Energy, Power & Nature. Transition strategies towards sustainability

Series of Seminars. October 2016 - April 2017
Department of Culture, Politics and Society, Campus Luigi Einaudi, Turin

The socio-environmental issues that arise from the appropriation, conversion, transformation, distribution and use of energy and raw materials are becoming increasingly evident. The dynamism of communities and their development prospects are closely intertwined with the availability of energy and raw materials. A historical analysis shows that the sources of energy and raw materials, as well as social work organized for their use, are crucial to the organization of society and its development potential. On the other hand, while the scale of the ongoing ecological crisis and the metabolic rift between society and nature, – which manifests itself mainly through climate change and the change in the availability of organic and inorganic raw materials – has brought the issue of use of resources to the fore and made it a pivotal on the global political agenda.However, the activation of a transition towards renewable energy and an economy based on circularity able to mitigate climate change within a short time is surrounded by uncertainty.

lampIt is also hard to see whether this desirable energy transition will be able to redefine the power relations currently shaping the world networks of energy, mining and work. There is no certainty that energy will become a public good and will stop being the main commodity able to determine major financial fluctuations on a global scale and commodity prices, as there is no certainty about the possibility that independent and decentralized energy communities will be capable of generating free clean energy for themselves and others.Scenarios abound, but several aspects indicate that the transition will be hard but necessary, given the materiality of energy dynamics intertwined with socio-economic stability issues concerning wide areas of the planet; with the availability of key raw materials such as the so-called "Critical Raw Materials", the logistics-driven mobility of goods and people; food production and price variability – as for cereals, cocoa, coffee, meat; the local and global war scenarios; and growth and degrowth related issues.These centralized networks governed by powerful vertical corporation, constitute the main obstacle to an energy transition, and a circular economy of raw materials which already has to face the strength and rigidity consists of powerful socio-unique technical devices able to transform high entropy energy usable energy in low entropy.


20 October
Scenarios of Circular Economy. Geothermal energy recovery for agriculture Introduce Dario Padovan Relator Giuseppe Mandrone, Department of Geological Sciences

17 November
Integrating circular economy and social LCA: challenges and opportunities
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Nadia Tecco, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Sciences

24 November
Scenarios of Circular Economy. Strategies of microfoundation for urban metabolism
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Alessandro Sciullo, Department of Culture, Politics and Society

1 Dicember
Smart Energy Grids. The transition of socio-technical devices towards circularity. Reading Deleuze
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Osman Arrobbio, Department of Culture, Politics and Society

7 December
Consumi energetici e comfort indoor: prospettive teoriche e di ricerca
Stefano Magariello e Beatrice Surano
Il contributo è finalizzato a fare luce sul tema del consumo energetico negli edifici pubblici facendo ampio uso degli strumenti messi a disposizione dalla teoria e dalla ricerca sociale. Il consumo di energia viene contestualizzato a partire dalla teoria delle pratiche al fine di fornire un supporto teorico per lo studio empirico dei comportamenti energetici degli utenti negli edifici pubblici, e del Campus Luigi Einaudi in particolare. L'obiettivo è quello di usare strumenti sociologici per stabilire quali siano le reali possibilità di riduzione dei consumi da parte degli utenti dei sistemi socio-tecnici, possibilmente offrendo spunti per la soluzione del problema.

13 Dicember
The crises of capitalism and of environment
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Aurelio Angelini - University of Palermo

12 January 2017
RecuperiamOLI. Pratiche di economia circolare: una goccia d’olio per una bolla di sapone
Introduce Dario Padovan
Interviene Geom. Massimo Perletto – Progetto Recuperiamoli
prof. Elena Ugazio – Dip. Di Scienza e tecnologia del Farmaco – Univ. di Torino
prof. Claudia Barolo – Dip. Di Chimica – Univ. di Torino

25 January 2017
The contribution of Ecosystem Services to Circular Economy
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relatori Joachim Maes, JRC EU Science Hub
e Sara Sozzo, Associazione italiana Cultura Qualità
Ecosystems supply goods and services that are of considerable importance for livelihood and well-being. Agriculture plays a significant role in ecosystems though the production of food, raw materials and fuels. In Europe, scope exists for improving ecosystem services from farmland, forests, marine and fresh waters via the integration of agronomic, environmental and social functions into sustainable production and consumption. Circular economic system can take advantage from a rational and harmonious use of Ecosystem services.

26 January 2017
Storage and Scarcity. New practices for food, energy and water
Giorgio Osti
This book deals with cases of water, food, energy and biodiversitystorageas a response to a new era of scarcity. Examiningmultilevelstoragepolicies, consumers' practices and localorganisations, the book explores a variety of examplessuchas the need to stock agriculture produce, practices of foodconservation, the role of artificial water basins in controllingfloods and droughts and the development of batteries to compensate for the intermittence of renewableenergysources. This book offers an environmentalistperspectivethatuncovershidden or absentactivities of ultramodern societies thatwill be useful to students of environmentalsociology, environmentalstudies and geography.

2 February 2017
Materie prime e processo complessivo di produzione capitalistica: tradizioni marxiste e implicazioni per le scienze sociali e i metodi di misurazione degli impatti ecologici
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relatore Valter Zanin, Università di Padova

23 Febriary 2017
Energy efficiency cooperation between America and China
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relatore Winston Wilcrease, Columbia University
China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest energy consumer and emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy demand in China continues to grow as a result of rapid urbanization and a fast-growing economy. Fossil fuels are still the leading sources of China’s electricity generation despite its increasing use of renewable energy. There needs to be significant intervention to protect human health and the global environment. Just in the past few years China and the U.S., the two countries that account for 38% of global carbon emissions, have set ambitious goals to cooperate on low carbon development. Multiple bilateral agreements have been signed to achieve these goals. To solve the climate and energy nexus, both countries must work closely together. Energy efficiency and other low carbon technologies are key to the way forward. With today’s vulnerable political climate, bilateral cooperation between China and the U.S. is more imperative than ever before.

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