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Green gold and clay tips: Dirt economics in British Columbia and Cornwall

Explores the challenges of managing resource intensive economies alongside environmental demands

A Centre for Geography, Environment and Society lecture
Date19 February 2019
Time17:00 to 18:30
PlaceChapel Lecture Theatre

Public lecture designed for a broad audience of people interested in debates about economic geography and regional development. Focusing on the challenges of managing resource intensive economies alongside environmental demands, drawing on examples from British Columbia and Cornwall.

The presentation is a critical reflection, borne partly from memoir, partly from academic research over a thirty-five-year period in British Columbia, Canada, on the changing nature of resource economies and their conceptualisation.  It took me a good decade as a professor of economic geography at the University of British Columbia (UBC) studying the “Green Gold” of the province’s forest economy before I finally realised that my own Mid-Cornwall childhood and adolescence were also spent in, and shaped by, a resource economy.  In the terms of Harold Innis, the great Canadian economist cum geographer, I had grown up in a resource hinterland.  Tacking between my memories of an upbringing in Cornwall and my academic research as a Professor at UBC on the forest industry and latterly the transportation and processing of oil and natural gas, I consider in this talk the profound economic geographical changes affecting the extraction, governance, and politics of resource-based economies set against contemporary socio-environmental concerns.  Innis coined the term “dirt economics” to describe the form of inquiry and cultural and political attitude necessary to understand the full character and consequences of a resource (or staples) economy.  My aim in this lecture is to demonstrate the power of dirt economics and geography in fulfilling that task.

All students, staff and the public are very welcome.

ProviderCentre for Geography, Environment and Society
OrganizerJane Wills

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