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Follow the Carbon

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Monday, 23 April 2018, 12:30

Monday, April 23, 2018. 12:30PM. Follow the Carbon. Daniel Aldana Cohen, University of Pennsylvania. Sponsored by the Department of Human Ecology. More information here.


In Follow the Carbon, I will make an empirical argument that ordinary people's struggles to improve their quality of life can be a force for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, and a theoretical argument that a "collective consumption" perspective (borrowing from Manuel Castells) helps to clarify how this is so. I will draw on fieldwork conducted in São Paulo on low-carbon policy and housing politics and new fieldwork on the emergence of state-wide "just transition" campaign waged from below in New York State. I will also present early carbon footprint data produced by my collaborator Kevin Ummel, a data scientist and environmental economist; and I will show early results of our new project to produce a carbon footprint database of unprecedented geo-spatial resolution, which we will combine with data on public opinion, environmental vulnerabilities, and forms of housing displacement and exclusion. I will argue that private consumption of goods and services, far from exhausting a climate politics of consumption, should be understood as an integral part of a broader political struggle over the social organization of consumption in its broadest sense (including sometimes public goods like housing, transportation, environmental amenities, and so on).


Location   Institute of Food, Nutrition & Health (IFNH) Room 101, Cook Campus, Rutgers University