Understanding Environmental Sustainability in Postsocialist Countries over Time

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Sandra MARQUART-PYATT, Michigan State University, USA, Sociology & Environmental Science and Policy, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
Although achieving sustainability remains a key goal of development, precisely how these processes take shape can vary across places.  This makes a regional focus important, as it can provide insights that are not shown in global or macro-comparative investigations.  This paper investigates the ecological footprint, one measure of environmental sustainability, and its subcomponents—cropland, grazing land, built up land, carbon uptake, fishing, forest—over time with focus on postsocialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.  Expectations from development frameworks, environmental impact perspectives, and structural human ecology approaches are incorporated into an investigation of key factors driving national-level environmental sustainability in 14 countries from 1992 to 2011.  The discussion centers on the roles of changing democratic political structures, demographic attributes, and national and regional economic features including inequality as key factors affecting ecological footprints in these countries.  In accordance with prior work, results for the different subcomponents of the footprint reveal some differences regarding structural driving forces.  Findings are discussed with attention to comparison with worldwide trends, to policy implications regarding the postsocialist context, and to further academic study.