Marine Litter on Mediterranean Beaches Triples in Summer

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) analyses and quantifies the waste generated by tourists in eight islands of the Mediterranean as part of the European BLUEISLANDS project.

Mapping the Urban Vitality of Barcelona

Researchers at the UAB have mapped Barcelona and and 9 surrounding towns using a new methodology based on urbanism activist Jane Jacobs' ideas on how cities should be configured to become vital spaces: 25% of the area is classified as having high vitality.

ICTA-UAB Gathers Worldwide Experts on Degrowth and Environmental Justice

ICTA-UAB is organizing the fifth edition of the Summer School on Degrowth and Environmental Justice from June 24 to July 6.

Agricultural intensification not a “blueprint” for sustainable development

Social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification are not as positive as expected.

Tracking the battles for environmental justice: here are the world’s top 10

Today is World Environment Day. Environmental conflicts should not be seen as disruptions to smooth governance, fixable with market solutions, technology or police bullets.

Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite.

The ICTA-UAB alerts of a new invasive Asian beetle pest in Catalonia that kills mulberry trees

A study by researcher of the ICTA-UAB and the Department of Agriculture Víctor Sarto i Monteys has identified in the province of Barcelona the presence of a species from Asia that could spread through Europe.

More than 120 ICTA-UAB researchers addressed environmental challenges at a symposium, especially those arising from global and...

The Institut of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) organized its 1st Spring Symposium with the aim of addressing some of the main environmental and sustainability challenges.

Spain: Industry sides with science

Organizations of the industry, and associations connected to R+D+i express their support towards research, backing the petition of the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu alliance (SOMMa) which advocates in favour of the political class acting to clear the administrative problems currently affecting science in Spain.

Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought

A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.

Are Farmers Who Belong to Local User Associations Better Adapted to Climate Change?

Droughts, floods and high temperatures derived from climate change are not the only threats that farmers with irrigated crops must face.

Climate Change Threatens World's Largest Seagrass Carbon Stores

Shark Bay seagrass carbon storage hotspot suffers alarming losses after a devastating marine heat wave, according to a study led by ICTA-UAB researchers.

Amazon's indigenous people hunt animals feeding in areas contaminated by oil spills

A study by the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Animal Health and Anatomy demonstrates that the main species hunted by the indigenous popoulations of the Peruvian Amazon ingest water and soil contaminated with hidrocarbons and heavy metals.

The new Planttes app warns of allergy risks in different urban areas

The Planttes application is a citizen science project which aims to encourage people to identify and locate on a map the existence of allergy-causing plants and indicate their phenological state.

Global climate treaty easier to negotiate if guided by Human Development Index

A study by ICTA-UAB concludes that agreements against climate change would be more attractive to rich countries if they were analyzed taking into account the Human Development Index, instead of GDP.

New Project to Link Extreme Weather Events, Atmospheric Biodiversity and Human Health

A new ICTA-UAB project led by researcher Jordina Belmonte will study the effects of extreme meteorological events on the biological biodiversity present in the atmosphere in order to predict changes in the environment and possible affectations on human health.

ICTA-UAB’s success: five ERC grants in two years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded five European Research Council (ERC) grants in two years, which is about ten per cent of all ERC grants arriving in Catalonia over the period from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017.

Scientists Alert of Swift Degradation of Marine Ecosystems and Grave Consequences for the Planet

A book edited by researchers from the ICTA-UAB, the UB, the CNRS and the IEO addresses the concept of "animal forest" and highlights the importance of the role seas and oceans have in combating climate change.

Research to study the health effects of forests

The ICTA-UAB, CREAF and the "la Caixa" Bank Foundation recently presented the project "Healthy Forests for a Healthy Society".

Launch of the Alliance of Severo Ochoa Centres and Maria de Maeztu Units of Excellence

​ The Secretary of State for R&D+i, Carmen Vela, chaired the kickoff meeting of the new Severo Ochoa and Maria Maeztu Alliance of Excellence.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
SEMINAR: “Reading socio-ecological transformations: critical realism, systems theory and the role of the civilizing process”, by Stefano Menegat

Date: 2017-06-13

Title: "Reading socio-ecological transformations: critical realism, systems theory and the role of the civilizing process"

Lecturer: Stefano Menegat, Ph.D. Candidate in Renewable Resources – Economics for the Anthropocene program ( Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montréal (Canada)

Date: Tuesday, June 13th 2017
Time: 12.30h
Venue: Room Z/023 ICTA-UAB

Cultural worldviews are the cornerstone of the development of human cognitive processes. The way we see the world defines our systems of knowledge and our relationship with the surrounding biophysical and social context. As many argue, the current ecological, social and geo-political crises derive from the inability of the dominant worldview to account for the complexity of the contemporary world. When events taking place in the external world are misaligned with their social representation, our perception of the world results affected by a cognitive dissonance. As Teinter, Diamond and others showed, cognitive dissonance is the preliminary stage for the collapse of complex societies. The current dominant narratives, rooted in the western philosophical tradition, need to evolve in order to deal with the biophysical and socio-economic conditions emerged during the last two centuries. The seminar will develop this argument with respect to the ongoing debate on sustainability science for governance. It will explore the potential synergies between the ontology proposed by the critical realism school of thought, the epistemology of systems theory, and the sociology of Norbert Elias.

Roy Bhaskar’s critical realism focuses on the distinction between multiple ontological levels that are more or less knowable depending on their nature. While recognizing the existence of empirical and socially-constructed realities, critical realism accommodates the claims of both post-modernism and logical positivism. By admitting the impossibility of achieving an objective truth, critical realism “re-asserts the primacy of ontology on epistemology”, in a discourse that is “couched almost exclusively in systems terms” (Mingers, 2014). The work of Norbert Elias, who developed the theory of the civilizing process, seems to be compatible with such worldview, but many question marks remain. The seminar aims to analyze these theories and to assess whether they provide useful tools to re-align the social process of knowledge-production and the complexity of the contemporary global situation.

Stefano is a PhD candidate in Ecological Economics at McGill University. He received his master degree in Cooperation and Development from the University of Turin with a thesis on Alternative Food Networks and urban food systems. His Ph.D. research focuses on the transdisciplinary analysis of agri-food systems through multiple scales and multiple levels, underlining the role played by international trade dynamics and post-harvest processes.

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