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Towards a social-ecological transition. Solidarity in the age of environmental challenge

Abstract : First in line for our attention is the demand for equality, in other words, the effort to reduce social inequality. The currently prevalent models used to represent ecological understanding have in common a relative lack of attention to the social dimension. The Anthropocene theory, for instance, presents us with a human species that, on account of its overweening collective intelligence, set in motion a geological revolution, to the perverse effects of which the human species as a whole now finds itself subject. The ‘planetary boundaries’ approach puts forward, along similar lines, the notion of global thresholds (for example the two degrees of average planetary warming)1 beyond which the environment – without any social distinction – would no longer be safe for human beings. Both representations, which undoubtedly have their uses, are flawed by the same shortcoming and point up the same need, namely, for an ecological analysis that is socially differentiated. Who is responsible for what with what consequences for whom? Such is the twofold social-ecological question that brings the change in natural systems into interplay with the dynamic of social systems – the essential point requiring emphasis here being that human beings, in the face of environmental crisis, are equal neither in terms of their responsibility nor in terms of their vulnerability. 1. In the most recent version of the ‘planetary boundaries’ indicator drawn up in early 2015, nine biosphere processes are taken into account and evaluated (climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, nitrogen or phosphorus inputs to the biosphere, ocean acidification, soil use, etc.), see Steffen et al. Science, 16 January 2015.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 10:39:41 AM
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Eloi Laurent, Philippe Pochet. Towards a social-ecological transition. Solidarity in the age of environmental challenge. [Research Report] European Trade Union Institute. 2015, pp.40. ⟨hal-03470260⟩

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