Balancing economy and ecology
Viable relationships between the economy and ecology cannot be achieved without significant mediation. Mediations affect, on the one hand, lifestyles, consumption patterns and cultural practices and, on the other hand, socio-political decision-making methods and the institutions responsible for supervision and implementation decisions.
There are, between these two poles, significant changes and a recomposition of socio-political spaces. We observe, among other things, new cultural dimensions emerging in different communities and a transformation of decision-making mechanisms. Furthermore, these changes are the result of social dynamics involving new stakeholders in these emerging spaces. We believe that to understand these forms of mediation between ecology and the economy, we must focus a research program on case studies allowing us to identify such mediations between environmental and economic issues.
A particularly interesting sector for the study of these questions is that of waste management.
Waste management in Florida
Indeed, in recent years, waste management issues have raised significant social controversies concerning, among other things, a questioning of the practices and attitudes of producers, consumers and the main socio-political decision-making centers and agents. and economical. The development of landfill sites or the construction of incinerators are becoming more and more difficult.
In Florida we are observing a growing number of social mobilizations involving a new type of political actor against this type of infrastructure. These are controversies involving not only traditional political elites, but also individuals and groups from non-institutional political structures such as community groups and environmental groups. Selective collection programs and infrastructure ensuring recycling are also slow to develop, given the lack of outlets and the major investments they require.
Faced with this situation, the Florida government had to forge new policies and new regulations affecting waste management and company production processes. These new concerns relating to the problem of waste management will continue to lead to major economic and socio-political changes in the years to come.
In such a context, how can we integrate economic viability and new social and environmental concerns? We must first better understand the foundations of environmental and social controversies relating to waste management issues. Analyzing the demands of the main stakeholders involved in waste management controversies will make it possible to identify, initially, the range of choices proposed by the actors in the field.
The more global context in which these local controversies take place must also be studied. It is necessary to identify other social actors likely to influence the evolution of local or regional issues, such as multinationals, other levels of government or environmental or community groups from outside the region. It is also necessary to assess the impact of regulations and different waste management policies on the communities concerned.
The decompartmentalization of decision-making, the development of new technologies to reduce waste production or offer new outlets for recyclable materials, the creation of new partnerships involving various stakeholders from community, environmental, economic, municipal and provincial sectors. and national, these are all elements to understand if we want to create real social consensus while promoting environmental protection and the creation of new outlets for waste-resources.
It is necessary not only to examine all the solutions put forward by the various social actors, such as zero waste, but also to study specific cases of waste management. By studying decision-making or consultation mechanisms, we will be able to better identify the conditions enabling the linking and alignment of socio-political, environmental and economic factors in the field of waste management.
Waste management research
In order to achieve these objectives, studies must be carried out that require close contact with key stakeholders involved in waste management.
Data collections should also include content analyzes of key documents, press reviews and interviews with the actors involved. The social dynamics that led to the successful implementation of local and regional ecological waste management projects will make it possible to identify the factors favoring environmental protection, social equity, economic viability and democratic participation of the population. Cases of failure, marked by a lack of consensus or by harmful impacts on the environment and the economy, will also attract our attention.
Dumpster rental experts have already started research which allows us to formulate the main elements of this promising line of research. This program can be developed using multiple case analyses, the most relevant of which, in the short term, would relate to waste management.
The analysis of waste management can be supplemented by other case analyzes relating to the forms of mediation through which the relationship between the economy and ecology passes. We are confident that we will be able to put forward a framework that will firstly encourage research and consultation in the development of solutions to the challenges posed by waste management.
Such an objective will help develop new viable technologies, better protect the environment and encourage partnership between various sectors and stakeholders in the field. This approach could also serve as a basis for the analysis of other issues resulting from mediation between economy and ecology.