Presentations – Thursday June 23
1:30-1:39PM COVID-19, Governance and Impacts on Sustainable Resource Management
Mahadev G. Bhat, Florida International University
COVID has caused disruptions in the ability of governments in managing natural resources and the environment. The objectives of this paper are to analyze how COVID has affected the resource agencies’ ability to regulate, co-produce scientific knowledge, and engage the public, and to analyze what impacts these changes might have for the overall resource management. We base our analysis on a review of government reports, minutes of advisory groups, and published literature. The preliminary results suggest that resource agencies have suffered budget cuts, revenue losses, and personnel shortage. A number of staff members have shifted to the virtual working environment, affecting their ability for on-site and in-person enforcement and monitoring. Some agencies have experienced loss in revenue-generating activities on their lands and waters. These revenue losses might have had negative impacts on businesses around federally managed resources. Disruptions to data gathering may affect future science-based programs (e.g., allowable catch and regulatory water flow standards). Decision makers may recognize the need for sustaining various resource management programs without further delays.
1:39-1:48PM Pandemics, Conservation and Human-nature relationships
Gunars H. Platais – Sr. Fellow, Sustainability Innovation Laboratory at Colorado (SILC), University of Colorado
Maria Fernanda Gebara – Independent Scholar
Peter H. May – Professor, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ)
Recent reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic in the conservation community have centered on how proximity to wild animals and their consumption in local food circuits may give rise to the spread of infectious diseases, ultimately resulting in human transmission. This has unleashed an onslaught of debate in scientific and related policy literature on nature conservation, human-nature relations, animal rights, and efforts to alleviate global poverty among forest-dependent peoples. We seek to extract the key points from the ensuing debate and consider possible solutions. One of the key features of this discussion is the consideration of “who is invading whom?” The constant human intervention into natural environments, the detrimental effects of tropical deforestation, overfishing of marine habitats, and humankind’s continuous assault on natural habitats and biodiversity, which forces animals into ever-smaller ecological niches, begs the question: Is the pandemic “Nature’s revenge”? We argue that the pandemic is the opposite: an opportunity to adapt and counteract human exceptionalism and disrupt dualisms so multi-specism and a new type of politics (i.e. cosmopolitics) could emerge.
1:48-1:57PM Ocean, ʻŌhiʻa, ʻOhana, and Omicron too? Updating Hawaiʻi’s Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)
Regina Ostergaard-Klem, Hawaii Pacific University
Kirsten Oleson, University of Hawaii at Manoa
The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is a method to more accurately and holistically capture and monetize social welfare benefits and costs not evident in conventional GDP accounting. Around since the 1980’s, it is one tool within a broader movement to go “beyond GDP.” Currently, GPI researchers are focused on developing a better, more robust, and consistent model – GPI 2.0. Building upon our previous GPI work from 2014, and with the support of the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT), we constructed and populated a GPI 2.0 structure for Hawaiʻi for the years 2000 through 2020. The goal is to better inform DBEDT about how such things as the ocean, native ʻōhiʻa trees, or family (ʻohana) contribute to well-being here in Hawaiʻi, while balancing other costs of economic activity like local pollution, inequality, or houselessness. This talk will share preliminary results and the lessons learned from our recent updates to Hawaiʻi’s GPI. While too soon to see the full effects of Covid-19 and its variants in our model, we do see some initial trends, and we reflect on whether and how GPI’s relevance has changed in the age of Covid-19.
1:57-2:06PM The value of community gardens for overburdened communities
William Golding, Earth Economics
Community gardens can support food sovereignty—both food security and access to culturally important crops—in overburdened immigrant communities. Yet despite the importance of community gardens, they are often undervalued. World Relief Western Washington connected with our team to conduct a broad benefit-cost analysis of a community garden project in a neighborhood with some of the worst environmental health disparities in Washington state. The project converted a former parking lot into garden plots, bioswales, and rain gardens to support food sovereignty for recent immigrants and refugees, while reducing stormwater runoff and invasive species. The limited data and phased implementation of the project presented challenges—in addition to an ecosystem services valuation, we combined an online survey and archival research to identify core sociocultural values of the gardeners. Combining quantitative and qualitative approaches more accurately represents the range of values provided by the garden, and reveals gaps in applied ecological economics research in urban areas. Future research should investigate the value of community gardens as critical spaces for food sovereignty.
2:06-2:15PM Energy Security, Food Access and Housing: Discrimination and Future Pathways to Justice in Milwaukee
Phillip Warsaw, Michigan State University
Sudha Kanaan, Michigan State University
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deep and persistent inequalities among marginalized BIPOC and working-class communities in the U.S. The initial outbreaks of the pandemic disproportionately affected BIPOC households in both cases and deaths, a reflection of the fact that these communities are more likely to serve in ‘frontline’ or ‘essential’ positions, and thus not able to shelter in place. Increased death rates have been attributed in part to a lack of access to resources such as food and green spaces necessary to prevent comorbidities with COVID-19. In this paper, we explore the history of these inequalities in Milwaukee, WI, and its implications for the economic and social health of communities today. In particular, we provide an exploratory analysis of the intersection of redlining and blockbusting during the 20th century, access to food and energy burden, and cases of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. We then discuss the potential and tensions of both neoclassical and radical approaches to addressing these inequalities.
2:15-2:24PM Developing the Romanian Bioeconomy by Understanding the Environmental Attitudes of Farmers
John M. Polimeni, Associate Professor of Economics, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Raluca I. Iorgulescu, Senior Researcher, Institute for Economic Forecasting-NIER, Romanian Academy
Farmers’ markets can be used to develop the bioeconomy, as they can be an important source of income for farmers. Farmers’ markets enable farmers to sell directly to consumers, allowing consumers to interact with the farmers. In Romania, their version of a farmers’ market is the piaţa where people can purchase everything from food staples, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, and meat, to regular and traditional clothing to everyday household products. As the European Union, and as an extension Romania, increases their awareness of environmental Romanians have had their awareness of sustainability issues increased, which in turn has increased demand for those products. To further expand the development of rural areas and the bioeconomy, understanding the attitudes of farmers selling at the piaţa must be understood. This paper presents primary data on sustainable agriculture in Romania and logistic regression analysis is performed to illustrate farmers attitudes to different environmental scenarios. The results suggest that sustainably produced agricultural goods are an important economic development tool reducing economic and environmental vulnerability.