Resources for a better future is a glossary of crucial concepts in political ecology, alternative economics, and environmental justice. It offers easy-to-read, clear, and opinionated explainers of some of the most important political and ecological issues of our time.
Why a glossary?
The crises facing us today are political and ecological. Political, because they’re a result of the way our society is run, and can only be addressed by people coming together to do things differently. Ecological, because they are rooted in our failure to take care of, and understand, our home. Unfortunately, so much of the knowledge we’ve developed to understand the world isn’t accessible to most—it gets lost in thick academic language and much of it is never seen by the public. The science communicated in mainstream news outlets is often stripped of its political content—human-made disasters are ‘natural’, environmental degradation happens because there are ‘too many people’. And when social movements come up with concepts—environmental justice, degrowth, land grabbing—they rarely see the light of day, as movements’ demands are sterilized by ‘objective’ reporters. When people look up these terms, a quick Google search rarely provides reliable information.
The purpose of this glossary is to collect and disseminate accessible political-ecological knowledge by and for people who are acting together for a better future.
How to contribute
If you are interested in writing an entry, please send an email to email@example.com, with a brief description of your political position, and why you are well-placed to write this entry. Please indicate if you are able to translate your entry into another language. These articles are published on a rolling basis and there is no deadline for submission. We also encourage authors to stay in contact and update their entries over time.
Uneven Earth editors are unpaid, and while we are currently unable to provide funding or financial compensation for submissions, we are hoping to create the possibility for publication opportunities beyond the website in the future.
We suggest that each entry follows a common template. Aim for a maximum of 1,200 words. Start with a short definition, go on to explain the broader debate, briefly discuss a case study or relevant example, put forward a political position on the topic, including criticism and unresolved issues, and list further resources for interested readers, with a 1-sentence description of each article. Do not use difficult words without defining them. Do not use hyperlinks if you can avoid them. We encourage you to be creative.
- Human nature | In the first entry of our new glossary, Eleanor Finley argues that there is no human nature, only human potential
- Jevons paradox | Efficiency gains contribute to increasing production and consumption which increases the extraction of resources and the generation of wastes
- Decoupling | Given the historical correlation of market activity and environmental pressures, relying on decoupling alone to solve environmental problems is an extremely risky and irresponsible bet
- Population | Neo-Malthusian promotion of family planning as the solution to hunger, conflict, and poverty has contributed to destructive population control approaches, that are targeted most often at poor, racialized women
- Extractivism (EN) / Extractivismo (ES) | One of the most expansionist global enterprises—squashing any other ways of living with the land
- Offsetting | A policy tool that allows us to imagine a world in which everything is replaceable, and where there are no limits
- Unequal exchange | Global trade conceals ecological and human exploitation in peripheries and maintains an unjust world order
- Degrowth | Degrowth is not a passive critique but an active project of hope
- Renewable energy | To provide the conditions for a sustainable technology, we must begin by establishing a sustainable economy
- Development | For development to truly deliver on its promise—the betterment of life for all—it must engage a multidimensional understanding of poverty
- Political ecology | Like a toolbox to unpack and understand the complexity of the socio-ecological crises we live in, political ecology is dedicated to a more just and inclusive world
- Work | Work is drudgery for a lot of people, but it can be different and meaningful, if radically reorganised
- Rewilding | A growing movement repurposes the term rewilding to be a political and cultural project that is more than merely conservation biology
- Permaculture | A design system that offers a radical reimagination of the possible
- Slow violence | This harm is slow, ill-defined, and often perceptible only in retrospect, when its perpetrators are long gone, if they were ever physically present at all
- The commons | The commons opposes and transcends the logic of capitalism by building relations based on cooperation, solidarity, mutualism and direct democracy
- GDP | What is GDP, and why should we learn to live without it?
- Discounting | Descriptive discount rates both reflect and sustain a highly unequal and myopic world
- Technology | Technology is not neutral. We’re inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us