CFP: Ecological emergency and labor transition - Humanitas Hodie

Submission deadline: November 30, 2019

Topic areas


CFP - Ecological emergency and labor transition (Extended Deadline)

The ecological urgency is presented as in imperative. The time we have to face the problem of climate change force us to take fast and efficient actions, otherwise we will be facing terrible consequences. There are multiple ways to react to this problem. Sustainable development being the most famous one, the challenge being to change our modes of production in order to reconcile human needs with the limits of ecosystem balance. The sustainable development agenda has been established, since 2015, on “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. One of the main components of this document is the idea of reconciling three different dimensions of development: ecological, economic y social. Thus, the idea, briefly sketched, is that we must be able to provide for present human needs, maintaining the capacity of natural systems to provide the resources and services necessary for human development in the future. Sustainability, in this sense, is the capacity for indefinite development through time, by the rational and organized use of resources.

Another way of interpreting and facing the ecological imperative is the so-called ecological transition or transition communities (2008). From this point of view, the idea would be to change, profoundly, a number of social practices that are considered detrimental to ecosystem balance. Thus, the main features of this perspective come together in a series of courses of action aiming at transitioning from some social practices to others that would be more appropriate to face climate change and economic distress. Among those, the most important are the projects of transition cities: running on clean, hopefully self-sufficient, energy, producing within its walls most of the food consumed in it; reorganizing its urban space in order to reduce the inhabitants journey’s between workplace and home; its industries should be circular (the waste of one industry should be the feedstock of another); the cities should use and promote local currencies exclusively for the exchanges between its different business and city actors (we could name the Bristol Pound, the Totnes Pound, the Exeter Pound) and so on. To sum up, from this perspective, the point is to answer to the ecological disaster and the economic issues by focusing on the local level: in order to change and reduce consumption and the production of waste prioritizing local exchange, consumption and independence would be,  to some degree, the key.

These are but two possible approaches to face climate change. It is now necessary to highlight at least two strongly related elements. On one hand, even if it is patent that the ecological transition perspective supposes highly significant changes, both paths imply strong social transformations at some point.  On the other hand, both points of view recognize that those social transformations are embodied by a tension between at least two elements: the need to produce the goods of subsistence for humanity and the duty to stop harming the ecosyste balance of the planet. Furthermore, it is necessary to recognize that behind words such as “production” or “development” there is something more than an ideology frequently and easily condemned in the light of our ecological responsibilities and duties toward future generations. It does not seem possible to overlook that those terms refer at some degree to nutritional, labor, welfare needs of present generations and that we cannot simply ignore them. Especially if we bare in mind that that changing our modes of production (in a very basic sense) implies reorganizing the labor world, modifications that will necessarily have consequences on the workers.

There is a particular conflict that we should reflect upon. If we agree on our duty to face the climate urgency, and if we accept that doing it will have relevant consequences on the workers of different branches, how can we give a morally and politically acceptable answer to that tension? For instance, if we concluded that it is necessary to significantly reduce our meat consumption given the pollution and the great amount of resources used by that industry, what do we do with all the labor force employed by that branch? If we agree on the fact that fast fashion produces unsustainable amounts of waste and pollution, it might be best to choose locally produced, better quality, clothes, but what answer can we give to the millions of Southeast Asian men and (more frequently) women that work on the apparel industry?  It is the moment to notice that these tensions are neither neutral, in the world, nor symmetrical. It seems that persons to whom we will have to answer are the worst-off, the most vulnerable and that, in consequence, those who will have a great difficulty to adapt to the changes that need to be produced.

For the second number of 2019, the journal Humanitas Hodie wishes to convey young researchers and scholars on human sciences to reflect upon the ecological challenges in the light of the requirements and needs of the labour world. This tension could be articulated as follows:

-          Citizen participation and ecological urgency

-          Ecological ethics and work ethics

-          Ecological transition, economic transition and laboral transition

-          Climate change and social justice

-          Individual action, public policy and ecological crisis

-          Human rights and non-human rights

-          Feminism, social ecology and built environments 

Texts should be sent by November the 30th to: For more information concerning the editorial policies, types of articles, and so on:

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#ecosophy , #enviromental ethics , #political ecology , #ecofeminism, #sustainable development , #philosophy of ecology