global political ecology abstract for research paper

Remember your abstract, the first assignment for the research paper, is due this Friday (Jan 24). Please submit the abstract on Canvas AND also bring me a hard copy of your abstract (with your name printed on the sheet as well) during class this Friday.

I am adding this more explicit explanation about the abstract to the assignment on Canvas. You should come up with a research topic and tentative argument related to global political ecology.

If you need more detailed instructions, this is a guideline that can help you.

Write about one full paragraph (about 5 to 8 sentences) explaining the following:

(1) what is your topic?

(2) what more specific issue within that topic you are concerned about?

(3) what are the main ways this problem is understood, or what are the main solutions usually provided for this topic, or what is an important question, contradiction, or paradox about this topic?

(4) what is the argument you think you may make about this specific issue?

Remember that you can pick any topic you would like, as long as you can show how it is related to global environmental issues.

Remember that you should try to develop a political ecology framework to define, understand, examine, analyze, evaluate, and/or propose ways to address the environmental issue you selected.

Here are some examples of possible abstracts:

Example 1: I will research the problem of air pollution. This is a very common and serious environmental problem in many parts of the world, especially in places like India and China where rapid industrialization and urbanization is taking place. I will focus more specifically on how we understand, ideologically, the problem of air pollution. One of the most common ideologies that attempt to explain the problem of air pollution is “modernization theory”. According to modernization theory, air pollution is a natural and inevitable environmental problem of an early stage of development, marked by fast industrialization and urbanization, but as modernization continues, places shift to more service-oriented economy and air pollution naturally becomes better. I will use a political ecology framework to critique this account from modernization theory, showing that economic development alone does not solve air pollution (like we see in LA). Instead, I will argue we need to understand how air pollution results from specific political and economic conditions that exist across all “stages” of modernization.

Example 2: I will research the question of whether single-use plastic straws is a “real” environmental problem or not. Banning single-use plastic straws is now a very common issue among many environmentalist people and organizations. Some argue that this type of waste causes serious environmental problems, such as air pollution from burning plastics in incinerators, and water pollution from disposal in oceans. But others argue that focusing on such consumer products actually shifts attention and responsibility for good environmental management from the broad systems of power and institutions of the economy that drive environmental destruction, to isolated individuals purely as consumers. Using the literature in political ecology, I will argue that the effect of banning the use of plastic straws is minimal for the environmental damages they are associated with, and that it would be much more important to frame the problem as an issue of industrial policy and lack of environmental tax in production. In other words, I will argue that consuming plastic straws is not a real environmental problem, the problem is how corporations produce unsustainable products in the first place (like plastic straws) without having to pay any environmental tax.

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