Living Within the Earth’s Carrying Capacity: Reflections from Memorial University

Cominelli, Simone and Aastrup, Marie Louise and Zahara, Alexander and Keeling, Arn (2020) Living Within the Earth’s Carrying Capacity: Reflections from Memorial University. In: A Virtual Graduate Roundtable, April 24, 2020, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. (Submitted)

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This report is a result of an interdisciplinary discussion among graduate students from various disciplines at Memorial University that took place on April 24, 2020. The key messages and discussion points emerged from the workshop were: • We should rethink “carrying capacity” to include multi-species collectives. That is, carrying capacity should move away from its anthropocentric focus to account for non-human beings, including technology. We question the utility of ecological metaphors such as “survival of the fittest” in describing the social world and suggest we redirect our attention towards a more mutualistic society. • Translating this new way of thinking about carrying capacity as a multi-species collective into policy requires moving away from a focus on individual behaviors to redesigning the economic system and ensuring sound and effective governance. We identified capitalism and flawed governance systems as some of the main barriers for “living within the earth’s carrying capacity”, while recognizing that reimagining these is a complex, but important, challenge. • Lastly, we recognize and appreciate the variety of ways in which different disciplines use and respond to issues of “carrying capacity”. The group identified cross-sectorial and interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing as a great opportunity to understand and mitigate human impacts on earth.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Item ID: 14375
Additional Information: Part of the Canada-wide Dialogue on “Living Within the Earth’s Carrying Capacity”, organized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 24 April 2020
Date Type: Completion
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