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GEOG 3020
Noella Gray

1 GEOG* 2030 Poverty, Population and Environment 2013-10-03 Today‟s Plan  Population, Poverty/Wealth, and  Environment  Poverty and Environment o Example: Cotton in Mali (see Moseley reading)  Wealth and Environment o Example: global water use/scarcity  Take-home message Question  What do you think about the relationship between poverty/wealth and environmental degradation?  a) The poor degrade the environment because they have no other choice.  b) The wealthy degrade the environment because they consume too much.  c) Both of the above.  d) None of the above. Poverty and Environment  Cause(s) of Environmental Degradation o Population Poverty?  Emerging mainstream view as alternative to Neo- Malthusianism in 1970s/1980s: o “Those who are poor and hungry will often destroy their immediate environment in order to survive…” (WCED, 1987: 28) o  lack of capital: don‟t have resources to invest in more sustainable activities o  short time horizon: Marginalization  Neo-classical economics: production „at the margin‟ = diminishing returns  + Ecology: vulnerable landscape – poor have least productive land to work on  + Political economy: groups on the fringe, with little power o 3 marginalizations above lead to a cycle of social & environmental degradation – poor get poorer Degradation  Discourse = increased population in developing world  increased poverty  peasants/poor will overuse land  desertification/soil erosion move to more marginal lands overuse  move again  etc.  Many geographers have challenged this Example: Cotton in Mali (Moseley) 2  What is the relationship between poverty and environment? o Examines the hypothesis that poor households engage in less sustainable soil management practices than rich households  How does Moseley answer this question? o Need to know who is wealthy and who isn‟t, and whether or not the land is degraded and then relate them to each other o How do these households manage their land, what activities are they engaged in? Also examined these practices o Then the soil quality is actually measured (pH, bulk density, etc.)  What relationship does he find? o Some practices for both the wealthy and poor were degrading, but others were more sustainable o There was no clear association between poverty (household wealth) and environment (soil quality) o In some instances the poor were doing better and worse, but so were the wealthy  Indirect effects of cotton farming? o Pressure to produce (for government and international institutions) leads to more pressure on land o Marginalization – poor have less access to land o Breakdown in common property system – land that used to be used by everybody sustainably falls down because of those external pressures  International capitalism as the ultimate cause of environmental degradation? o Expansion of cotton production for export (“cash crop”) o Cotton cultivation itself is what is environmentally unsustainable - top down emphasis o If the idea that poverty is the problem, then more cotton production is the answer; if you think the opposite then the solution is less cotton production  Influence on policies that are emphasized depending on what we think is the issue  Using the Chain of Explanation – good midterm question o Think about what is happening at each of the points: o A: physica
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