Energy, carbon, and ecosystem services at the local scale: Blame and misinformation in a smallholder carbon market project
From Malthus’s economic theories, to colonial-era conservation initiatives, to the age of aid interventions, the rural poor in the Global South are commonly blamed for environmental degradation. The 1987 Bruntland Commission Report, for example, one of the founding documents of the concept and practice of modern sustainable development reads, “Those who are poor and hungry will often destroy their immediate environment in order to survive: They will cut down forests; their livestock will overgraze grasslands; they will overuse marginal land” (WCOEA 1987). As some of the political ecology literature reveals, narratives of blame, regardless of veracity, have been quite effective at furthering implicit economic and political goals of states and development institutions even when explicit goals related to poverty reduction or conservation are unmet.
This paper traces the reproduction of blame narratives in the first-ever project to generate soil carbon credits in a smallholder context, focusing on responsibility for deforestation and misinformation on the role of trees in hydrologic cycles.
D´Souza, S. Energy, carbon, and ecosystem services at the local scale: Blame and misinformation in a smallholder carbon market project. Tropical resources: The Bulletin of the Yale Tropical Resource Institute. 2012, Volume 31: 41-48.
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