native Americans (United States of America) and Pueblos Originarios (Latin America). In light of this chapter’s focus on food, indigenous peoples’ food systems is defined as retaining “knowledge of the land and food resources rooted in historical continuity within their region of origin and residence” (Kuhnlein and Kuhnlein, 2009, p. 2).


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 235

20/04/2020 14:23

236  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability systems for millennia; however, these food systems have not been without disruption and change. Environmental adaptation and pre-Hispanic socio-political changes have helped these systems to evolve, while colonization and globalization have disrupted, and in many cases detrimentally affected, these food systems (Grey and Patel, 2015; van der Merwe et al., 2016). Despite these many challenges and hardships, indigenous and small-scale food systems contribute substantially to local and national food supplies and rural livelihoods, but have often been overlooked (Altieri et al., 2012, van der Merwe et al., 2016). Research suggests that these food systems provide about 70 percent of the world’s food, though indigenous peoples are still marginalized and impoverished (la Via Campesina, 2014). Many subsidies, investments, scientific research, access to natural resources, and local and international policies benefit the neoliberal capitalist agroindustry, while almost no investment or protection is offered to indigenous and small-scale farmers (Altieri and Toledo, 2011), hence an emphasis in the area is on food sovereignty. The success of the agroindustrial food system and its adverse effects on indigenous and small-scale food systems have resulted in the latter’s strong support of food sovereignty versus focusing on food security. The concept of food sovereignty, outlined by various grassroots organizations such as la Via Campesina, is summarized as the “right of peoples to control their own food systems including markets, production modes, food cultures and environments” (Wittman, 2010). International organizations such as the la Via Campesina and International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty argue that global food security cannot be attained without first achieving food sovereignty (ICP Report, 2015). Food sovereignty also entails the movement away from conventional agriculture including both industrial (e.g., fossil fuel based) and biological (e.g., genetically modified organism (GMO)) agricultural production, and the notion that food is just a commodity (Gordillo, 2013). The movement toward food sovereignty is linked to the concept of agroecology, which incorporates ecological and agricultural science and traditional knowledge to promote an alternative food system that is innovative, diverse and complex, locally based and environmentally and socially sustainable (Altieri and Toledo, 2011). While supporting the notions of food sovereignty and agroecology, in this chapter we would like to emphasize the importance of integrating research and knowledge from various sciences, humanities, and indigenous and small-scale food systems to ensure success of food and food system diversity and, in particular, the wellbeing of indigenous and small-scale societies. Indigenous peoples have contributed to science, and will continue to do so, by sharing their knowledge, but they also deserve to benefit from science and technology (Rochmyaningsih, 2015). We also stress the need to use these interchanges of information to develop policies to protect indigenous food systems. This chapter will examine the biocultural diversity of indigenous and small-scale food systems in the Americas. The main objective is to demonstrate the importance of bringing together science, humanities, and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to increase the success of indigenous and small-scale food systems in the Americas. Thus far, topics such as biodiversity and food production have been examined as either social or natural topics rather than from an integrated approach. Integrating studies of science (e.g., biotechnology and ecology), humanities (e.g., anthropology and economics), and TEK has the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 236

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  237 potential to promote awareness of diverse food systems, to promote capacity building, to increase economic independence, and to develop policies to protect traditional people and their food systems. An example for the Andes is given in Chapter 1 with montology. We argue that interdisciplinary research and TEK will ensure the success of biocultural, diverse indigenous and small-scale food and fiber systems, which is essential to securing diverse, environmentally and socially sustainable food at local, regional and global scales.

BACKGROUND The push for more variety in our diets is related to the fact that we only consume a handful of plants that are edible. For instance, of the estimated 7000 plants known to be consumed somewhere on Earth, 200 are domesticated, and only 20 types dominate the world market (Medland, 2009; Jaenicke, 2011). Wheat, maize and rice account for 94 percent of all cereal consumption, for example. Maize is now the most commonly grown crop in the world, 39 percent of which is produced in the United States (The Grains Council, 2015). The roots of the current globalized diet, involving reliance on a few grains, go back hundreds of years (see below). Until around 1800, much of the world’s population was still rural, and in both urban and rural spaces most people spent their resources on food acquisition and consumption. By the twentieth century, large-scale investments from institutions like the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, along with support by governments, paved the way for industrial-scale agriculture and what became known as the “Green Revolution” from the 1940s to the1960s (Spiertz, 2014). With these large-scale investments, developments in food science and agriculture surged, and urbanization exploded (Spiertz, 2014; Godfray et al., 2010). Present-day global food production and consumption is dominated by the neoliberal capitalistic food system, otherwise known as conventional agriculture, which involves modifying seeds and landscapes to increase productivity and profit (Norris and Kerr, 2009). It has also led to the delocalization of food, a phenomenon linked to industrialization, urbanization, transportation, and the dominant place of the intermediary distributors and processers between the farm and store (Katz, 2009; Lang and Barling, 2012). The industrial and business-like management of the food system has contributed to the loss of seed, plant, and crop varieties, and an increase in landscape homogeneity; together, these processes negatively affect human and ecosystem health and well-being. Research on conventional agriculture has also shown that it causes soil degradation, erosion, and a decrease in water quality and quantity (Matchett et al., 2006). Despite the potential to produce large quantities of food in conventional agriculture, its goal of maximizing profit, rather than maximizing food accessibility and security have left many people malnourished and has damaged natural resources globally (Allen, 2009). Food disparities exist within developed and developing countries, but one cannot ignore the North–South divide that is reflected in high rates of obesity in the global North versus prevalent and persistent hunger in the global South (Ng et al., 2014). The problems of both hunger and obesity stem, in part, from the inability of poor people in both rural and urban contexts to access nutritious foodscapes.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 237

20/04/2020 14:23

238  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

BIOCULTURAL DIVERSE, INDIGENOUS AND SMALL-SCALE FOOD SYSTEMS OF THE AMERICAS In comparison to the current global industrial food system, indigenous and small-scale food systems are diverse and complex (Altieri et al., 2012) and involve wild, cultivated, and managed food and fibers as well as endemic and introduced yet incorporated and traditional foods (van der Merwe et al., 2016). The variety of indigenous food systems reflects the different landscapes, food diversity, and ecosystems to which these agrosystems are adapted (Katz, 2009). At a landscape or ecosystem scale, the holistic approach to an indigenous food system is clearly observed in the inseparable links among a diversified landscape management program, agrobiodiversity in terms of crop variety, and genetic diversity within species (Medland, 2009). Diverse foods, which are maintained by indigenous and small-scale food systems, should be incorporated into our diets because they provide high nutrition in small amounts, have the capacity to grow in diverse environments, have multipurpose applications, are resistant to diseases and pests, and are easily available and processed. For example, scientific studies of some cultivated and domesticated indigenous cereals such as quinoa and amaranth, legumes, and fruits have shown that they supply supplementary nutrients or an increased amount of needed nutrients such as iron, protein, vitamin A, and flavonoids as compared to already highly utilized plants (Creed-Kanashiro et al., 2009). Foraged and/or managed plants have the potential to provide an easily available, local supply of various nutrients, such as loroco (Fernaldia pandurata, Apocynaceae) found in Mesoamerica (Morton et al., 1990), and the genus Physalis Solaneae, involving 90 species, which is native to North and South America (Arenas and Kamienkowski, 2013). Increasing the consumption of local, diverse, traditional foods has been found to increase nutrition in various groups (Roche et al., 2007; see also Chapter 23 this book). Seed management, genetic diversity, and crop management also help plants adapt to different climatic and environmental conditions and to reduce susceptibility of plants to pathogens and insects, and increase resilience in response to climate change (see Table  15.1). For example, Melloco, which is developed from native germplasm, has a wide range of adaptations and is more tolerant to pests and diseases than common, non-indigenous crop varieties (Nieto, 1993). Some highly nutritious cultivated plants, such as amaranth have the potential to produce high yields in arid environments, which is important when considering possible disruptions to food production systems related to climate change (Barba de la Rosa et al., 2009). Diverse crop management strategies including crop rotation and intercropping have been shown to be highly beneficial. Some sequences of crop rotation produced higher yields using less water compared to only monocropping or only using synthetic herbicides. In the Andes, for instance, it was found that the sequence of crop rotation involving the planting of quinoa–potato–lupin–quinoa helped maintain soil fertility, reduced erosion and leaching, decreased weed growth, and helped control pests (Nieto-Cabrera et al., 1997). Intercropping strategies practiced in the southeastern United States involved planting beans and maize in the same field, which complemented each other and aided in their growth (Janick, 2013). Some farmers allow wild strains to cross-breed with domesticated varieties, leading to the development of new genetic variants while enhancing established ethnovarieties. Varieties serve diverse purposes; for example, they have resulted in shorter

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 238

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  239 Table 15.1 Management practices and examples of strategies as summarized by/modified from Branca et al. (2011) Management practice Examples of strategies Agronomy

Integrated nutrient  management Tillage and residue  management Water management


Integrated landscape  management

Biocultural guidance

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 239

Improved crop varieties Use of cover crops Improved crops or fallow rotations Use of legumes in crop rotations Increased efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer Organic fertilization (use of compost, animal, and green manure) Incorporation of crop residues Reduced/zero tillage Irrigation Water harvesting Bunds/zai, tied ridge system Terrace, contour farming Live barriers Crops on tree-land Trees on cropland Combined use of fire with weeding, drainage, irrigation, and cultivation   of trees Chaco region of Paraguay (Denevan, 1992; Fowler and Welch, 2015; Arenas and Kamienkowski,  2013) – Intercropping, mixed-habitat strategy Southeastern Native American three sisters agriculture (maize, beans,   and squash) (Scarry and Scarry, 2005) – Combined swidden agriculture, planting, cultivating and managing   gardens, foraging Brazilian Rainforest (Cavechia et al., 2014) Bolivian Rainforest (Thomas and Van Damme, 2010) Maya lands of Guatemala and Mexico (“tapado” strategy) (Diemont   et al., 2006; Kufer et al., 2006) – Agroforesty, foraging, construction materials, selling biproducts,   mythical, etc. Trees and foraged plants provide multiple functions (many cultures)   (e.g., Vinceti et al., 2013) – Sacred plants, shifting cultivation systems Maize and cocoa trees have conceptual link in Mayan cosmology, healthy   crops balanced by healthy forest (Kufer et al., 2006)

20/04/2020 14:23

240  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability harvests or sweeter taste, as well as helping to advance agrobiodiversity (Cavechia et al 2014). Other cultivated or managed plants have the ability to serve multiple purposes such as supplying nutritious foods, serving as construction materials and useful fibers, and providing ecosystem services. This is especially the case for trees, although research on non-commercial varieties of roots and tubers also have shown that these also have diverse uses (see Perez et al., 2011). Native to the Americas, the mesquite tree (genus Prosopis) grows in arid and saline environments. They also fix nitrogen, increase soil organic carbon, and increase the water-holding capacity and nutrient binding capacity of the soil. Various parts of these trees can be processed to provide nutritious food (Felker et al., 2013). Palm trees (genus Arecaceae) are hugely important in the tropical Americas, as they provide a plethora of services: nutritious food; construction supplies; fibers for clothes, utensils, tools, and containers; and soil enhancement (Macía et al., 2011). Indigenous food systems also involve diverse management strategies at the landscape scale (Table 15.1), also known as agroecosystems (Altieri et al., 2012). Practices include agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and hunting and gathering (van der Merwe et al., 2016). Research on these diverse food systems has shown that they enhance local agrobiodiversity and biodiversity, as well as promote resource conservation and environmental sustainability (Altieri et al., 2012; Moreno-Calles et al., 2010). For example, swidden agriculture (once known as slash-and-burn agriculture) uses fire as a principal management tool and is still practiced in tropical and temperate rainforests in Brazil (Cavechia et al., 2014), Bolivia (Thomas and Van Damme, 2010), the southeastern United States (Scarry and Scarry, 2005), and in the Maya homeland (Diemont et al., 2011; Kufer et al., 2006). Swidden agriculture involves the intense management of vegetation and restoration of soil fertility (Diemont et al., 2006). Many indigenous peoples deem food and food systems a sacred and inherent part of their economy and culture. This ideology is somewhat different from the capitalistic philosophy of food systems (Grey and Patel, 2015). Indigenous food systems require management strategies that are intertwined with the cultural infrastructure that supports them. These systems cannot function as individual parts; in contrast, it is the communal aspect or community involvement, which provides the necessary framework to promote management, knowledge sharing, and survival of the whole community (Barthel et al., 2013). For example, some plants, such as milkweed (Morrenia odorata) (Arenas, 1999) and Cacao (Theobroma cacao) (Kufer et al., 2006) are more important culturally than in terms of their nutritional and practical uses, as they serve to provide balance and framework to the traditional food system. The integrated indigenous food system, referred to as an “agroportfolio”, is made viable through the infusion of cultural and agricultural elements into the natural systems in which edible plants are embedded: food variety is only one component. The “agroportfolio” includes all levels of biodiversity, such as “genetic, species, and landscape levels” (Medland et al., 2009). The importance of bioculture, or the cultural context of these food systems, must be acknowledged and supported in order to promote sustainable, diverse, local agriculture (Kuhnlein and Kuhnlein, 2009). Cultural erosion is just as important to consider because the decline of biodiversity, the acculturation of indigenous cultures, and the loss of agrobiodiversity are all undoubtedly linked (Correal et al. 2009; Barthel et al., 2013).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 240

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  241

BRIEF HISTORY OF FOOD IN THE AMERICAS Present-day indigenous peoples’ food systems contain knowledge from long-evolved interactions between local environments and cultural developments and adaptations (Kuhnlein and Kuhnlein, 2009; Zimmerer and Bell, 2015), but they are not uninterrupted and not without change (Altieri et al., 2012). The legacies of colonial rule on indigenous food and culture still endure, as indigenous and small-scale food systems currently suffer under capitalist interests and ideologies (Grey and Patel, 2015). The need for cheap food for urban centers in Europe led to the domination and control of all aspects of indigenous societies, including their food systems (Grey and Patel, 2015). Long-distance trade, migration, and diffusion have occurred for millennia before the colonial period, as evidenced by the early spread of corn to various parts of North and South America and quinoa in South America. Evidence exists for trade of chocolate from cacao, tomatoes, chili peppers, anato, batata, yucca, and other plants from the Amazon that became staples in Andean or Mesoamerican diets. However, starting in the fifteenth century, with European imperial expansion and migration, the exchange of various items including food led to these crops being incorporated into an increasingly international integrated (or globalized) market. These West–East exchanges, referred to as the “Columbian Exchange”, mainly benefited European powers, while indigenous peoples were impacted in various ways (Nutzenadel and Trentmann, 2008). Changes in diet, land management and culture went both ways with the Columbian Exchange (Crosby, 1972). Until the nineteenth century, historic documents suggest that corn was a dominant grain, but other foodstuff (such as quinoa, tomatoes, peppers, corn, and potatoes) were all consumed by Europeans, in many cases alongside local European species. However, the ultimate incorporation, or lack thereof, of various foods into the Old World diet was in part due to the complex contingencies of how they were introduced across the Atlantic in the first place (Janick, 2013). For example, some New World plants were not properly managed and reverted to their wild states (e.g., amaranth), while others were not maintained as domesticates; for example, wild populations of Chenopodium berlandieri, once an important indigenous crop in eastern North America, still retain characteristics that are typical of domesticated plants such as large seeds, uniform maturation, and resistance to shattering (Smith 2006). Introduced plants sometimes outcompeted local wild or managed varieties (e.g., prickly pear cacti and agave replaced native trees and shrubs) (Hernandez Bermejo and Leon, 1992). Other American cultivated plants, such as corn and potatoes, resulted in the decline in consumption of species like sorghum and millet that were commonly grown in many parts of Europe (Harwich, 2000). Plants like amaranth were forbidden by the Spanish due to their use in blood sacrifices by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica, while others like corn and potato were more easily incorporated into general European cultural and religious activities (Mann 2011). Partial, or in some cases total, disruption in the indigenous food and farming methods during European colonization has been linked to a number of factors, including the disturbance of local cultures, inaccessible food supplies, and illness and loss of population (Hernandez Bermejo and Leon, 1992; National Research Council (NRC), 1989). In the Andes, the communities had to pay high tribute to colonists, while food was not fairly distributed due to the cultural disruption of kin networks (Mann 2005) as well as to the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 241

20/04/2020 14:23

242  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability preference given to wheat, barley, faba beans, and peas. Losses were also related to the European ethnocentric viewpoint, which at times mandated planting European crops (e.g., American chipilin and nightshade were replaced by lettuce and cabbage) using the European agricultural systems because of its supposed foodscape superiority. There is some evidence that Europeans also abandoned and destroyed indigenous infrastructure such as hydraulic works, which were integral to indigenous food production (Scarry and Scarry 2005; NRC, 1989). The roots of the current globalized diet, involving reliance on a few grains, and its effects on diverse indigenous and small-scale food systems go back several centuries and are linked to European colonization, including in the Americas. Among other things, colonialism involved the systematic break-up of culture and traditions, including those of food systems (Grey and Patel, 2015).

IMPACTS OF GLOBALIZATION ON AGROBIODIVERSITY AND INDIGENOUS LIVELIHOODS IN THE AMERICAS Culture, politics, economics, history, environmental degradation and climate change all contribute to the loss of knowledge about diverse crops and the neglect of agrobiodiversity (Skarbø, 2006). The availability of cheaper foreign grains, fruits and legumes, and ethnocentric or modern viewpoints may result in the abandonment of traditional food systems by younger generations, hindering rural development with a resulting loss of local crops and traditions (Skarbø, 2006; Padulosi et al., 2014). In many cases, a lack of cultural acceptance of diverse local foods is one of the great challenges to overcome in order to support diverse food systems (van der Merwe et al., 2016). For example, nutritious foods grown by small-scale and indigenous farming communities, such as those in the Andes, are underappreciated and scorned by the urbanized society around them (NRC, 1989). Another factor resulting in food disparities, especially in the developing world, is the inability of indigenous or local agricultural-based economies to compete with developed industrial agricultural products. The decision of what to grow and consume locally by indigenous and small-scale peoples is intricately linked to the globally expanding market, the local and global demand, food prices and policy (Winkel et al., 2014). Because only a few processors and retailers dominate national and global markets, a low price and high standards are increasingly harder for small farmers to achieve. Furthermore, present food policy decision-making is linked to power relations within supply chains that are mainly in the hands of corporate interests, which have a major influence on various governments (Katz, 2009; Carolan, 2011; Lang and Barling, 2012). The dilemma for small-scale indigenous and other local farmers is that, on one hand, they do not have the viability to compete with international large-scale competitors, while, on the other, they can not be viewed as “guardians” of ancestral folklore and biodiversity (Winkel et al., 2014). Indigenous and rural folk need money for medicine, education, and transportation (Skarbø, 2006). They also have the right to be incorporated into the world market. An overly simplistic view on their role in food security and biodiversity will not lead to long-term sustainable and economically viable agriculture on a local or global scale. Food sovereignty, as defined above, also requires protection of the rights to grow

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 242

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  243 and consume local foods, and associated indigenous and agroecological knowledge. One drawback of the International Year of Quinoa, for instance, is that it did not include any regulation or protection for small farmers (Winkel et al., 2014). Globalized industrial management of food has only amplified the vulnerability of indigenous food systems to neglect, and of indigenous peoples to extreme poverty, discrimination and marginalization. Since many indigenous cultures have diverse food systems and maintain food diversity, effects on their lifestyle directly impact the loss or decrease of food knowledge (Kuhnlein and Kuhnlein, 2009; Bury et al., 2013). The negative impacts of many of these factors on health and livelihood are documented in the Cotacachi communities in Ecuador (Skarbø, 2006), Awajun Territory in Peruvian Amazonia (Creed-Kanashiro et al., 2009) and in the Ingano communities of the Colombian Amazon (Correal et al., 2009). In the Colombian Amazon, for instance, carbonated drinks and refined flour now comprise almost 40 percent or more of the diets of children and women (Correal et al., 2009). The dominance of the developed world’s food production and marketing results in the consumption of monotonous processed food, rich in carbohydrates and fats and low in nutrition, and the increased consumption of meat, dairy, and soft drinks (e.g., in Brazil and Mexico) (Katz, 2009).

INTEGRATING SCIENCE, HUMANITIES, AND TEK Increasing variety in food and ensuring food sovereignty should involve integrating scientific and humanities studies with TEK. Indigenous knowledge and practices can help diversify food systems and agroecosystems on both global and local scales. However, since indigenous and small-scale food systems are understudied, these systems and the roles of science, technology, and humanities that can potentially benefit them must be better understood. Studies in humanities including anthropology, political sciences, economics, and geography have the ability to document TEK, to determine how food systems evolved, to study the cultural framework of food systems, and to outline the current challenges of indigenous and small-scale societies. Scientific studies such as those in biotechnology, ecology, and environmental sciences can build upon TEK by focusing on intra- and inter-plant variation, plant adaptation to various environmental conditions, the nutrition of different plants, the new uses of plants, and increasing the use of local resources. In this section, we will examine how integrating science, humanities and TEK can help advance indigenous and small-scale food systems and livelihoods, and contribute to diversifying food and food systems on multiple scales. We look at two examples: the first involves the integration of indigenous knowledge of seeds, landraces and crop variety and the application of aspects of biotechnology, while the second example involves how consumer market choices, ecotourism, and critical input from the humanities can work toward promoting indigenous foods locally and globally, as well as enhancing local ­livelihoods and protecting the environment.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 243

20/04/2020 14:23

244  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability

BIOCULTURAL HERITAGE AND SCIENCE: SEEDS, GENETICS AND CROP DIVERSITY Ex-situ conservation of plant genetic resources such as in seed banks is important, but more consideration of indigenous crop inventories and the agroecology of the in-situ preservation of crops must be undertaken by the scientific community (Spiertz 2014). It is considered best to conserve plant varieties in-situ because such a strategy encompasses cultural, ecological, geographical, biological, and socio-economic factors, and allows for further adaptation to changing environmental conditions. In-situ species diversity, and the source of diversity stored in ex-situ gene banks are mainly controlled by small-scale poor farmers, therefore incorporating TEK on crop diversity is important to the future of biotech applications (Jarvis et al., 2011). One important aspect of agrobiodiversity, is the farmer’s in-depth knowledge of different landraces and how this knowledge is related to the management of crops, including the creation of new breeds and cultivars and the maintenance of diversity (Gibson, 2009). Familial and local trade networks, seed fairs, community seed banks, and local markets are important because they involve exchanging information along with the seeds (Coomes, 2010; Jarvis et al., 2011). Traditional farming techniques and management of seeds allow farmers to select seeds to adapt to new environments, resist pests and diseases, and at the same time avoid genetic erosion and homozygosity (Gibson, 2009; Coomes, 2010; Jarvis et al., 2011). Incorporating scientific knowledge with TEK offers multiple benefits including a better understanding of landrace varieties. For example, biotech investigations, such as genome sequencing, have the potential to improve plant production and adaptation by reducing vulnerability to disease and pests (Naylor et al., 2004). Biotechnological studies can be useful to enhance certain qualities in seeds at a much faster rate than traditional landrace selection (Mayes et al., 2012). Biotech and breeding methods also work with species variability before the seed is planted on a large scale. Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) is one way that organic and indigenous farmers have become integrated with science and business to develop new varieties that are adapted to diverse farming conditions. In this process, farmers are engaged in all major decisions, including determining what genetic materials and specific traits plant breeders need to work with, and how the new variety is tested in the farmer’s fields (Ceccarelli and Grando, 2007). Decentralized participation of breeders and farmers may help crops adapt to environmental uncertainty, due to increases in crop variety, plant breeding efficiency, and seed adoption (Wolfe et al., 2008). The TEK concerning landrace diversity must be understood in conjunction with the needs of indigenous groups if long-term sustainability is to be established (Rhoades 2006). When biotech endeavors build on extant breeding programs they are typically more successful (Dawson et al., 2009). There are a number of issues concerning the role that biotechnology has or may have with regards to conserving diversity of local landraces. First, biotech studies have mainly focused on crops that are already highly modified, such as oilseed rape, maize, potato, rice, and wheat (Pingali, 2007). Even though thousands of plants have been designated as significant by various institutions (e.g., Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species), a study on the National Center for Biotechnology Information online database indicates that only a handful of these have been studied more intensively (Dawson et al., 2009).

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 244

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  245 Indigenous farmers are important producers of crop varieties and landraces, but, currently, there is no protection of their TEK (Nagoya Protocol; Greiber, 2012). Biopiracy in medicines and agricultural material has a long history, whereby the indigenous or rural groups offering the basic information on plants usually do not see any credit or profits from private or public entities (Clift, 2007).

THE CONTENTION OF ETHICS AND POLICY: QUINOA Some high-tech breeding companies used seed varieties and TEK from Andean farmers to make new variants that are cultivated in competition with species grown by Andean farmers. This defeats one of the original purposes of promoting quinoa: to help Andean farmers make a better livelihood (Winkel et al., 2014). In the context of sustainable mountain development, as interest in ancient crops increases, the importance of protecting indigenous knowledge is clear, but defining and legally protecting indigenous intellectual property is extremely complicated. For example, indigenous or traditional knowledge is built upon community sharing and open and public knowledge systems, and developing a legal way to protect community knowledge may have unintended consequences. Mechanisms such as certification and patents could constrain knowledge sharing. Conversely, not allowing for patents may reduce investment and biotech studies on new plants and varieties (Clift 2007).

INDIGENOUS LIVELIHOOD, ECOTOURISM, MARKETS, AND THE HUMANITIES PERSPECTIVE Consumers have agency over food purchases, and this has many implications for the future of indigenous foods and agricultural diversity. Domestic consumers can act as food activists and consciously choose to purchase more environmentally-, labor-, and animal-friendly products, while boycotting other products they deem unsustainable. This consumer behavior is referred to as “food activism”, which has resulted in changes in markets, products, and infrastructure, such as the promotion of organic foods (Soper, 2007; Micheletti and Stolle, 2012) and the establishment of farmers markets and other food-hubs. Similar to food activism, the concept of “alternative hedonism” applies to tourists’ consumption patterns. Alternative hedonism channels consumers’ frustration with the “inauthentic” nature of modern “Western” life into travel behaviors that involve searching for the authentic aspects of communities and consuming as many local products as possible (Sims, 2009). Emphasis on local experience centers on regional gastronomy (Armesto-López and Martin, 2006; Sims, 2009; Everett and Aitchison, 2008; Bazile et al., 2012). In developed Western countries, consumers may cause indirect change through choosing whether to purchase certain products. Consumerism in the form of tourism has much potential to build sustainable communities, help alleviate poverty, aid in protecting the environment, and increase the socio-political and economic status of rural poor in developing countries (Simpson, 2008; Horton, 2009). Ecotourism also has the potential to increase consumption of diverse foods locally and globally by promoting indigenous foods. Increasing local foods

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 245

20/04/2020 14:23

246  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability for ­tourist consumption must be done ecologically and not at the expense of other biota (Wunder, 2000; Coria and Calfucura, 2012). Indigenous food has been a largely ignored aspect of tourism, even though it is an essential part of traveling and can represent up to one third of spending on trips. Tourism provides strong economic incentives for indigenous food cultivation because tourism activities can “become the saviors of small businesses, not only by helping to make their products more widely known but also by facilitating self-commercialization, that is, by enabling producers listed in the official designation of origin registers to sell their products directly” to consumers (ArmestoLópez and Martin, 2006). Sustainable tourism is not only important for the potential of selling local food commodities, but also to indigenous food cultivation that promotes a connection with “place, culture and heritage” (Sims, 2009). These market opportunities brought about through tourists’ preferences for local foods may be the needed extrinsic incentives to influence farmers’ preferences back toward indigenous crop cultivation. This type of demand for indigenous food products goes beyond consumption, and is an essential aspect of the tourism experience for which tourists are willing to pay more (Bazile et al., 2012). Success stories in parts of Costa Rica (Horton, 2009) and in the Peruvian Amazon (Homborg and Hill, 2011) serve as testimonies that, when various sectors of society (private/corporate, governmental, communal and international) work together, local communities and the environment can benefit (Simpson, 2008). Implemented carefully, sustainable tourism can have a positive impact on the environment (Horton, 2009). While truly sustainable tourism has many potential benefits for indigenous food cultivation, this tourism is essentially “green capitalism”, which can also be detrimental if left unchecked and can cause numerous problems such as the break-up of communities, marginalization of poor people, and cultural and environmental degradation (Simpson, 2008). Criticism of sustainable tourism has highlighted its underlying neoliberal values: its main goal is to attract tourists and their money and it does not focus on environmental conservation and enhancing livelihoods of local peoples (West, 2004). While this criticism may be true, sustainable tourism is still a much better alternative for indigenous crop cultivation than deforestation, land speculation, or large-scale monocrop agriculture tied to the global commodities trade network (Pretty, 2009). Those interested in preserving indigenous food and fibers should consider how these could be better intertwined with the tourism marketing of a destination to facilitate this potentially lucrative symbiotic relationship. Attracting tourists and tourists’ spending on indigenous foods has the potential to provide the economic incentives needed to increase cultivation and counter competing land interests (Mak et al., 2012). Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other community development programs attempt to help indigenous and small-scale communities by promoting ecotourism; however, in many cases this is done using a top down approach (Coria and Calfucura, 2012). Studies of these interrelationships have shown that a better understanding of the local culture, community needs, and the inherent ethnocentric views of companies and other outsiders may impact the success of these types of projects. It is essential to acknowledge that the community has valuable knowledge of the local ecosystem, and any ecotourism or food related project should be done as an interchange of information (Rhoades, 2006). Successful outcomes of any sustainable tourism or similar project require training, infrastructure for the target community, and better design that involves and concerns

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 246

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  247 the indigenous and small-scale communities. Furthermore, governmental bodies must create and enforce policies that grant indigenous and small-scale communities the right to manage their land and make their own decisions in order to achieve self-perpetuating and long-term successful outcomes (Wunder, 2000; Coria and Calfucura, 2012).

CONCLUSION Choices about growing and eating certain foods over others are intimately linked to the history of agriculture, lifestyle, and nation building on one hand, and globalization, science, policy, and capitalism on the other. Indigenous and small-scale food systems are known for their flexibility and diversity. These food systems exhibit variety in seed and crop management, which promotes disease and pest resistance, and plant adaptation to a variety of conditions. Landscape-scale management strategies foster biodiversity, environmental sustainability, and socio-economic stability. Diversity in food consumption increases nutrition, as well as providing fibers and materials that support the communities. These food systems cannot survive or thrive without the cultural binding that holds them together, which requires and reinforces community involvement and sharing. Indigenous and small-scale food systems and their associated TEK have developed over millennia, and so have been subject to change. Environmental and other factors, in particular colonialism, have impacted these food systems in many ways. The legacy of colonialism, observed in ethnocentric views against indigenous peoples and their foods still endures, and contributes to the decline of these foods and food variety in general. Both colonialism and the modern conventional agricultural system have led to the marginalization of indigenous and small-scale food systems over time. Despite the fact that indigenous peoples feed much of the world’s population, their food systems are viewed as inferior to conventional, large-scale agriculture. Indigenous and small-scale food systems and the biocultural thread that holds these communities together are being lost, resulting in the loss of food diversity, plant diversity, and biodiversity on both local and global scales. There is much to learn from indigenous and small-scale agricultural food systems, including the variety of edible plants available and diverse management strategies of plants and landscapes. By combining scientific with indigenous and traditional knowledge, it would be possible to assemble a body of knowledge on the vast range of plant types and land varieties and their traits. This would facilitate evaluation and transfer of such knowledge to other localities dealing with food security issues, and to develop and adapt them to a range of environmental conditions. Better understanding of TEK and the land management strategies associated with certain plant types and environments is essential to transferring these plants to diverse locations, conserving food variety, and preserving biodiversity. Offering training and support with respect to new farming techniques or marketing diverse foods will help indigenous farmers adapt their food systems to changing economic, environmental, and social conditions. Studies of indigenous and small-scale biocultures are needed to help determine what these societies need, in terms of support, to enhance their livelihoods. However, without policy and protection of knowledge, genetic information, soil, and seeds, the disparity between poor, small-scale and indigenous farmers and rich, large-scale producers will never diminish.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 247

20/04/2020 14:23

248  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Securing the availability of food while making it sustainable, stable, healthy, accessible, and fair requires a unified approach that includes both science and humanities to inform policy on multiple scales, with alternative systems of inquiry. This examination urges support for the cultivation of more local and indigenous foods and fibers, as they are essential for global food sovereignty and food diversity. We also strongly promote a more holistic approach to farming, involving agroscience and local biocultural knowledge applied within global economic and political contexts. These efforts will contribute to an efficient, equitable, and sustainable indigenous, local, and global food system.

REFERENCES Allen, P. 2009. Roots and roles of alternative agrifood systems. In Critical Food Issues: Problems and State-ofthe-Art Solutions Worldwide, ed. Phoenix, L.E., 3–16. Santa Barbara: Praeger. Altieri, M., Toledo, V. 2011. The agroecological revolution in Latin America: Rescuing nature, ensuring food sovereignty and empowering peasants. Journal of Peasant Studies 38(3): 587–612. Altieri, M.A., Funes-Monzote, F.R., Petersen, P. 2012. Agroecologically efficient agricultural systems for smallholder farmers: Contributions to food sovereignty. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 32: 1–13. Arenas, P. 1999. Morrenia odorata (Asclepiadaceae), an edible plant of the Gran Chaco. Economic Botany 53: 89–97. Arenas, P., Kamienkowski, N.M. 2013. Ethnobotany of the genus Physalis L. (Solanaceae) in the South American Gran Chaco. Candollea 68: 251–266. Armesto-López, X.A., Martin, B.G. 2006. Tourism and quality agrofood products: An opportunity for the Spanish countryside. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 97(2): 166–177. Barba de la Rosa, A.P., Fomsgaard, I., Laursen, B., Mortensen, A., Olvera-Martínez, L., Silva-Sánchez, C., Mendoza-Herrera, A., González-Castañeda, J., León-Rodríguez, A. 2009. Amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) as an alternative crop for sustainable food production: Phenolic acids and flavonoids with potential impact on its nutraceutical quality. Journal of Cereal Science 49: 117–121. Barthel, S., Crumley, C.L., Svedin, U. 2013. Biocultural refugia: Combating the erosion of diversity in landscapes of food production. Ecology and Society 18(4): 71. Bazile, D., Chia, E., Hocde, H., Negrete, J., Thomet, M., Núnez, L., Martinez. E. 2012. Quinoa heritage, an important resource for tourism experiences. Rev geogr Valpso 46: 3–15. Branca, G., McCarthy, N., Lipper L., Jolejole, M.C. 2011. Climate-Smart Agriculture: A Synthesis of Empirical Evidence of Food Security and Mitigation Benefits from Improved Cropland Management. Report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Bury, J., Mark, B.G., Carey, M., Young, K.W., McKenzie, J., Baraer, M. 2013. New geographies of water and climate change in Peru: Coupled natural and social transformations in the Santa River Watershed. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103: 363–374. Carolan, M. 2011. The Real Cost of Cheap Food. London: Earthscan. Cavechia, L., Cantor, M., Begossi, A., Peroni, N. 2014. Resource use patterns in swidden farming communities: Implications for the resilience of cassava diversity. Human Ecology 42: 605–616. Ceccarelli, S., Grando, S. 2007. Decentralized-participatory plant breeding: An example of demand driven research. Euphytica 155: 349–360. Clift, C. 2007. Is intellectual property protection a good idea? In Agriculture, Science and Experiments, ed. Sillitoe, P., 191–208. New York: Berghahn Books. Coomes, O.T. 2010. Of stakes, stems, and cuttings: The importance of local seed systems in traditional Amazonian societies. The Professional Geographer 62: 323–334. Coria, J., Calfucura, E. 2012. Ecotourism and the development of indigenous communities: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Ecological Economics 73: 47–55. Correal, C., Zuluaga, G., Madrigal, L., Caicedo, S., Plotkin, M. 2009. In Ingano Traditional Food and Health Phase 1: 2004–2005, ed. Kuhnlein, H.V., Erasmus, B., Spigelski, D., 83–108. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Creed-Kanashiro, H., Roche, M., Cerron, L.T., Kuhnlein, H.V. 2009. Traditional food system of an Awajun community in Peru. In Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems: The Many Dimensions of Culture, Diversity and Environment for Nutrition and Health, ed. Kuhnlein, H.V., Erasmus, B., Spigelski, D., 59–81. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 248

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  249 Crosby, A.W. 1972. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Dawson, I., Hedley, P., Guarino, L., Jaenicke, H. 2009. Does biotechnology have a role in the promotion of underutilized crops? Food Policy 34: 319–328. de Haen, H., Stamoulis, K. 2004. The State of Food Security in the World. Report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Denevan, W.M. ed., 1992. The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. Diemont, S.A., Martin, J.F., Levy-Tacher, S.I., 2006. Energy evaluation of Lacandon Maya indigenous swidden agroforestry in Chiapas, Mexico. Agroforestry Systems 66(1): 23–42. Diemont, S.A.W., Bohn, J.L., Rayome, D.D., Kelsen, S.J., Cheng, K. 2011. Comparisons of Mayan forest management, restoration, and conservation. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 1696–1705. Ebert, A. 2014. Potential of underutilized traditional vegetables and legume crops to contribute to food and nutritional security, income and more sustainable production systems. Sustainability 6: 319–335. Everett, S., Aitchison, C. 2008. The role of food tourism in sustaining regional identity: A case study of Cornwall, South West England. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 16(2): 150–167. FAO. 2014. The State of Food and Agriculture Yearly Report. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Felker, P., Takeoka, G., Doa, L. 2013. Pod Mesocarp flour of North and South American species of leguminous tree, Prosopis Mesquite composition and food applications. Food Reviews International 29: 4966. Fowler, C.T., Welch, J.R., 2015. Introduction: Special Issue on Fire Ecology and Ethnobiology. Journal of Ethnobiology 35(1): 1–3. Gibson, R.W. 2009. A review of perceptual distinctiveness in landraces including an analysis of how its roles have been overlooked in plant breeding for low-input farming systems. Economic Botany 63: 242–255. Godfray, H.C.J., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J.F., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S.M., Toulmin, C. 2010. The future of the global food system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365: 2769–2777. Gordillo, G. 2013. Food Security and Sovereignty. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Greiber, T. 2012. An Explanatory Guide to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (No. 83). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. Grey, S., Patel, R. 2015. Food sovereignty as decolonization: Some contributions from Indigenous movements to food system and development politics. Agriculture and Human Values 32: 431–444. Harwich, N. 2000. Échanges croisés entre Nouveau Monde et Ancien Monde: Maïs, pomme de terre, tomate et cacao. Études rurales. Retrieved 15 August 2015, from Hernandez Bermejo, J.E., Leon, J. 1992. Neglected Crops: 1492 from a Different Perspective. Report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Homborg, A., Hill, J.D. 2011. Ethnicity in Ancient Amazonia. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. Horton, L.R. 2009. Buying up nature: Economic and social impacts of Costa Rica’s ecotourism boom. Latin American Perspectives 166(36): 93–107. ICP Report. 2015. International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (ICP) Agricultural Biodiversity Working Group. Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture: The Perspectives of Small-Scale Food Providers. (Draft for Comment) Thematic Study for FAO’s Report: State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. Retrieved 15 December 2015, from Draft_CSO-SoW-BFA_ThematicStudy_20Nov2015.pdf. Jaenicke, H. 2011. Research and development of underutilised plant species: Crops for the future-beyond food security. II International Symposium on Underutilized Plant Species: Crops for the Future – Beyond Food Security 979: 33–44. Janick, J. 2013. Development of New World crops by Indigenous Americans. HortScience 48: 406–412. Jarvis, D.I., Hodgkin, T., Shthapit, B., Fadda, C., Lopez-Noriega, I. 2011. An heuristic framework for identifying multiple ways of supporting the conservation and use of traditional crop varieties within the agricultural production system. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 30: 125–176. Katz, E. 2009. Indigenous knowledge systems. In Critical Food Issues: Problems and State-of-the-Art Solutions Worldwide, Society, Culture, and Ethics, ed. Walter, L., 100–209. Santa Barbara: Praeger. Kufer, J., Grube, N., Heinrich, M. 2006. Cacao in Eastern Guatemala – a sacred tree with ecological significance. Environment Development and Sustainability 8(4): 597–608. Kuhnlein, H.V., Erasmus, H., Spigelski, D., Kuhnlein, B. 2009. Introduction. In Why are Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems Important and Why Do They Need Documentation?, ed., 1–9. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. la Via Campesina. 2014. La Via Campesina 2013 Annual Report. Harare: La Via Campesina.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 249

20/04/2020 14:23

250  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Lang, T., Barling, D. 2012. Food security and food sustainability: Reformulating the debate. Geographical Journal 178: 313–326. Macía, M., Armesilla, P., Cámara-Leret, R., Paniagua-Zambrana, N., Villalba, S., Balslev, H., Pardo-deSantayana, M. 2011. Palm uses in Northwestern South America: A quantitative review. The Botanical Review 77(4): 462–570. Mak, A.H.N., Lumbers, M., Eves, A., 2012. Globalisation and food consumption in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research 39: 171–196. Mann, C.C. 2005. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Mann, C.C. 2011. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Matchett, G., Hahn, J., Obenaus, A., Zhang, J. 2006. Surgically induced brain injury in rats: The effect of erythropoietin. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 158(2): 234–241. Mayes, S., Massawe, F., Alderson, P., Roberts, J., Azam-Ali, S., Hermann, M. 2012. The potential for underutilized crops to improve security of food production. Journal of Experimental Botany 63: 1075–1079. Medland, S.E., Nyholt, D.R., Painter, J.N., McEvoy, B.P., McRae, A.F., Zhu, G., Gordon, S.D., Ferreira, M.A., Wright, M.J., Henders, A.K., Campbell, M.J., Duffy, D.L., Hansell, N.K., Macgregor, S., Slutske, W.S., Heath, A.C., Montgomery, G.W., Martin, N.G. 2009. Common variants in the trichohyalin gene are associated with straight hair in Europeans. American Journal of Human Genetics 85: 750–755. Micheletti, M., Stolle, D. 2012. Sustainable citizenship and the new politics of consumption. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 644(1): 88–120. Moreno-Calles, A., Casas, A., Blancas, J., Torres, I., Masera, O., Caballero, J., Garcia-Barrios, L., Perez-Negron, E., Rangel-Landa, S. 2010. Agroforestry systems and biodiversity conservation in arid zones: The case of the Tehuacán Valley, Central Mexico. Agroforestry Systems 80: 315–331. Morton, J.F., Alvarez, E., Quiñonez, C. 1990. Loroco, Fernaldia pandurata (Apocynaceae): A popular edible flower of Central America. Economic Botany 44: 301–310. Naylor, R.L., Falcon, W.P., Goodman, R.M., Jahn, M.M., Sengooba, T., Tefera, H., Nelson, R.J. 2004. Biotechnology in the developing world: A case for increased investments in orphan crops. Food Policy 29: 15–44. Ng, M., Fleming, T., Robinson, M., Thomson, B., Graetz, N., Margono, C. . . . Gakidou, E. 2014. Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980–2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet 384: 766–781. Nieto, C. 1993. The preservation of foods indigenous to the Ecuadorian Andes. Mountain Research and Development 13: 185–188. Nieto-Cabrera, C., Francis, C., Caicedo, C., Gutierrez, P.F., Rivera, M. 1997. Response of four Andean crops to rotation and fertilization. Mountain Research and Development 17(3): 273–282. Norris, P.E., Kerr, J.M. 2009. Soil degradation and soil conservation. In Critical Food Issues: Problems and State-of-the-Art Solutions Worldwide, ed. Phoenix, L.E., 19–32. Santa Barbara: Praeger. NRC. 1989. National Research Council. Sustainable Agriculture Report. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Nutzenadel, A., Trentmann, F. eds. 2008. Food and Globalization: Consumption, Markets and Politics in the Modern World. Oxford: Berg. Padulosi, S., Amaya, K., Jäger, M., Gotor, E., Rojas, W., Valdivia, R. 2014. Approach to enhance the use of neglected and underutilized species: The case of Andean Grains in Bolivia and Peru. Sustainability 6: 1283–1312. Perez, E., Gibert, O., Rolland-Sabate, A., Jimenez, Y., Sanchez, T., Giraldo, A., Pontoire, B., Guilois, S., Lahon, M.-C., Reynes, M., Dufour, D. 2011. Physicochemical, functional, and macromolecular properties of waxy yam starches discovered from “Mapuey” (Dioscorea trifida) Genotypes in the Venezuelan Amazon. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59: 263–273. Pingali, P. 2007. Agricultural growth and economic development: A view through the globalization lens. Agricultural Economics 37: 1–12. Pretty, J.N. 2009. Alternative systems of inquiry for a sustainable agriculture. IDS Bulletin 25(2): 37–49. Rhoades, R.E. 2006. Introduction: Linking sustainability science, community and culture: A research partnership in Cotacachi, Ecuador. In Development with Identity: Community, Culture and Sustainability in the Andes, ed. Rhoades, R.E., 1–15. Wallingford: CABI Publishing. Roche, M.L., Creed-Kanashiro, H.M., Tuesta, I., Kuhnlein, H.V. 2007. Traditional food system provides dietary quality for the Awajun in the Peruvian Amazon. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 46: 377–399. Rochmyaningsih, D. 2015. Indigenous peoples must benefit from science. Nature 526: 477. Sarmiento, F.O. 2008. Agrobiodiversity in the farmscapes of the Quijos River in the Tropical Andes, Ecuador. In Protected Landscapes and Agrobiodiversity Values. Volume 1 in the series, Protected Landscapes and Seascapes, ed. Amend, T., Brown, J., Kothari, A., Phillips, A., Stolton, S., 22–30. Heidelberg: Kaspareg Verlag. Scarry, C., Scarry, J. 2005. Native American “garden agriculture” in southeastern North America. World Archaeology 37(2): 259–274.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 250

20/04/2020 14:23

Biocultural diversity in sustainable foodscapes  251 Simpson, M. 2008. Community benefit tourism initiatives – a conceptual oxymoron? Tourism Management 29: 1–18. Sims, R. 2009. Food, place, and authenticity: Local food and the sustainable tourism experience. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 17(3): 321–336. Skarbø, K. 2006. Living, dwindling, losing, finding: Status and changes in agro biodiversity of Cotacachi. In Development with Identity: Community, Culture and Sustainability in the Andes, ed. Rhoades, R.E., 68–79. Wallingford: CABI Publishing. Smith, B.D. 2006. Eastern North America as an independent center of plant domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103(33): 12223–12228. Soper, K. 2007. Re-thinking the Good Life: The citizenship dimension of consumer disaffection with consumerism. Journal of Consumer Culture 7(2): 205–229. Spiertz, H. 2014. Agricultural sciences in transition from 1800 to 2020: Exploring knowledge and creating impact. European Journal of Agronomy 59: 96–106. The Grains Council. 2015. Corn. Retrieved 13 August 2015, from Thomas, E., Van Damme, P. 2010. Plant use and management in homegardens and swiddens: Evidence from the Bolivian Amazon. Agroforestry Systems 80: 131–152. UN Report. 2002. Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. New York: United Nations General Assembly. UN Report. 2007. The Millennium Development Goals. New York: United Nations. van der Merwe, J.D., Cloete, P.C., van der Hoeven, M. 2016. Promoting food security through indigenous and traditional food crops. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 40: 830–847. Vinceti, B., Ickowitz, A., Powell, P., Kehlenbeck, K., Termote, C., Cogill, B., Hunter, D. 2013. The contributions of forest foods to sustainable diets. Unasylva 64(241): 54–64. Von Braun, J., Fan, S., Meinzen-Dick, R., Von Rosegrant, M.W., Pratt, N. 2008. International Agricultural Research for Food Security, Poverty Reduction, and the Environment: What to Expect from Scaling Up to CGIAR Investments and “Best Bet” Programs. Report from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Montpellier: CGIAR. West, J. G. 2004. Ecotourism and authenticity. Current Anthropology 45(4): 484–495. Winkel, T., Álvarez-Flores, R., Bertero, D., Cruz, P., del Castillo, C., Joffre, R., Parada, S., Sáez Tonacca, L. 2014. Calling for a reappraisal of the impact of quinoa expansion on agricultural sustainability in the Andean highlands. Idesia (Arica) 32: 95–100. Wittman, H. 2010. Agrarian reform and the environment: Fostering ecological citizenship in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Canadian Journal of Development Studies-Revue Canadienne D Etudes Du Developpement 29: 281–298. Wolfe, M.S., Baresel, J., Desclaux, D., Goldringer, I., Hoad, S., Kovacs, G., Löschenberger, F., Miedaner, T., Østergård, H., Bueren, E. 2008. Developments in breeding cereals for organic agriculture. Euphytica 163: 323–346. Wunder, S. 2000. Ecotourism and economic incentives – an empirical approach. Ecological Economics 32: 465–479. Zimmerer, K.S., Bell, M.G. 2015. Time for change: The legacy of a Euro-Andean model of landscape versus the need for landscape connectivity. Landscape and Urban Planning 139: 104–116.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 251

20/04/2020 14:23

16.  Sustainable urbanism or amenity migration fad: critical analysis of urban planning of Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador Mario E. Donoso-Correa and Fausto O. Sarmiento

INTRODUCTION This study attempts to open the academic discussion of how to plan the urban expansion of the city of Cuenca, using case studies from other cities in the world, and reviewing global urban trends based on statistical and spatial data over time and the prospective trajectory of urban sustainability in Cuenca, Ecuador. Moreover, the mistakes of the planning department are studied, not only from a philosophical point of view but also with technical analyses. We start by framing the notion of urban expansion and its operational needs for growth in containment as a proven strategy for city planning, with the establishment of greenbelts to buffer potential expansion of the urban core and prospective conurbation. Scholars of urban studies trace this practice to the sixteenth century, when Queen Elizabeth I, in 1580, decided to prevent by decree the growth of the City of London (Baer, 2007) through coercive ordinances stopping people from building new homes if the distance of the new house exceeded one mile from the city walls. The monarch was not concerned, however, about the terrible internal problems in London generated through overcrowding, poverty and epidemics, as a result of the continued lack of public health policies in crowded spaces. All the power of a queen was not enough to prevent social trends arising from the interaction of thousands of individuals finally causing the City of London to expand to the periphery in the later years of the sixteenth century. During ensuing centuries, European cities continued to expand gradually, knocking down their walls, a phenomenon that intensified in the early nineteenth century, as their defensive–strategic value was lost to powerful military innovations, in particular the fact that more accurate guns appeared after the Napoleonic Wars (Bell, 2014). In 1902, Ebenezer Howard (Howard, 2013) published his book Garden Cities of To-morrow, drawing green belts around the imaginary cities. But drawing up a blueprint is not equal to understanding the processes behind spatial patterns; therefore, this author never thought that in the future the urban containment applied would, in practice, generate serious side-effects with unintended consequences. We consider those to be externalities to the urban planning process that have recently been reassessed in light of new understanding of environmental principles. The history is still unfolding in Britain, whose capital was the first city in the world to contain its expansion through a green belt around its metropolitan area (Thomas, 1963): in 1938 the County Committee of London began to acquire land surrounding the city through expropriations with monetary compensation to keep the land free of construction of any type of urban development. Almost a decade later other British cities through 252

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 252

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  253 the Planning Law of Peoples and British Country Side (Amati, 2016) would opt for the same policy of urban containment with green belts around them. The idea would then spread to other cities in member countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations, so that urban areas as far apart as Toronto (Tomalty & Komorowski, 2011) in Canada and Victoria (Tang, Wong, & Lee, 2005) in Hong Kong also decided to establish green belts around the cities. Many other cities in different countries in the developing world, not wanting to miss out on such a seductive idea, implemented their own greenbelt plans, including Seoul in South Korea, Quito in Ecuador, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in Bolivia. Local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), noting the pressure for urbanization on the outskirts of the city, started the idea of comparing the greenbelts of modernity with the chastity belts of the middle ages: despite the same intention of inviolability, there is little protection if power relations allow for either land grabs for speculation or the occupation of squatted unplanned settlements that, unfortunately, plague major primate cities in the Americas. A more precise perspective is depicted by Fu and Zhang (2017) in their bibliometric analysis of the trajectory of urban sustainability and its conceptual dynamics worldwide.

A NEW POLICY URBAN PLANNING: SMART GROWTH In the richest countries of the Global North, people have ready access to cars, which, added to the enormous public investment in new transportation infrastructure, is allowing cities to expand like never before. They have increasingly formed new suburbs around ever smaller and less important historical centers, due to a process of decentralization where the monocentric urban model is replaced by the polycentric city (Bruegmann, 2006b). The State of Oregon then decided to impose simple limits or Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB) around their cities with flexible limits that are reviewed and changed every five years, instead of creating the typical greenbelts with fixed or immovable limits (Weitz & Moore, 1998). A few years later, a group of researchers developed a master plan for the University of Oregon, and they indicated that their planning approaches can also be adapted for small communities. The end result was a book called The Oregon Experiment (Alexander et al., 1975); this work is the foundation of what later became known as “Smart Growth”, standing out especially two of the authors: Christopher Alexander and Shlomo Angel, both of them later along with other scholars published a second book called The Pattern Language (Alexander, Ishikawa, & Silverstein, 1977); paradoxically, Alexander together with Léon Krier generated a new school of thought called “new urbanism”, while Angel became his fiercest critic. These ideas gain adherents over time, and by 1993 numerous publications in various universities in the English-speaking world began to appear reinforcing what they called new urbanism scholarship. The main ideas of this school of thought (Katz, 1993) are: ●

Designing cities for people rather than for cars, prioritizing mobility through public transport, bicycles and walking (Duany, Speck, & Lydon, 2004). The idea of using metros, buses and trolleybuses is justifiable because they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, therefore improving the physical health of urban residents, while allowing pedestrians, cyclists and transit users to do physical exercise, consequently

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 253

20/04/2020 14:23

254  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability creating more intense interpersonal bonds that generate a greater sense of what community life means (Katz, 1993). ● Building neighborhoods with apartment buildings, offices and commercial premises where residential–commercial-services give rise to mixed-use and public green spaces instead of private ones (Gehl, 2011). To densify is to prevent the city from expanding and consequently consuming agricultural and pastoral areas that are vital for food production (Daniels & Lapping, 2005) and is also intended to reduce travel distances between home-work and home-shopping. This new urban paradigm argues that its goal is to find a balance between three key areas: environmental, social and economic (Deakin et al., 2007) mimicking the three pillars of sustainability. Gradually over the years this “new urbanism” school of thought changed its name. Books and scholarly articles used other names, such as Urban Ecological (Mostafavi & Doherty, 2010), Sustainable Urban Planning (Farr, 2011), Urban Landscape Planning (Weller, 2008) and New Pedestrianism (Lund, 2002); the term mostly used today is Smart Growth (EPA, 2013). It should be noted that there are authors who write about the differences between these currents (Knaap & Talen, 2005); however, the majority of new publications about this topic mostly use the ideas mentioned above, without regard to titling or subtitling their research work using the new urbanism terminology. Today, world renowned professors, researchers and consultants such as Peter Calthorpe (Van der Ryn et al., 2008), Andres Duany (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, & Speck, 2010), Colin Buchanan (Buchanan, 2015) and Stephen Plowden (Plowden, 1983), among others, have contributed to augmenting literature with Smart Growth theory and case studies; since a few decades ago they have been promulgating new urbanism or “Smart Growth”, where urbanite society is supposedly the final beneficiary of this policy.

THE CUENCAN CASE STUDY The city of Cuenca, Ecuador, is located within the Paute River watershed, specifically in an Andean valley at 2550 meters above sea level, and, therefore, its cold temperature is ameliorated by sunny mornings and drizzly afternoons. Here, four rivers converge in the urbanized valley bottom: Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Machángara and Tarqui. Cuenca is the provincial capital of Azuay, the third largest city of the country by population; its economic impact is based on trade, services and industry. Many industrial and financial large companies are headquartered here. Its history dates back to archaeological findings of ancestral settlements of the Cañari culture; this Andean town was originally called Guapondelig in Cañari language (Skurdenis, 1987), but when the Inca Empire conquered territories of present day Ecuador in the fifteenth century, this town was renamed Tumipamba in Quechua, or Tomebamba in its Castillianized version (Idrovo, 2000). With the Spanish conquest of Tahuantinsuyo, recognizing its primacy for its indigenous communities, it was officially founded as the “Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca”. This noble origin was bestowed by royal decree from the King of the Spaniards in 1557. To create a new city, it was necessary to follow the guidelines of Carlos V, which refers to finding a site with a healthy location – not too high

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 254

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  255 to avoid the wind, and not very low to avoid a hot, humid and unhealthy climate; in addition, there should be plenty of water, lots of pasture, fertile land and trees for firewood. Also, these new colonial settlements should have an orthogonal design (Hardoy, 1973) with streets intersecting at right angles such that its grid configuration would constitute a checkerboard design. It was known by the census ordered by the Marquis of Cañete (Brines Tyrer, 1988) that the population of Cuenca in 1561 was approximately 8000 inhabitants, maybe 12,000 people in 1740 (Minchom, 1986), approximately 13,000 individuals in 1776 (De Moreno & Yánez, 1995) and then decreasing in 1825 to just 9000 people. The wars of independence resulted in deaths, and generated a ruralization or return to the countryside (Donoso-Correa, 2000). After Independence, its population increased rapidly to about 17,000 in 1840 (Saint-Geours, 1986) and nearly 20,000 individuals in 1860 (Donoso-Correa, 2000). This continued population growth meant that Cuenca’s population reached 30,000 in 1920 (Deler, 1994); it should be noted, however, that, even before 1950, all these demographics were only approximations. Its spatial expansion over the centuries was through blocks and streets arranged orthogonally in what is now known as Cuenca’s Historic Center, which was not badly planned during the colonial era (Márquez Tapia, 1995) and postcolonial decades because city blocks had streets that crossed orthogonally and were wide enough for them to be used by pedestrians, horses and carriages in a comfortable manner. The first motor vehicles were introduced in 1913. Cuenca’s open spaces themselves were small and limited: parks, squares and markets dispersed throughout the urban grid, where people were shopping or walking, and children and youngsters were playing. In addition, on special occasions these public spaces were used for religious celebrations or events of civic character. From the second half of the twentieth century onwards, more accurate demographic information was collected through the Population and Housing Censuses (Lopes, 1974), which was conducted at national level every decade. Thus, in 1950, Cuenca had 39,983 inhabitants (Saunders, 1959), and began growing its population and urban area as never before in its history. In the 1940s Ecuador was in the middle stages of its demographic transition (Donoso-Correa, 2000) (when the difference between birth rates and mortality are abrupt), and rural to urban migration was an unprecedented process (Larrea, 1991), because farmers were seeking better opportunities in the cities. This rapid population growth forced a planned expansion of the city and, in 1947, the first city plan was drawn up by the Uruguayan architect Gilberto Gatto Sobral (Cabrera & Ismael, 2010), who, with his modernist conception, intervened in the area of “ejidos” (communal land), building a city designed with gardens and villas that would be built over time, with linear parks and other large tracts of open spaces such as the Mother and Paradise parks and also with a plot that consisted of a system of wide streets and wide avenues designed to decongest the growing vehicular traffic. Later, Cuenca doubled in size (Donoso-Correa, 2000) from 50,402 inhabitants in 1962 to 104,470 in 1974; then it went up to 152,406 in 1982, 198,390 in 1990, reaching 278,995 in 2001 and 331,881 in 2010 (Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (INEC), 2010); these data excluded some rural townships that are now built and integrated into the area occupied by the city metropolitan area. However, notwithstanding the commonly held belief that high population growth is the main cause of urban disorder and lack of planning, Cuenca experienced the highest rates of population growth in its history between 1950 and 1982; yet, the city was well planned.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 255

20/04/2020 14:23

256  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability The problems have arisen since the 1980s and more strongly since the 1990s; despite the creation of a Department of Planning within the Municipality of Cuenca, the city started to become disorganized, without new parks, without new avenues, without wide streets that expand from the downtown into the urban periphery; on the other hand, it is during this time that Cuenca densified through demolition of houses and construction of tall buildings, increasing the number of residents many fold, while streets and avenues were not enlarged to accommodate such an increase, making the city daily life increasingly more congested. There are many questions that generate concern for the sustainability of the trend: When was the proper planning of Cuenca lost? Is this new model of urban planning a local or a global phenomenon? How can a city be planned with so many errors in an age where technology helps understanding precisely the processes that generate different spatial patterns? To what extent is our common sense deceived by new theories that are in direct contrast to social yearnings? Why does dogma prevail over reason in urban planning of the Global South?

WHEN THEORIES PASS TO PRACTICE To turn an idea into reality it is important to have the political will at local, regional or national levels. Many ideas are never implemented and, therefore, it is never known whether they would work in the real world; others are tested and fail miserably; yet, there is a group of ideas that, when tested in practice, produce disastrous results, but are not abolished until many decades later or perhaps never. The reason for this is very simple: dogma prevails over reason. To objectively analyze what happens within so-called schools of scientific thought (Kuhn, 1963), one can find omissions or errors of a philosophical or technical character. As an example, the design ideas are conceived without prior collection of statistical and spatial data generated over time (Law, 2004); without this information, the understanding of urban processes is partial and proper planning becomes a very complicated task. Therefore, it is essential to have several types of chronological inventory of statistical and spatial data such as maps, images or geospatial models. Only when there are historical and current full statistical information for various types of attributes is it possible to determine by regression (Draper & Smith, 1998) the degree of influence of independent variables over the dependent variables, as well as being able to understand the past trends (Ostrom, 1990) to finally generate future projections. Also, it is essential to associate the databases to vector maps and to generate relational databases with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (Anselin & Getis, 2010); this tool is essential because it contains a lot of information, including chiefly the following: intra-urban and intercity vehicular traffic flows (Hanson & Giuliano, 2004); population data and demographic projections (Hertel & Sprague, 2007); surfaces of cities, urban expansion areas and potential extensions of developable land (Sudhira, Ramachandra, & Jagadish, 2004); and urban population densities and total areas for urban uses (Yunping, 1997), among others. It is not only important to have plenty of data on a particular city plan, but also to know global trends about cities’ function and form. We tend to think that each urban area is different, unique; so are their inhabitants and urban planners, although in reality there are many

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 256

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  257 similarities between the processes and patterns that occur in all cities around the world (Angel, 2012). The subjective interpretation of the world without the existence of objective data constantly deceives individuals, creating misperceptions. For example, someone just visiting Manhattan would think that people in this city move around on foot or use public transportation; however, the center of New York is less than 10 percent of its metropolitan area, and in its suburbs most flows are based on private vehicles (Bruegmann, 2006a). The same happens in other cities, including Copenhagen and Amsterdam, famous for their bicycles. Other mistakes consist of establishing ambiguous relationships between the elements of urban systems to be studied, because instead of established methods of rigorous testing based on statistics, such as the aforementioned regression analysis, which effectively demonstrates the causal relationship between the variables of a system, rather loose theories are formulated on the basis of subjective criteria of relationships that simply are believed to exist or, even if these relationships are properly established, they give a subjective percentage of influence, often exaggerated, to some independent variables, while others receive diminished importance, distorting reality. Malczewski (2000) cites several examples of these particular types of errors that are constantly made, especially with regards to the analysis of skills and land use through the application of weights to different criteria or attributes in GIS. Another faulty proposition is the formulation of indicators or indices that have nothing to do with processes or patterns in the real world. The trend is to think that the bigger the mathematical formula of an indicator is, it tends to better explain a phenomenon; but, in reality, the complexity of the urban system depends only on the elements to be analyzed. The number of elements, the number of interrelationships between them and the magnitude of their different flows are the basic characteristics that determine the degree of simplicity or complexity of a system (Kendall & Kendall, 2010). Therefore, many scholars generate complex indices through strange combinations: join several patterns that do not relate to each other in the real world; mix some processes with other completely different processes because they are part of separate systems in the real world; or combine patterns with different processes from where they originated. If science is based on observing and understanding reality as objectively as possible, then what purpose do certain algebraic equations have other than clarifying how the real world works, rather than confusing and disorienting us in our quest for sustainability? On the other hand, when analyzing technical and technological shortcomings of planning departments in many local governments of Ecuador, it is observed that they only use graphic design programs, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) (Chitchian, Sauren, & Heeling, 2001), which contain valuable drawing tools, but have severe limitations in spatial planning. Other departments use GIS (Maguire, Batty, & Goodchild, 2005) that are designed with algorithms to perform spatial analyses. However, the latter treat time as an attribute rather than a dimension, without offering the possibility of generating spatio-temporal models of complex systems. The problem is that dynamic systems should not be drawn, but simulated (Yuan, 1996). In other words, it is irresponsible to draw the streets and avenues of a city, then build and finally expect to provide solutions to real-world problems; the right thing to do is to draw several scenarios, run simulations (Balmer, Nagel, & Raney, 2004), and only build them after the system works properly in the virtual stage.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 257

20/04/2020 14:23

258  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability As an example, it is possible to do a comparison between research done by one of us in which three future scenarios of urban growth were created (Donoso-Correa, 2008): the first was performed according to the normal trend of behavior of the parameters that constitute the SLEUTH model (Dietzel & Clarke, 2007) (or cellular automata), while the other two trends were performed with increased or decreased parameters to generate patterns of Smart Growth or urban sprawl. All these were done for the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa in the Gulf Coast of Florida, USA; while other work was done by the NGO 1000 Friends for Florida (Zwick & Carr, 2006), in which a projection of urban growth at the state level was conducted with specific satellite imagery for all the paths of areas that constitute the State of Florida. By visually analyzing urban growth projections in space by 2020, you can see big differences between these two investigations, such that the trend of lower population density and greater urban sprawl generated by Donoso-Correa (2008) cannot be compared with the exaggerated pattern of urban growth in these three counties generated by Zwick & Carr (2006). Why are there such noticeable differences in the final results produced by each of these models? One reason is that two different models were used: cellular automata SLEUTH in the one case (Donoso-Correa 2008) and GIS Raster (sensu Tomlin, 2013) in the other (Zwick & Carr, 2006). But this is not the main reason for such a discrepancy; as a detailed and thorough analysis clearly shows, since 2005, the starting point for the projection of 1000 Friends for Florida already had an exaggeration in the actual size of urban areas, generating therefore more alarming future results. How do you know for sure that urban areas in 2005 contained more acreage than reality? Because Donoso-Correa (2008) used a Landsat satellite image of 2001 after classifying it into six types of ground cover, which is the starting point for the projection. This thematic map underwent rigorous evaluation through Kappa indices (Foody, 2002), where 1500 points digital orthophotos of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) were obtained and were compared with the image, showing a 90.24 percent degree of correspondence. Obviously, the starting point of Zwick & Carr (2006) was taken four years later (in 2005), and this scenario presents more surface urbanized than the final projection of low population density and expanded for the growth stimulation of the year 2025.

URBAN CONTAINMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON THE REAL ESTATE MARKET The policy of urban containment is a serious problem for families living in a growing city (Glaeser, Gyourko, & Saks, 2005), preventing the poorest members from becoming homeowners, while middle-class households experience enormous difficulties. The problem is that the largest percentage of equity, from 75 percent to 85 percent, which middle-class families own is precisely the home where they live (Juster, Smith, & Stafford, 1999). On the other hand, having to allocate a higher percentage of disposable income to pay the debt through financial amortization generates lower remaining funds for the purchase of other goods and services, generating lower levels of consumption and therefore less money to boost the urban economy (Kotkin, 2007). In addition, the higher percentage of household income is allocated monthly for their home payments, causing more danger

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 258

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  259 of falling behind with debts and losing their assets, as the economic situation of families and businesses changes over time. All urban planning policy by and large must serve the people. Advocates for policies pro Smart Growth tout this type of urban planning, creating a balance between the fields of environmental, social and economic realms, and presenting a Venn diagram of three circles in articles and lectures, without ever mentioning the serious consequences that they present in the real world (Jackson, 1987). It is obvious that this paradigm, instead of presenting this hypothetical equilibrium, rather generates great economic inequalities between those who can acquire assets and those who cannot; furthermore, those who already have this net worth increase their added value dramatically; in other words, it generates more social injustice. You can analyze the problem of high prices of real estate generated by the policies of urban containment through the affordability index of buying housing units (Home Affordability Index (HAI) (Cox, 2002). Its formula is to divide the average price of a typical house in each city by the average gross annual income of a typical household in the city, and the result is interpreted as the number of years of effort that each average household needs to invest to acquire a typical house in each city, without taking into consideration interest, taxes or spending on other goods and services, all factors that come into play in reality. One source of this information, the website (Bertaud, 2014) collects data annually for different cities in certain countries. When analyzing this information, it clearly shows that the inhabitants of the cities with Smart Growth policies tend to need more years of effort to acquire a house in relation to those living in cities without these policies. Also, chronological studies clearly distinguish the time when prices tend to rise and, in all cases, it coincides with the year in which it was decided to implement urban containment. It turns out that the more contained and more densified the cities are, the more they grow in height through buildings, and the harder it becomes to purchase a home, as in the case of the city of Victoria in Hong Kong (Hui & Yue, 2006), which is characterized by a green belt and a HAI of 19 years. Also, it draws attention to the cases of containment policies through greenbelts or UGB in major cities of Australia (Yates, 2008) and some cities in Canada (Moore & Skaburskis, 2004): since there is abundant space for urban expansion in these two very large countries and population densities are so low, rates of affordability for buying homes are more than six years in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne in Australia, and Vancouver or Toronto in Canada. Instead, many of the great cities of the United States (Cox, 2005) where expansion is unrestricted present values​​ of only three years in relation to their HAI. Scholars in favor of Smart Growth say that to contain urban sprawl is important because it generates irreparable damage to the environment, and, specifically, destroys agricultural (Harvey & Clark, 1965) and natural areas adjacent to it. It is true that, to expand a city, agricultural and pastoral areas at its periphery will be converted to urban uses, but not necessarily natural areas if they are protected, except for cities located in countries where there are weak institutions and laws are transgressed easily. However, arguments in favor of urban containment ignore the fact that many countries are undergoing a process of very rapid urbanization. In fact, in rural areas of the poorest countries, millions of people every year come to live in cities (Angel et al., 2011); it would be more convenient to prepare urban growth for all these people and, as they will continue coming to the cities, it is actually a window of opportunity, as Angel (2012) said: “a unique opportunity not to be

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 259

20/04/2020 14:23

260  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability lost and must be achieved before the end of the urbanization process in a hundred years”. The poor migrants from the countryside (Preston, 1969) seeking to improve their living conditions in cities want a job and, through home ownership, they are able to build their family heritage; therefore, this right should not be denied, policies cannot go against the aspirations of the people. Finally, it is necessary to take an inventory of the actual amount of adjacent land near the cities, to know for sure what is the potential area that has to be prepared for the expansion of cities. It is known from the Atlas of Urban Expansion, based on a globally spatial and statistical inventory in 2000 of all cities that occupy only 0.5 percent of the total area of their ​​ countries (Angel, 2012), and when the urbanization process will be completed in another century, the cities will come to occupy between 2–2.5 percent of the total area of their ​​ countries. Obviously, there are local variations, and there are countries where their cities occupy 100 percent of their territory, as in the cases of Monaco or the Vatican, while in Canada, Russia or Australia their cities occupy less than 0.25 percent of their territory (Angel el al., 2010). Densifying does not imply in any way that city governments do not have to invest in infrastructure; rather there will be expenses that must necessarily be incurred because they must break up streets or sidewalks to expand the width of the pipes or expand the network of electrical and phone cables, etc., repaving or asphalting, and finally must build more overpasses to relieve the increasing traffic of the congested streets.

URBAN CONTAINMENT POLICIES AND THEIR EFFECT ON VEHICULAR TRAFFIC Trends show that more and more private vehicles per 1000 people exist every year in many cities worldwide. Given a strong correlation with improving economic conditions for the countries, then, they prepare a city for pedestrians, bicycles and public transport (Tolley, 1990), simply generating growth without wide streets and also with a reduced number of lanes on the main existing arteries to prioritize other types of mobility. Smart Growth seeks to densify the city (Schmidt-Thomé et al., 2013) through the construction of buildings on vacant lots or lots where once there were houses or low villas. The end result will rather increase vehicular traffic and therefore a more contaminated city (Onursal & Gautam, 1997). Indeed, one of the biggest claims made by academics in favor of urban containment is the environmental pollution caused by industries and vehicles with internal combustion engines, specifically the CO2 problem that leads to global warming (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). While it is true and undeniable that human societies have contributed to the greenhouse effect, they are not the only ones that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; all decaying organic matter (Craine, Fierer, & McLauchlan, 2010) is able to generate CO2 (for example, autumn leaves), as well as volcanic eruptions, which emit it among other gases (Fischer, 2008), and carbon dioxide is also generated (and sequestered) by the oceans (Takahashi et al., 1999). On the other hand, planet Earth in its movement, or precession angle, presents cycles (Berger, 1988) of thousands of years in which there were warmer and colder periods. Finally, the sun shows variation in radiation intensity, and therefore its heat energy is not constant (Haigh & Cargill, 2015). Thus, one can say that a lot, but not all, of climate change is anthropogenic; otherwise, how can the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 260

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  261 preindustrial phenomena be explained as the little ice age (Mann, 2002) (from 1300 to 1850 approximately) or the medieval warm period (Broecker, 2001) (from 950 to 1250)?

THE URBAN PLANNING OF THE CITY OF CUENCA IN THE LATE TWENTIETH AND EARLY TWENTY-FIRST CENTURIES With all the facts mentioned above, it is now possible to analyze what happened with the planning of the city of Cuenca after architect Gatto Sobral finished his planning project (Cabrera & Ismael, 2010). First, a few more streets were built, such as the Avenida de las Americas (also known as the Beltway) and the avenue from Cuenca to Azogues, called the Freeway (Brito Alemán & Terán Ramos, 1998), both surrounding the city in a loop. Although, obviously, the city in recent decades has much expanded, leaving the Avenida de las Americas within it. Apart from these two major arteries, the only street that was created west of the city was the Avenida Enrique Arízaga Toral, ranging from Cuenca to San Joaquin and ending in Sayausí. Lately, there has been a project under construction that would expand Avenida Ordoñez Lasso and another project to create a new outer Beltway (Solano Jara, 2009). Regarding the parks, only small parks have been built besides the continuous expansion of linear parks (Porras López, 2011) along the rivers of the city, as Cuenca expands. In other words, the city stopped growing without parks and without wide streets due to a lack of proper planning (Angel, 2008), with local governments not acting in time, and, therefore, without the possibility of expropriations of important domains when they still were rural (Fuller & Romer, 2014), This is a totally different way from how the city used to expand and be built decades ago. The lack of adequate planning simply makes it impossible to build parks and streets because the municipality needs to recognize not only the land’s monetary value, but also the value of the built structures. Currently, there is a project to build a greenbelt, with the aim of getting up to 9 m2 of green area per capita (Flores-Xolocotzi & de Jesús González-Guillén, 2007), or maybe a little more, and, thus, to meet the minimum standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Regarding the project of this mega park, it is very important to protect all areas with slopes greater than 30 or 40 degrees surrounding the city; this sloping topography generates expensive construction costs related to building edifices because they need deeper foundations, while in rural areas erosional processes (Gray et al., 1982) are generated. To protect the most vulnerable topographical areas is a brilliant idea, but to contain the expansion of the city with a greenbelt that encloses the urban areas only will cause the prices of lots and consequently of houses and apartments to increase further, as has happened in many cities such as London (Amati, 2016), Hong Kong (Chi-man Hui & Sze-mun Ho, 2003), Seoul (Green, Malpezzi, & Vandell, 1994), etc. and it must be remembered that Quito and Cuenca are today dealing with the most expensive real estate markets in the country. There are urban myths about the high prices in the city of Cuenca per square meter of land or housing unit; one of them speaks of the approximately 10,000 foreign retirees (especially from the USA and to a lesser extent Canada and Europe), who have been arriving since 2000, as the cause of high real estate prices, and some research has even been done supporting this hypothesis (Cely et al., 2015). Another myth states that the

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 261

20/04/2020 14:23

262  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability high land prices are because the city has occupied all the valley and has no more room to expand; obviously, it is a city in an enclosed valley between mountains, and consequently one might think that this hypothesis is true, but when analyzing in detail the maps and statistics of the Land Use Plan of Canton Cuenca (Municipalidad de Cuenca, 2011), this plan shows that the extension of the city occupied in the year 2011 only 2 percent of the area of i​​ ts political jurisdiction (7300 hectares), while the total area of ​​the valleys occupied 20.7 percent of the area of the canton (75.876 hectares). In this plan, maps show large areas with slopes less than 30 degrees south of the city, especially in the sectors of Tarqui (Ugalde Sánchez & Quinde Moncayo, 2005) and the sector named El Valle (El Valle, 2011), areas that could be used for future expansion of the city, instead of restricting its development to a few specific areas as is the case today. If there are no limits to urban sprawl or a greenbelt does not exist yet, why are the prices of real estate so high in Cuenca? The answer is very simple and depends on two phenomena. The observation of orthophotos (Navas & Prieto, 2011) in the urban–rural periphery demonstrated that, apart from the existence of roads leading to the main towns in the parish and a few secondary roads, there is a lack of road infrastructure (Barreto & Díaz, 2007), creating a shortage of potentially buildable lots because of the lack of access to and infrastructure of basic services. The city is being built almost simultaneously with the opening of new streets, causing another kind of urban containment, where the land also rises in value through imbalances between reduced supply and high demand. On the other hand, the same municipal ordinances have been responsible for increasing the prices of lands inside the city, allowing the construction of buildings (with all its enormous associated costs) in areas where there were houses or villas. This means that the expansion of the city of Cuenca is contained in its periphery by lack of public investment in roads and other infrastructure, while inside there is a process of densification (Hermida et al., 2015). This is precisely the ideal recipe to unnecessarily increase the prices of real estate and generate serious social and economic consequences for all citizens of this city. With respect to vehicular traffic (Bleviss, 2000), this has steadily increased with the passing of the years, and its causes depend on the following factors: as already mentioned above, the city has grown in recent decades with a lack of new wide streets able to effectively serve a boost in the flow of cars; on the other hand, some streets have lost lanes, such as the Avenida April 12, to be replaced by pedestrian paths; Avenida Solano was also reduced to build bikeways (Villa Uvidia, 2014), Avenida de las Americas has lost the west two lanes for the new trolley way (Medina et al., 2016), for these reasons, traffic congestions have increased and the overpasses built have been few in relation to the real needs of the city. In addition, they have demolished houses and villas in many parts of the city (for example, in the Ejido and along the Avenida Ordoñez Lasso), to be replaced by tall buildings, and where there were, for example, two cars, there are now 20 or more, which will have to use the same streets and avenues. In conclusion, a city that was designed for houses, should not be converted through simple drawings and ordinances to a city of tall buildings, especially if an adequate road infrastructure did not already exist to avoid traffic congestion caused by this densification process (O’Toole, 2001). Finally, it should be noted that since the dollarization of the economy of Ecuador in the year 2000 (Naranjo, 2005), the government has increased investment and public spending (Moncayo & Solano, 2013) and, through continuous wage increases (Burgos, Nivela, & Intriago, 2016), the country and thus its cities have gradually generated a middle class in

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 262

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  263 recent years, both in absolute and percentage terms. It is precisely these households that, with more income, are likely to take out bank loans and therefore to buy more vehicles, whether new or used, producing more traffic; as a result, traffic jams have become part of the everyday life of the city. Finally, it should be noted that the dense vehicular traffic generates CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and these same pollutants (Kuniholm, 2011) cause serious health problems at the local level (Espinoza & Molina, 2014) to the respiratory system (López Ortiz & Pacheco González, 2015). There are numerous reports about this for the city of Cuenca, such as respiratory alterations (Pesántez Díaz, 2009), asthma (Maldonado Díaz, 2012), etc. Another serious problem is the noise of the city, which exists in more parts of this Andean city (Delgado & Martínez, 2015).

CONCLUSIONS The interaction between different factors is responsible for the failure of urban planning in many cities around the world, as has happened in the city of Cuenca. Typical problems are dense urbanization of the central area of the ​​ city with a mix of housing, offices and businesses, and the lack of an adequate transport infrastructure, while its periphery is mainly occupied by a dense collection of houses. Contrary to the past, when designers included in urban planning open spaces for gardens and other areas of large parks, urban policy, design and planning remain outside reality, because urban development is more dynamic than the adaptation and implementation of proper planning. The main causes of this phenomenon has been the rapid growth of the urban population, particularly since the second half of the twentieth century, as a result of a strong migratory movement of the rural population and the influx of foreigners for leisure and economic development that have led to the proliferation of apartment blocks, exaggerated real estate prices, and an explosion in the number of cars, so that the existing road infrastructure is supersaturated, with a negative impact on the environment, and ultimately undermining the health of urban dwellers. The review of the related literature revealed that there is an abundance of recent literature on how to design urban areas so as to provide a healthy and sustainable environment for life and work, equipped with open and green spaces, and a variety of forms of transport infrastructure, ranging from walking, public transport and road infrastructure for private cars. Moreover, today’s city planners tend to differentiate themselves from their predecessors in their willingness to have a wide range of technological tools for data collection and processing, data analysis and design. The reason that there are problems in planning is probably due to the fact that there is a lack of understanding of how urban areas should be planned, a lack of experience in the proper use of a wide range of technological tools, and this results in errors in making the right policy decisions. It is important that short-term interventions in urban planning are part of a regional long-term view of the expected dynamics, and different scenarios of possible developments are studied and analyzed based on profitability and sustainability. Politicians and urban planners, in cooperation with society, all working together, must in future use properly the knowledge and modern technologies, taking into serious consideration the wishes and aspirations of city dwellers, so that Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city and

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 263

20/04/2020 14:23

264  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability economic center of the southern highlands, can be equipped with an infrastructure that will ensure a better balance between the different functions of the city.

REFERENCES Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Alexander, C., Silverstein, M., Angel, S., Ishikawa, S., & Abrams, D. (1975). The Oregon Experiment. Oxford University Press, New York. Amati, M. (2016). Urban Green Belts in the Twenty-first Century. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, & New York. Angel, S. (2008). Preparing for urban expansion: A proposed strategy for intermediate cities in Ecuador. The New Global Frontier: Urbanization, Poverty and the Environment in the 21st Century. Retrieved 29 January 2020 from el,+S.,+2008.​+Preparing+for+urban+expansion:+A+proposed+strategy+for+intermediate+cities+in+Ecuad or.&ots=n2pW3OAOdS&sig=NMrCpGUfoUkcn-Okjy-CF33vyqU. Angel, S. (2012). Planet of Cities. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA. Angel, S., Parent, J., Civco, D., Blei, A., & Potere, D. (2010). A Planet of Cities: Urban Land Cover Estimates and Projections for All Countries, 2000–2050. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from publication/265034264_A_Planet_of_Cities_Urban_Land_Cover_Estimates_and_Projections_for_All_Coun​ tries_2000-2050/links/546eb5a20cf2bc99c2155b5b.pdf. Angel, S., Parent, J., Civco, D. L., & Blei, A. M. (2011). Making room for a planet of cities. Policy Focus Report/ Code PF027, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Anselin, L., & Getis, A. (2010). Spatial statistical analysis and geographic information systems. In L. Anselin & S. J. Rey (Eds.), Perspectives on Spatial Data Analysis (pp. 35–47). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. Baer, W. (2007). Planning for growth and growth controls in early modern northern Europe: Part 2: the evolution of London’s practice 1580 to 1680. The Town Planning Review, 78(3), 257–277. Balmer, M., Nagel, K., & Raney, B. (2004). Large-scale multi-agent simulations for transportation applications. Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems, 8(4), 205–221. Barreto, B., & Díaz, S. (2007). Análisis histórico-geográfico de la vialidad en la provincia del Azuay. dspace. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Bell, D. A. (2014). The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA. Berger, A. (1988). Milankovitch Theory and climate. Reviews of Geophysics, 26(4), 624–657. Bertaud, A. (2014). 10th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2014. Demographia, Belleville, IL. Bleviss, D. (2000). Urban transportation in Latin America and the Caribbean: The example of Cuenca, Ecuador. Industry and Environment – Paris, 23(4), 49–51. Brines Tyrer, R. (1988). Historia demográfica y económica de la Audiencia de Quito: población indígena e industria textil 1600–1800. Quito: Banco Central Del Ecuador. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from wxis.exe/?IsisScript=BIBLIOPE.xis&method=post&formato=2&cantidad=1&expresion=mfn=005598. Brito Alemán, A. del R., & Terán Ramos, F. C. (1998). Cambio en el uso de suelos por la construcción de la autopista Cuenca-Azogues. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from ec/handle/123456789/15058. Broecker, W. S. (2001). Paleoclimate: Was the Medieval Warm Period global? Science, 291(5508), 1497–1499. Bruegmann, R. (2006a). Sprawl: A Compact History. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. Bruegmann, R. (2006b). Sprawl: A compact history. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 96(3), 666–667. Buchanan, C. (2015). Traffic in Towns: A Study of the Long Term Problems of Traffic in Urban Areas. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon & New York. Burgos, G. P., Nivela, A. M., & Intriago, L. G. (2016). Análisis Comparativo de la Evolución del Poder Adquisitivo de Ecuador en la Región Andina durante el periodo comprendido desde el año 2007 al primer semestre del 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Cabrera, M., & Ismael, N. (2010). Influencia del arquitecto Gilberto Gatto Sobral en la concepción urbana moderna de la ciudad de Cuenca. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http://dspace.ucuenca. Cely, C., Andrea, S., Inca, C., & María, K. (2015). Escalada inmobiliaria, cuenca: migración privilegiada y

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 264

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  265 crecimiento en el precio de los bienes inmuebles. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http:// Chi-man Hui, E., & Sze-mun Ho, V. (2003). Does the planning system affect housing prices? Theory and with evidence from Hong Kong. Habitat International, 27(3), 339–359. Chitchian, D., Sauren, E. G. M., & Heeling, J. (2001). Urban-CAD, A Design Application for Urbanism. In B. de Vries, J. van Leeuwen, & H. Achten (Eds.), Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures 2001 (pp. 387–399). Springer, Dordrecht. Cox, W. (2002). Smart Growth and housing affordability. Paper Commissioned by the Millennial Housing Commission. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from coxsg.pdf. Cox, W. (2005). Destroying opportunity with “Smart Growth”. People and Place, 13(4), 55–59. Craine, J. M., Fierer, N., & McLauchlan, K. K. (2010). Widespread coupling between the rate and temperature sensitivity of organic matter decay. Nature Geoscience, 3(12), 854–857. Daniels, T., & Lapping, M. (2005). Land preservation: An essential ingredient in Smart Growth. Journal of Planning Literature, 19(3), 316–329. Deakin, M., Mitchell, G., Nijkamp, P., & Vreeker, R. (2007). Sustainable Urban Development Volume 2: The Environmental Assessment Methods. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon & New York. Deler, J. P. (1994). Transformaciones regionales y organización del espacio nacional ecuatoriano entre 1830 y 1930. In J. Maiguashca (Ed.), Historia y región en el Ecuador 1830–1930 (pp. 295–355). Corporación Editora Nacional, FLACSO and CERLAC, Quito. Delgado, O., & Martínez, J. (2015). Elaboración del mapa de ruido del área urbana de la Ciudad de Cuenca– Ecuador, empleando la técnica de interpolación geoestadística Kriging ordinario. Ciencias Espaciales, 8(1), 411–440. De Moreno, C. B., & Yánez, S. E. M. (1995). Las reformas borbónicas en la Audiencia de Quito. Anuario Colombiano de Historia Social Y de La CuzWIltura, (22), 35–57. Dietzel, C., & Clarke, K. C. (2007). Toward optimal calibration of the SLEUTH land use change model. Transactions in GIS, 11(1), 29–45. Donoso-Correa, M. E. (2000). Análisis de la evolución demográfica del Ecuador 1950–2000. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Donoso-Correa, M. E. (2008). Geosimulations of urban growth, dasymetric mapping and population dynamics in northwest Florida, 1974–2025 (Ph.D. degree; F. Sarmiento, Ed.). University of Georgia. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Draper, N. R., & Smith, H. (1998). Applied Regression Analysis. Wiley-Interscience, New York. Duany, A., Plater-Zyberk, E., & Speck, J. (2010). Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. North Point Press, New York. Duany, A., Speck, J., & Lydon, M. (2004). The Smart Growth Manual. McGraw-Hill Professional, New York. El Valle, G. P. (2011). Plan de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento Territorial. El Valle, Azuay, Ecuador. EPA. (2013, April 8). About Smart Growth. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from about-smart-growth Espinoza, E. P., & Molina, C. E. (2014). Contaminación del aire exterior Cuenca–Ecuador, 2009–2013. Posibles efectos en la salud. Revista de La Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, 32(2), 6–17. Farr, D. (2011). Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. Fischer, T. P. (2008). Fluxes of volatiles (H2O, CO2, N2, Cl, F) from arc volcanoes. Geochemical Journal, 42(1), 21–38. Flores-Xolocotzi, R., & de Jesús González-Guillén, M. (2007). Consideraciones sociales en el diseño y planificación de parques urbanos. Economía Sociedad Y Territorio. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from https://doi. org/10.22136/est002007242. Foody, G. M. (2002). Status of land cover classification accuracy assessment. Remote Sensing of Environment, 80(1), 185–201. Fu, Y., & Zhang, X. (2017). Trajectory of urban sustainability concepts: A 35-year bibliometric analysis. Cities 60(1): 113–123. Fuller, B., & Romer, P. (2014). Urbanization as opportunity. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from https://papers.ssrn. com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2439696. Gehl, J. (2011). Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space. Island Press, Washington, DC. Glaeser, E. L., Gyourko, J., & Saks, R. (2005). Why is Manhattan so expensive? Regulation and the rise in housing prices. The Journal of Law and Economics, 48(2), 331–369. Gray, D. H., Leiser, A. T., et al. (1982). Biotechnical Slope Protection and Erosion Control. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc., New York. Green, R. K., Malpezzi, S., & Vandell, K. (1994). Urban regulations and the price of land and housing in Korea. Journal of Housing Economics, 3(4), 330–356. Haigh, J. D., & Cargill, P. (2015). The Sun’s Influence on Climate. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 265

20/04/2020 14:23

266  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Hanson, S., & Giuliano, G. (2004). The geography of urban transportation. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from https://,+S.,+G.​+Giuli ano,+2004.+The+geography+of+urban+transportation.+&ots=EodELMCX3M&sig=qaIha03JZwXK6SoQ dNxsquUbhXY. Hardoy, J. E. (1973). La forma de las ciudades coloniales en la América española. Revista de índias, 33, 315. Harvey, R. O., & Clark, W. A. V. (1965). The nature and economics of urban sprawl. Land Economics, 41(1), 1–9. Hermida, M. A., Hermida, C., Cabrera, N., & Calle, C. (2015). La densidad urbana como variable de análisis de la ciudad: El caso de Cuenca, Ecuador. EURE. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Urbano Regionales, 41(124), 25–44. Hertel, K., & Sprague, N. (2007). GIS and census data: Tools for library planning. Library Hi Tech, 25(2), 246–259. Howard, E. (2013). Garden Cities of To-Morrow. Routledge. Hui, E. C. M., & Yue, S. (2006). Housing price bubbles in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai: A comparative study. Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 33(4), 299–327. Idrovo, J. (2000). Tomebamba: arqueología e historia de una ciudad imperial. Ediciones Del Banco Central Del Ecuador, Cuenca, Ecuador. INEC. (2010). Resultados del Censo 2010 de población y vivienda en el Ecuador. Quito. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Climate Change 2007 – The Physical Science Basis: Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Jackson, K. T. (1987). Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Juster, F. T., Smith, J. P., & Stafford, F. (1999). The measurement and structure of household wealth. Labour Economics, 6(2), 253–275. Katz, P. (1993). The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community. McGraw-Hill Professional, New York. Kendall, K. E., & Kendall, J. E. (2010). Systems Analysis and Design (8th ed.). Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. Knaap, G., & Talen, E. (2005). New urbanism and Smart Growth: A few words from the academy. International Regional Science Review, 28(2), 107–118. Kotkin, J. (2007). Opportunity Urbanism: An Emerging Paradigm for the 21st century (Vol. 75). Greater Houston Partnership, Houston, TX. Kuhn, T. S. (1963). The Function of Dogma in Scientific Research. In A. C. Crombie (Ed.), Scientific Change (Symposium on the History of Science, University of Oxford, 9–15 July 1961) (pp. 347–369). University of Oxford, Oxford. Kuniholm, I. (2011). Air pollution in Cuenca, Ecuador. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http://do​​ nca.pdf. Larrea, C. (1991). Industria, estructura agraria y migraciones internas en el Ecuador: 1950–1982. FLACSO Sede, Ecuador. Law, J. (2004). After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon & New York. Lopes, V. F. (1974). Los censos como fuentes de datos demográficos en América Latina. Notas de Población. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from López Ortiz, T. E., & Pacheco González, A. I. (2015). Efectos de la contaminación atmosférica en la salud de las personas en la ciudad de Cuenca. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http://dspace.ucuenca. Lund, H. (2002). Pedestrian environments and sense of community. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 21(3), 301–312. Maguire, D. J., Batty, M., & Goodchild, M. F. (2005). GIS, spatial analysis, and modeling. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Malczewski, J. (2000). On the use of Weighted Linear Combination Method in GIS: Common and best practice approaches. Transactions in GIS, 4(1), 5–22. Maldonado Díaz, D. V. (2012). Prevalencia de asma y su relación con la contaminación del medio externo en niños de 2 a 5 años en los centros de desarrollo infantil comunitarios, Cuenca-2012. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Mann, M. E. (2002). Little ice age. Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, 1, 504–509. Márquez Tapia, R. (1995). Cuenca colonial. Corporación Editora Nacional, Quito, Ecuador. Medina, R., Morales, D., Tapia, B., Criollo, D., Romero, J., Guamán, P., & Arévalo, P. (2016). Modelado del Tranvía Citadis-302 Implementado en la Ciudad de Cuenca Utilizando Matlab-Simulink®. Revista, (12). Retrieved 15 July 2016 from

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 266

20/04/2020 14:23

Cuenca cityscapes, Ecuador  267 &authtype=crawler&jrnl=13905074&AN=112810904&h=xvbBToabKwbvPzVdqxbsYpbSehkix6BG33Wls2L 6PFs​TUw5P2l7PdaREirGXDavtg06dvE1GPvS%2FEFgbS9ZVkg%3D%3D&crl=c. Minchom, M. (1986). La Evolución Demográfica del Ecuador en el Siglo XVII. Revista Cultura, 8(24a), 459–480. Moncayo, G., & Solano, J. (2013). Plan plurianual de inversión pública 2013–2017. Secretaria Nacional de Planificación Y Desarrollo, Subsecretaria de Inversión Pública, Quito, SENPLADES. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from​ /2013/07/PPIP-2013-2017.pdf. Moore, E., & Skaburskis, A. (2004). Canada’s increasing housing affordability burdens. Housing Studies, 19(3), 395–413. Mostafavi, M., & Doherty, G. (2010). Ecological Urbanism. Lars Müller Publishers, Baden. Municipalidad de Cuenca. (2011). Plan de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento territorial del cantón Cuenca. Municipalidad de Cuenca, Cuenca. Naranjo, M. (2005). Dolarización oficial y regímenes monetarios en el Ecuador. Colegio de Economistas de Pichincha, Quito. Navas, G. E., & Prieto, P. M. (2011). Geoportales en el Ecuador. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http://www.dspace. Onursal, B., & Gautam, S. (1997). Vehicular Air Pollution: Experiences from Seven Latin American Urban Centers. World Bank Publications, Beverly Hills, CA. Ostrom, C. W. (1990). Time Series Analysis: Regression Techniques. Sage. O’Toole, R. (2001). The folly of Smart Growth. Regulation, 24, 20–25. Pesántez Díaz, T. L. (2009). Políticas ambientales locales para el control de alteraciones respiratorias por contaminación vehicular en los escolares del cantón Cuenca, 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Plowden, S. (1983). Transport efficiency and the urban environment is there a conflict? Transport Reviews, 3(4), 363–398. Porras López, B. R. (2011). Áreas verdes en la ciudad de Cuenca: Parques, plazas, plazoletas y parques lineales. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Preston, D. (1969). Rural emigration in Andean America. Human Organization, 28(4), 279–286. Saint-Geours, Y. (1986). La evolución demográfica del Ecuador en el siglo XIX. Banco Central Del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador. Saunders, J. (1959). La población del Ecuador: Un análisis del censo de 1950. Casa de la cultura ecuatoriana, Quito, Ecuador. Schmidt-Thomé, K., Haybatollahi, M., Kyttä, M., & Korpi, J. (2013). The prospects for urban densification: A place-based study. Environmental Research Letters: ERL [website], 8(2), 025020. Skurdenis, J. (1987). Ecuador’s precolumbian heritage. Archaeology, 40(4), 64–65. Solano Jara, F. (2009). Propuesta de análisis de potenciales impactos territoriales por el trazado de la nueva avenida Circunvalación Norte de la ciudad de Cuenca. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from http:// Sudhira, H. S., Ramachandra, T. V., & Jagadish, K. S. (2004). Urban sprawl: Metrics, dynamics and modelling using GIS. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 5(1), 29–39. Takahashi, T., Wanninkhof, W. H., Feely, R. A., Weiss, R. F., Chipman, D. W., Bates, N. R., . . . Sutherland, S. G. (1999). Net sea–air CO2 flux over the global oceans: An improved estimate based on the sea-air pCO2 difference. In Y. Nojiri (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on CO2 in the Oceans (p. 688). Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Environmental Agency of Japan, Japan. Tang, B.-S., Wong, S.-W., & Lee, A. K. W. (2005). Green belt, countryside conservation and local politics: A Hong Kong case study. Review of Urban and Regional Development Studies: RURDS: Journal of the Applied Regional Conference, 17(3), 230–247. Thomas, D. (1963). London’s green belt: The evolution of an idea. The Geographical Journal, 129(1), 14–24. Tolley, R. (1990). Hard road: The problems of walking and cycling in British cities. In R. Tolley (Ed.), The Greening of Urban Transport. Planning For Walking and Cycling in Western Cities (pp. 177–190). John Wiley & Sons, London. Tomalty, R., & Komorowski, B. (2011). Inside and Out: Sustaining Ontario’s Greenbelt. Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Toronto. Tomlin, C. D. (2013). GIS and Cartographic Modeling. ESRI Press, Redlands, CA. Ugalde Sánchez, R., & Quinde Moncayo, P. (2005). Plan de ordenamiento y desarrollo de la Parroquia Tarqui. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Van der Ryn, S., Calthorpe, P., et al. (2008). Sustainable Communities: A New Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs and Towns. New Catalyst Books, Gabriola Island, BC. Villa Uvidia, R. (2014). Guía técnica para el diseño y construcción de Ciclovías para zonas de ampliación futura de

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 267

20/04/2020 14:23

268  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability la ciudades medianas del Ecuador. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Weitz, J., & Moore, T. (1998). Development inside urban growth boundaries: Oregon’s empirical evidence of contiguous urban form. Journal of the American Planning Association. American Planning Association, 64(4), 424–440. Weller, R. (2008). Landscape (sub)urbanism in theory and practice. Landscape Journal, 27(2), 247–267. Yates, J. (2008). Australia’s housing affordability crisis. The Australian Economic Review / Institute of Applied Economic Research, 41(2), 200–214. Yuan, M. (1996). Temporal GIS and spatio-temporal modeling. In Proceedings of Third International Conference Workshop on Integrating GIS and Environment Modeling, Santa Fe, NM (Vol. 33). Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Yunping, Y. (1997). GIS and Urban Studies. Journal of the Graduates Sun Yat-Sen University (Natural Sciences). Retrieved 15 July 2016 from Zwick, P. D., & Carr, M. H. (2006). Florida 2060: A Population Distribution Scenario for the State of Florida. A Research Project Prepared for the 1000 Friends of Florida. Geoplan Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 268

20/04/2020 14:23


SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 269

20/04/2020 14:23

17.  Land cover and land use change in an emerging national park gateway region: implications for mountain sustainability Lynn M. Resler, Yang Shao, James B. Campbell and Amanda Michaels

INTRODUCTION Land cover and land use change (LCLUC) refers to conversion of natural and humandominated landscapes through human processes. It is a force of global significance because local LCLUC processes can impact both regional and global factors such as climate, biodiversity, and human health (Foley et al., 2005; Brandt and Townsend, 2006). For example, emergence of infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease in the northeastern United States, is strongly linked to wildlife habitat change, including altered breeding sites and changing vector biodiversity resulting from land use changes (Patz et al., 2008). Further, urbanization and agricultural expansion are considered among the two most important anthropogenic factors impacting climate (Kalnay and Cai, 2003). Because of the multifaceted nature of LCLUC, incorporating both human and environmental systems and their interactions, the study of LCLUC now forms a cornerstone of sustainability research (Turner et al., 2007). Within the United States, mountain landscapes, in particular, share complex relationships with land cover change processes (see Messerli and Ives, 1997) given the following factors: (1) a large portion of US mountain landscapes are designated as public lands, and are sometimes federally protected; (2) mountainous regions are distinctive by nature of their many physical and cultural amenities, which attract tourists and new residents (Glorioso and Moss, 2007); and (3) mountains are vulnerable to landscape change (Messerli et al., 2004; Dobrowski and Parks, 2016). Further, altitudinal gradients provide highly varied landscapes through differences in landcover, biota, slope, and exposure, increasing opportunities for land use changes. Combined, these forces and their interactions have important implications for outcomes of LCLUC on mountain sustainability. Worldwide, although mountains are strongholds of the remaining ‘protected’ places, they experience unsustainable rates of change. As of 2001, mountainous landscapes constituted one-third of the earth’s total protected areas (IUCN, 2019). In the United States, many western mountainous regions were originally designated as national parks based on spectacular scenery, charismatic wildlife (Sax and Keiter, 2006), and recreational opportunities (IUCN, 2019). In the 1990s, the concept of integrated ecosystem-based management was more readily embraced (Sax and Keiter, 2006) along with the recognition that ecosystem processes operate independently of ownership or administrative boundaries (Guercio and Duane, 2009) and are open systems, with feedback among resources, people, and the environment from local to global scales (Lambin and Meyfroidt, 2011). Thus, mountain parklands have been increasingly celebrated for integrated attributes of 270

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 270

20/04/2020 14:23

LCLUC in a national park gateway  271 biodiversity (Jenik, 1997; Hannah et al., 2005; Sala et al., 2000), watershed protection, and critical habitat. Ironically, protected landscapes often attract behaviors that threaten the purpose of their preservation, such as the impact of tourists and new residents—often, for the same reasons they were originally protected. Research shows that preference for specific landscape characteristics drives rural area migration to mountain areas (Price et al., 1997; McGranahan, 1999; 2008; Moss, 2006). Such development intensification differs from previous movement of people into mountain regions, because it is driven by high valuation of environmental, recreational, and cultural amenities (Price et al., 1997; Glorioso and Moss, 2007), rather than by resource extraction. Amenity migrants, now permanent new residents of amenity-rich locales, value leisure opportunities, and aesthetic and cultural enjoyment. In the Rocky Mountains, attractions include mountain vistas, wildlife, accessibility of public lands, forested landscapes, and relative solitude (Rasker and Hansen, 2000; McGranahan, 2008). Rural landscape preference results in patterns of development recognizably different than those found in more urban areas. For example, Riebsame et al. (1996) note that ex-urban (that is, low-intensity) development occurs around public lands at the wildland–urban interface because of the ease of access to recreational activities and opportunities. Across the US Intermountain West (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) low-density residential development has been advancing at a rapid pace (Alm and Witt, 1995; Riebsame et al. 1996; Rasker and Hansen, 2000). As a result, new land use patterns, including dispersed residential development, replaced ranches or less-altered landscapes (see Theobald et al., 1996 for Colorado). By nature of their complex topography, weather, and disturbance processes, mountain areas are highly sensitive landscapes (Messerli et al., 2004; Dobrowski and Parks, 2016), especially in the context of a changing climate, and thus are susceptible to intense human influence. Even the most remote national parks contend with development and related environmental pressures at their borders (Sax and Keiter, 2006), which may render them susceptible to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and increased exposure to natural hazards. Throughout the Rocky Mountains, activities on lands adjacent to national parks include timber harvesting, oil and gas development, grazing, agricultural expansion, and urbanization (Foley et al. 2005). It is likely that many such activities cause both direct and indirect harm to habitat and wildlife in national parks, in addition to impacts upon experiences of park visitors. As a result, these ecosystems will be increasingly difficult to protect in their intact, natural, states (Goetz et al., 2009). Such processes challenge the concept of ‘protected’ mountainous regions.

CASE STUDY: LCLUC IN AN EMERGING NATIONAL PARK GATEWAY REGION, MONTANA, USA We conducted a decadal LCLUC analysis to examine the nature and trajectory of LCLUC within and surrounding Glacier National Park (GNP), Montana, a designated mountain Biosphere Reserve and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. Landscape change, through park development in local communities and resource extraction (such as logging and mining), has been occurring in the area around GNP in both subtle and conspicuous ways, often

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 271

20/04/2020 14:23

272  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability affecting highly sensitive ecosystems within GNP, both directly and indirectly. GNP has been recognized as among the most threatened national parks in the United States, given surrounding development activities and competing land uses that pressure terrestrial and aquatic ecological diversity (Omernik, 1987; Sax and Kieter, 2006). Here we are especially interested in change in forests and agricultural lands, and growth of impervious surface cover change as a type of LCLUC because these landscape changes often encapsulate urbanization processes. Examination of increases in impervious surface cover forms a meaningful marker of land use change because of its impact upon local hydrology, its contributions to disruption of the landscape’s thermal balance, and its role as a distinctive indicator of increasing population density. Although we recognize measurements of LCLUC are not solely sufficient to provide an understanding of driving forces behind land use change, our results form the basis for examination of how changing LCLUC is impacting, and may continue to impact, the GNP region. For our study area and for the following time periods: 1991–2001, 2001–2011, and 1991–2011, our specific objectives were: (1) to quantify changes in amount, and assess spatial organization of, impervious surface cover; and (2) to quantify changes in amount, and assess spatial organization of, forest and agricultural cover. Study Area Our study area includes Flathead and Glacier Counties, Montana. These counties lie in the far northwestern corner of Montana, bordered to the north by Canada. GNP straddles the Continental Divide, which forms the western boundary of Glacier County and the eastern boundary of Flathead County (Figure 17.1); thus, GNP is included in both study counties. With the exception of the far eastern portion of Glacier County, the bulk of our study area lies within the US portion of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem (CCE), a mountainous region considered to be among the most ecologically intact landscapes within the lower 48 (Carolin et al., 2007). The region is characterized by a complex mosaic of natural, public, and private lands (Prato and Fagre, 2007). The US portion of the CCE (~47,200 km2) is comprised of 80 percent federal and state public lands, including GNP lands managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (including Wilderness Areas and National Forests), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Montana State Forests. Private land is largely agricultural or forested landscapes owned by timber companies. In Flathead County alone, employment growth is found primarily in trade and service sectors, and real estate and construction. Next to Gallatin County, Flathead County is the second fastest growing county in Montana; it has grown over 24 percent since 2000—a rate higher than both the state and national averages (Figure 17.2). Longstanding industries, including agriculture, and wood products manufacturing, are now generally in decline (Prato and Fagre, 2007), yet remain active in some regions of the Flathead Valley. In contrast, Glacier County has grown only 3 percent, despite its relevance as a gateway to GNP. The Blackfeet Reservation encompasses 1.5 million acres of Glacier County and borders GNP to the east. Tourism, ranching, and farming, plus oil and natural gas leases, have formed sources of outside income (McNeel, 2015). Topographic complexity and relief (from ~1000 m on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 272

20/04/2020 14:23

Figure 17.1  Study area 273

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 273

20/04/2020 14:23

274  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Population growth, 1930–2015, Flathead and Glacier Counties, Montana, USA 120,000

Flathead Glacier


Combined Average


80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000







10 20

00 20

90 19

80 19

70 19

60 19

50 19

40 19




Source:  US Census data.

Figure 17.2 Population trends of Flathead County, Glacier County, and entire study area, 1920–2015 Glacier County to 3194 m on Mount Cleveland in GNP) generates environmental variation that contributes to the region’s extensive and intact native biodiversity (Quinn and Broberg, 2007). Prairie and foothill vegetation along the eastern Rocky Mountain Front transition into a patchwork of montane mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, eventually to be replaced by subalpine and alpine plant species at higher elevations. This ecological diversity translates to habitat for 65 mammals native to the CCE, a grizzly bear and wolf recovery area, North America’s most diverse ungulate species composition, and elusive species such as the wolverine, which require large areas of undisturbed core habitat (Long, 2007). The CCE offers a vast array of recreational opportunities; its National Forest areas alone receive over 3 million visitors per year (USDA Forest Service, 2008). The region also includes four-season recreation resort communities in the Flathead Valley, including Whitefish (a GNP gateway community offering world-class amenities for a growing number of amenity migrants and seasonal tourists). An estimated 75 percent of this growth has been absorbed by ex-urban development, resulting in rapid expansion of the wildland–urban interface (WUI) (McCool and Adams, 2007). Methods Data and initial processing To support the decadal LCLUC analysis, we first obtained the 2001 and 2011 National Land  Cover Database (NLCD) from the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 274

20/04/2020 14:23

LCLUC in a national park gateway  275 Consortium (MRLC, The 2001 and 2011 NLCD land cover products use a consistent land cover classification scheme, and classification accuracies are reasonably high (overall accuracy . 80 percent; Wickham et al. 2010). To extend our decadal LCLUC analysis to the early 1990s, we downloaded the NLCD 1992/2001 Retrofit Land Cover Change Product, which was designed to provide a consistent comparison between 1992 and 2001 NLCD products (Fry et al., 2009). In order to quantify ex-urban growth, we obtained detailed percent impervious surface map products for 2001 and 2011 from the MRLC. For these map products, fractional impervious surface was estimated for each 30 m pixel using regression tree techniques (Homer et al., 2004). We believe these maps provide better representations of varying levels of urban intensity than NLCD thematic classes (low to high intensity urban areas), especially for mountainous regions where impervious surfaces are spatially dispersed and limited in aggregate area. Thus, direct use of percent impervious surface maps has advantages for total area estimation and detecting subtle land cover changes associated with urban development. For our study there was no ready-to-use impervious surface map product available for the early 1990s; we thus developed one for our study area using Landsat TM (Thematic Mapper) images (Path: 41, Row: 26 and 27). Four Landsat images for 1991 and 2001 were downloaded from the USGS GLOVIS website ( The 1991 Landsat images were collected on 21 August and the 2001 images were collected on 16 August. All selected images have minimal cloud contamination (, 10 percent) and have been processed to high standards of spectral, radiometric, and geometric integrity. Impervious surface mapping for 1991 Several subpixel mapping algorithms have been developed to estimate impervious surface areas (see Ridd, 1995; Elmore et al., 2000; Phinn et al., 2002). Linear spectral mixture analysis (SMA) is probably one of the most commonly applied methods and has been widely used in many urban applications (Wu and Murray, 2003; Lu and Weng, 2004). The main challenge of the SMA algorithm is the selection of endmembers and spectral variability in endmembers (Song, 2005). There is also concern whether the SMA-derived impervious surface map is directly comparable to those national impervious surface map products. In our study, we followed Xian et al.’s (2009) image analytical method, the one used for updating national impervious surface map products, to generate the 1991 impervious surface map. Specifically, we used a pair of Landsat TM image mosaics from 1991 and 2001 to identify the no-change pixels between the image pair through change vector analysis and thresholding (Lambin and Strahlers, 1994). The no-change pixels were assumed to have the same subpixel proportional impervious surface between 1991 and 2001. Because the 2001 sub-pixel proportional impervious surface map is available through NLCD 2001, we were able to select training pixels within the ‘no-change’ area and establish relationships between Landsat TM (1991) signals and subpixel proportional impervious surface. Over 50,000 training pixels were randomly selected. We used a Random Forests algorithm to approximate the spectral-imperviousness relationship (Shao and Lunetta, 2011, 2012). The trained Random Forests classifier was then applied to the entire 1991 Landsat image to generate a subpixel proportional  impervious surface map. Accuracy assessment for the 1991 impervious surface map was conducted using a simple two-fold cross-validation because there was no high-resolution aerial photo or satellite image available as reference.

SARMIENTO_9781786430090_t.indd 275

20/04/2020 14:23

276  The Elgar companion to geography, transdisciplinarity and sustainability Impervious surface and pattern analysis The subpixel impervious surface map developed for 1991 and NLCD impervious maps for 2001 and 2011 were used to examine urban-related changes for the study area. For each impervious surface map, pixels with less than 20 percent of impervious cover were categorized as non-urban, and recoded to zero. For each time period, impervious surface area was then summarized for the entire study area, Flathead County, Glacier County, GNP only, and the study area excluding GNP. Summary statistics of decadal impervious surfaces provided an overview of urban intensity across space and time. Increases of impervious surface areas and corresponding rates were calculated for three time periods: 1991–2001, 2001–2011, and 1991–2011. We expected to see high variation in change rates across different area stratifications (e.g., administrative boundaries or national park boundaries). In addition to characterizing total impervious surface area and its change rates, we also assessed spatial organization of impervious surfaces, an important indicator of urban form, using landscape pattern metrics (Turner, 1989; Millington et al., 2003). Pattern metrics are quantitative indices that represent physical attributes (typically related to form) of the landscape mosaic. Previous work has inferred social-demographic implications from urban forms and their dynamics through landscape pattern metrics (Seto and Fragkias 2005; Van de Voorde et al., 2011; Luck and Wu 2002). We used the FRAGSTATS  software package to derive four commonly used pattern indices: Percentage of Landscape (PLAND), Largest Patch Index (LPI), Mean Patch Size (MPS), and Patch Size Coefficient of Variance (PSCOV). LPI quantifies the largest impervious surface patch (typically located in the urban center) and represents the strength of urban core area. MPS and PSCOV measure the level of fragmentation for a given land cover type. Changes of these four indices would reveal how the urban form evolved over time. It should be noted that calculation of these pattern indices requires thematic/binary input images, therefore, the subpixel impervious surface maps were converted into discrete impervious/non-impervious cover using a threshold value of 0.2 – a minimum threshold value used in NLCD to identify low-intensity developed areas. Pattern analysis of forests and agricultural lands Dynamics of forests and agricultural lands were characterized using the 2001 NLCD, 2011 NLCD, and 1992/2001 NLCD Retrofit Products. For each map product, we recoded the initial land cover classes to the following broad cover types: forest, agricultural land, urban, and other. For example, three individual forest classes (deciduous forest, evergreen forest, and mixed forest) in NLCD were combined as one broad forest cla