Ecology and the Poor: A Neglected Dimension of Latin American History

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The thesis of this Commentary is that the struggle for survival brings the poor to defend access to resources and, sometimes, their conservation; therefore the ecology of the poor has been very present both historically and now, although there is little research on this. Stephen Bunker, in his analysis of the political ecology of the Brazilian Amazon, goes beyond the characterisation of an ‘enclave economy’ as an economy with insufficient backward and forward linkages. During the guano era, a debate could have taken place on the adequate export price for this resource to secure an optimal intergenerational allocation, but in 1840-80 there was no political ecology movement in Peru concerned with the over-exploitation of this renewable resource. We need a history of the human economy as human ecology, and at the same time a history of social conflicts, forms of social resistance, and active social movements that are geared towards access and conservation of natural resources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental History in the Pacific World
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: Environmental History in the Pacific World
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781351939683
ISBN (Print)9780754601548
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022


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