-notes on ecology 2 impress my bf-

so referring to smth as ‘socio-ecological’ is basically gesturing at the idea that ecology as an ontological category is all encompassing. there is a wing of world-systems thought referred to as the world-ecological framework. it’s a framework cos it is used by folks across v different fields to organize their own theories about how capitalism and ‘nature’ (or ‘so-called nature’ as my supervisor calls it) constitute each other. although, even that formulation is somewhat inaccurate, cos a world-ecological approach holds that (at this moment in history) capitalism precisely ~is~ nature, and nature is everything that there is. patterns of accumulation r never just between humans, but encompass land, commodity production, nutrient cycles and so on. the word economy and ecology is often used interchangeably.
basic idea is as follows:
capitalism is defined and made possible by two interchanging movements. i) enactment of turbulent and radical reorganizations of nature, and ii) establishment of relatively more stable relations of production, labour forms/patterns, class structures, etc. These two moments r sometimes referred to as ecological revolutions and ecogical regimes. the end of one phase always signals the rise of the other, and this cycle basically defines modernity. A revolution might be smth like a country entering a number of free trade agreements, the expropriation of land from peasants, privatization of key industries / services. It can also be technological, cartographic, maybe even architectural. it is a violent intervention that draws up the world differently, trying to make more of it available or even conceivable as resource for accumulation. it is the series of pivotal events that happen when there is crisis, and instead of falling apart capitalism shape-shifts and keeps going. a regime is what happens after – all the relations that are subsequently produced and that endure for some time (so not just the once new plantation or latifundia, but the whole network of relation imposing smth drastic like that has on given society and environment, or simpler said the given socio-ecology). as capital accumulation is self-destructive, burning through infrastructure, people and natural resource faster than these can (if that is even possible) be regenerated, eco regimes r basically just protracted moments of violence that always end in crisis and another ‘revolution’ is triggered elsewhere.
also, regimes are defined by ‘metabolic’ relations between cores and peripheries. very briefly, cores try to establish ‘commodity frontiers’ (ie when empire goes ‘let’s make loads of sugar in this bit of the caribbean now cos we can’) and peripheries are then ruthlessly reorganized, used up, sucked away (quite literally through trade) and eventually exhausted to service those ‘needs’, until capital jumps
elsewhere and leaves ruined socio-ecologies behind to rot and fester. 
it’s not sufficient to say, however – and u kinda talk about this when u mention past waves of anti-globalization resistance – that first world counties are sapping the wealth and energies from third world socio-ecologies (so not just the people are fucked but also their land is ruined, their water soaring in price and plummeting in quality, their urban systems mutating into giant slums, the deregulated and dangerous practices of waste disposal, etc). The ‘first world’ is constituted of a dynamic and unstable network of cores and peripheries, themselves locked into sharply uneven metabolic relations, which are themselves immediately affected by more large scale metabolisms.. ie opening consumer markets to dollar-a-day products from abroad means something for the wages and standards at home, etc.
world-ecological thinking helps to get away from idea of europe or even the west as a cohesive whole, and helps analyze for instance a nation’s internal divisions as they are globally constituted, and then thinking forward to smth like a post-european socio-ecological alternative, hopefully a more expensive, nuanced and just vision of the world…

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