We are not the 99%…
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We are not the 99%…

…even though I am part of the 99%. Since the movement(s) have been around for a while, I thought I would offer some musings on Occupy Wall Street (OWS). What this post is not about is the growing economic gap between the wealthiest few and the rest of America. Others have covered that. It is also not about corporate power—if you want a rant about ending corporate personhood, I can deliver, but not right now. I don’t want to turn this post into a debate between liberal and conservative values because …

Public Identity and the Headphone Hegemony
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Public Identity and the Headphone Hegemony

I started writing this post at the CBD meeting in Nagoya last October. Since I hate to leave my ‘drafts’ folder cluttered, I’m pushing it out the door–ready or not. Institutions, broadly defined, are those rules that prescribe what counts as acceptable behavior. They may be formal laws or procedures or informal rules–like “you should stand in line and wait your turn to get to the cash register.” Institutions help to define our identity in certain contexts. They form the background for the types of social interactions that are possible …

Life in Harmony
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Life in Harmony

I thought I’d throw out some thoughts on the idea of harmony. This is something I may develop more in the next few weeks. At the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10), the theme for the event is “Life in Harmony, Into the Future.” Harmony is everywhere in the discussions: objectives are harmonized, initiatives work in harmony, biodiversity conservation and development work together in harmony. Sounds great. “Harmony” is something I’m going to call a “yielding word.” Social scientists and lawyers have …

Shanusi, Biofuels, and Conservation Trade-offs
ACSC

Shanusi, Biofuels, and Conservation Trade-offs

SPECIAL GUEST POST At the end of last year, I arrived with two colleagues at the village of Nueva Italia near the border of the San Martin and Loreto regions of the Peruvian Amazon. After traveling three hours from Tarapoto, then half an hour down a rough logging road past small rainforest farms, we found almost forty people, with machetes, ready to march into the nearby palm oil development to fight against what they saw as an encroachment on their land. After convincing them to abandon their plans for a …

Advancing Conservation in a Social Context
ACSC, Uncategorized

Advancing Conservation in a Social Context

For the past few years, I’ve been part of an interdisciplinary, international group researching conservation and its social complications. The Advancing Conservation in a Social Context (ACSC) initiative is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered through the University of Arizona, with support from UGA and members from the US, Peru, Tanzania, and Vietnam. The ACSC research process has focused broadly on the idea of tradeoffs: the proposition that when something is gained, something else is lost and win-win scenarios are rare if they occur …

Building an Ethical Economy
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Building an Ethical Economy

Last week I attended a conference entitled “Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace.” The speakers were previously recorded (in January) at the Trinity Church on Wall Street, and included Rowan Williams (the Archbishop of Canterbury), Dr. Kathryn Tanner, and Dr. Partha Dasgupta. Their talks are available free online if anyone is interested in hearing them. I particularly enjoyed William’s talk, in which he stressed that market transactions are just one of many human activities and that they should be open to the same ethical critiques as any other …

On religious tolerance and anti-violence
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On religious tolerance and anti-violence

One reason that I maintain a blog is that it helps me to clarify my own thoughts on various issues. Actually putting something into writing helps my head to process information–particularly on more complicated issues. One of those issues is what I’ll call pacifism and anti-violence. This topic has been drifting through my head for a bit now, but was brought to mind most recently by the violent forced eviction of Zen monks and nuns in Vietnam. I’ll be delivering some thoughts on violence and religious tolerance at an event …