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Dr. Sabine O'Hara:Sustaining Economics for a Sustaining Planet

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Published on Nov 27, 2012

The age of the anthropocene is characterized by unprecedented human impact on planetary systems. Nowhere is this impact as evident as in the global economy. The term global economy is itself revealing since it contours up images of an economy that is disconnected form its local and regional context. Yet it is precisely these social/cultural and environmental context system that first make economic activity possible and that can sustain it in the long term. This talk will offer a contextual view of economic activity that recognizes economic activity as inextricably linked to the social/cultural and environmental contexts within which it takes place. This alternative view of a sustaining economics makes evident that those processes that takeplaceoutsideoftheeconomic processitself,but that sustain input generation, material transformation and waste absorption, are critical to the creation of economic activity and the benefits derived from it. These external but essential processes are referred to as sustaining services. An economy that maintains or enhancessustainingservicescanbeconsideredasustainingeconomy thatcreates wealth; one that undermines or destroys them diminishes wealth. It is argued that the transition to such a context-based view of a sustaining economy is essential and has profound consequences for rethinking economic policy and its broader social and environmental implications.
The talk is part of The Departments of Geographical Sciences and Sociology in University of Maryland seminar series on the pressing issues with regard to the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change.

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