Brief Summary of Readings

DISCLAIMER: These notes are SUPER BRIEF and very generalized (and likely laced with my own opinions).. But I hope you find it helpful in seeing all the readings in one place, and the highlights.
-Ryan Smith

John Elster, Explaining Social Behavior -
Toolbox of techniques
Why a bunch of stuff happens? Explanations of phenomena (explanans)
Structural, storytelling, statistical, and etc. explanations. Genuine explanations are like stories…

Marion Chertow - IPAT Equation and its variants -
Technology term - hard to interpret / make important. (i.e. effects of changes are smaller)
[[Recycling results in a loss of materials, due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics]]

Waggoner and Ausubel - Renovated IPAT Identity -
ImPACT identity proposed. Now C term, good per GDP (or intensity per GDP), A is simply GDP.

Michael R. Raupach, et al, Global and Regional Drivers of accelarating CO2 emissions -
Emission are increasing - mostly attributable to fossil fuel combustion

Robert Gibson - Specification of Sustainability-based environmental assessment decision criteria and implications for determining “significance” in environmental assessment
3 pillars - economic, social, ecological. (maybe more, depending.) Issue: Most pillars are not independent.
Principles: Integrity (cosystems…), Sufficiency and opportunity (life quality), equity (rich-poor disparities), efficiency (lowering energy demands), democracy and civility (better decisions thru social interaction), Precaution (design for surprise, manage for adaptation), Immediate and longterm integration,
These are general and only PART of the solution.

Donella Meadows - Envisioning a Sustainable World
Sharing Dreams - Now seen as embarrasing?
Having VISION is so important in all things you do! But most people forget to have one before jumping into implementation.
Practice envisioning a sustainable world, living in it, feeling, smelling, touching, being.

Graham T. Allison - Essence of Decision: Cuban Missile Crisis - Rational Actor
People sometimes “slip” into rational actor?
But, required for understanding human behavior.
Goals, Alternatives (not always binary), Consequences, and Choice
Key: Rational actor will act the SAME given the same set of constraints (over and over again)

V.F. Cordova - What is the Role of a Human Being? - Relational Actor
In many cultures, humans “tied” to other entities for survival. Groups, locations, etc.
-Humans are not alone. and - Humans occupy a specific place —”bounded space”

C. Ford Runge - Common Property and Collective Action in Economic Development
With commonly shared land, danger of unfair distribution of resources. Especially dangerous with villages dependent on natural resources.
Free-rider problem - an individual shirking responsibilities to a group. —Rational-based. Typically leads to detriment of commons (because everyone wants to do this.)
Multi-person Prisoner’s Dilemma -Everyone will choose to defect. Need for enforcement.

Lax and Sebenius - The Manager as Negotiator
It’s possible to create “common value” in negotiations.
Differences play a key role in negotiations - people value different things. Capitalize on this to create value for all parties (integrative bargaining?)
Lots of setup of generating value from negotiations.

Howard Raiffa - The Art and Science of Negotiation.
Distrbutive Bargaining - opposing interests.
Strategic (sneaky?) tactics to approach bargaining. Start boldly? It’s all about perceptions (very relational in that aspect?). “Plan” your reaction to extreme offers.

Dietz, Ostrom, and Stern - The Struggle to Govern the Commons

Local institutions are best - unless rapid change
BUT environmental issues are nonlocal in nature - so, more complex institutions required
Good governance:
1.) Low cost monitoring
2.) Slow rates of change being delt with
3.) “Face to Face” interaction!! More emphasis on trust (lowering cost of monioring if trust is instilled!!!)
4.) Easy exclusion of resource if not used
5.) Monitoring and rule enforcement

Requirements: Need to provide INFORMATION to everyone! —-Open-ended challenge
Dealing with Conflict, Induce compliance (trust!), provide infrastructures, encourage change.

Methods: Devise rules congruent with ecological conditions, clearly define boundaries, accoutnability, GRADUATED sanctions for violations, low-cost mechs for conflict resolution, involve all interested parties in discussions!, create multiple levels of governing (state, local, etc.) (NESTING), mixtures of institutional types.

Ostrom - Governing the Commons Ch. 1

If only there was one “X” we could do to solve the tragedy.

Instead - constantly variable circumstances.
Policies applied to markets
CPRs - Communal Resources
Key challenge: Understanding how humans organize, their capacities
Goal of this work: to combine biological understaning with “new institutionalism”.
- Who can make decisions
- Actions that are allowed/constrained
- Procedures to follow
- Information that MUST or MUST NOT be given. ***
- Payoff structures

Assumption - everyone knows the rules???

Rules, software —— the CPR, hardware.

Ostrom - Governing the Commons - Ch.6
Modelling, based on capacities to communicate and etc. Complex.

Ostrom - Huerta Irrigation Institutions

Smart management of water required because of water scarcity.
Huerta - well-marked irrigation areas surrounding towns
KEY - huertas grantwed water proportional to their size.
Syndics (chiefs) meet weekly in tribunals. Centuries-long tradition (important for continuing it?) (religious undertones?).Every 2-3 years, new syndic elected by each huerta.
Disputes - syndic provides details, tribunals make IMMEDIATE decision - fines, etc.
Fixed order of extraction - if last one get “screwed” someone else will be penalized. If all do what they are supposed to, all will have enough water.
Potential for violence, but it has never happened - still an enduring system today

Ken Conca - Expert Networks - The quest for Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)

Rivers are not just “border-spanning pipes” free for using.
They affect watersheds, ecosystems, community livelihoods, etc.

IWRM: 3 themes:
1.) Understanding of the benefits/uses of water.
2.) Understanding streams of water. Agricultural, municipal, natural
3.) Understanding of scales. Local, State, National, etc.

IWRM mainly method by which social consensus can be reached!

IWRM creates network of experts —- then more credibility to make better decisions…together.
Mainly wants to shift from government control to community control (controversial)

Peter Gleick - 2002-2003 Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources

World Comission on Dams - group of experts
To help gain credibility in decision making - doing a bunch of highbrow-research

WCD response: seen by some as “anti-dam”. Dispeling perception of bias is a challenge.

Confronting Consumption, by Maniates, Princen (!) et al

Dr. Suess book: “The Lorax”
Storytelling style of this text.

Key: Individualization of responsibility. (Instead of intitutuion)

Next, EDF - 10 seemingly random things to do to “Save the Earth”
Criticism - anecdote

Criticism of IPAT… Too much “spread of culpability” for environmental problems.
Instead: IWAC Impact = quality of Work x meaningful consumption Alternatives x political Creativity ——more a discussion tool than actual equation…

There’s more than just individual consumer choice to make improvement happen. —-must have institutions!

The Good Society - Robert N. Bellah, et al 1991

Democracy requires trust.
People in U.S. don’t trust our institutions!

Before understanding how technology can improve things, we need to get over the meaninglessness of our own lives, our OWN selves—-i.e. how we behave in and on behalf of institutions.

People tend to think too many structured rules are “dangerous”

Why are we so afraid, distrusting?

Individualists feel that institutions impinge on their freedoms.

Organization vs. institution. Institution based on values? Organization more a matter of efficiency.

Even autonomy (which is usually placed in highest value) is part of some institution… Without institutions to allow for autonomy, it is an “empty state of existence”….controversial.

Institutions all about our behavior and language…ability to imagine something…