Leave the Sand in the Land, Let the Stone Alone: Pits, Quarries and Climate Change
Keywords:climate change, Climate justice, carbon economy, political economy, actor network theory, carboniferous capitalism, calciferous capitalism, resistance, global capitalism, aggregate mining, manufacturing
AbstractConventional climate change discourse promotes green technological innovation, market-based regulation and behavioral adaptation as the answers to the global climate dilemma. Climate justice advocates have criticized this discourse in favor of a focus on the disproportionate impacts of capitalist carbon-producing activities. Both the conventional and climate justice positions, however, tend to overlook the very pillars of the carbon economy that make system change impossible. This paper interrogates one such pillar, the aggregate industry. Using some of the insights of political economy and actor network theory, we convey the interconnections between a carboniferous and calciferous capitalism, and the implications of the unique physical characteristics of aggregate resources for corporate strategies and local and trans-communal resistance. Case studies on aggregate mining and manufacturing in parts of India, southern Ontario, Canada, and northern Scotland, all connected to the Swiss-based multinational Holcim, illuminate the industry’s social, political and environmental impact and reach, its connections to climate change, and its place as a point of current and potential wider contestation in global capitalism.
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