Inequality, Decoupling, and Sustainable Development
As the intensity of environmental change driven by the development of Humanity’s social and economic systems deepens, finding a way to mitigate such change becomes ever more urgent. However, it is well acknowledged that the growth-oriented development of systems (i.e. cultural, economic, political) that structure our social relations is ineluctably tied to activities that rely on the extraction of natural resources and exploitation of sinks for the byproducts of our dominant mode of social organization. Identifying the social, political, and economic features of the social world that can move Humanity toward the widely held goals of universal, equitable improvements in human well-being and maintenance of earth systems that can support these improvements long into the future is of the utmost importance. In this project, I, and many of my co-authors (Julius Alexander McGee, Rachel G. McKane, Christina Ergas, Matthew Thomas Clement, Jordan Fox Besek, Dan Shtob, MacKenzie Christensen, Nathan Pino, and Carl Appleton) use a number of quantitative and historical methods to explore the ways that some improvements in human well-being (e.g. movement toward greater gender, racial, and economic equity) re-structure development processes such that they are “decoupled” from environmental change. Put differently, I ask what social changes yield a society that is more equitable, sustainable, resilient, and robust.
- Are the Goals of Sustainability Interconnected? A Sociological Analysis of the Three E’s of Sustainable Development Using Cross-Lagged Models with Reciprocal Effects
- Colonial contexts and the feasibility of mitigation through transition- A study of the impact of historical processes on the emissions dynamics of nation-states
- Does racism have inertia? A study of historic redlining's impact on present-day associations between development and air pollution in US cities
- How colonialism's legacy makes it harder for countries to escape poverty and fossil fuels today
- How do slums change the relationship between urbanization and the carbon intensity of well-being?