Cindy Isenhour

Cindy Isenhour
University of Maine | UM · Department of Anthropology and Climate Change Institute

PhD

About

59
Publications
11,785
Reads
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761
Citations
Introduction
consumption, waste, climate, environmental policy, circular economy, sustainable systems of consumption and production, climate mitigation, international cooperation, globalization, environmental justice, climate justice
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - September 2017
University of Maine
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (59)
Article
In the last decade, the Circular Economy (CE) has emerged as an important framing for business and policy action in support of sustainable development. In that time, there has been an explosion of academic publications, policy developments, and business activities related to the CE. Given that CE has been widely praised and adopted by policy think...
Article
Full-text available
Amid the growth of circular economy research, policy, and practice, there are increasingly loud calls for a unified and singular definition of circularity. This unity is needed, proponents argue, to enable swift action in the face of climate and environmental crises. Our work interrogates the ideal of convergence around the circular economy. We ask...
Article
Recent disruptions in waste management, including the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s decision to limit waste imports from the United States, have shocked materials management systems across the United States. In Maine, these disruptions have been exacerbated by significant disturbances in the state’s waste management infrastructure. These shocks, em...
Article
Food waste recycling is needed to create a more sustainable, circular food system; however, the process must be carefully managed to avoid the introduction and build-up of contaminants. We collected and screened source-separated food waste for five classes of contaminants (physical contaminants, heavy metals, halogenated organics, pathogens and ant...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on research with food waste recycling facilities in New England, this paper explores a fundamental tension between the eco-modernist logics of the circular economy and the reality of contemporary waste streams. Composting and digestion are promoted as key solutions to food waste, due to their ability to return nutrients to agricultural soil...
Article
Circular economies are often framed as addressing a trio of problems: environmental degradation, economic stagnation, and social ills, broadly defined. Our paper centers on this last claim – that circular economies promise social benefits. There is a dearth of literature focused on the social dimensions of circular economies (Geissdoerfer, Martin,...
Chapter
This volume addresses current concerns about the climate and environmental sustainability by exploring one of the key drivers of contemporary environmental problems: the role of status competition in generating what we consume, and what we throw away, to the detriment of the planet. Across time and space, humans have pursued social status in many d...
Chapter
This volume addresses current concerns about the climate and environmental sustainability by exploring one of the key drivers of contemporary environmental problems: the role of status competition in generating what we consume, and what we throw away, to the detriment of the planet. Across time and space, humans have pursued social status in many d...
Chapter
This volume addresses current concerns about the climate and environmental sustainability by exploring one of the key drivers of contemporary environmental problems: the role of status competition in generating what we consume, and what we throw away, to the detriment of the planet. Across time and space, humans have pursued social status in many d...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID‐19 pandemic, its impact on the global economy, and current delays in the negotiation of the post‐2020 global biodiversity agenda of the Convention on Biological Diversity heighten the urgency to build back better for biodiversity, sustainability, and well‐being. In 2019, the Intergovernmental Science‐Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ec...
Article
A COVID-19 járvány világszerte drámai és soha nem látott hatást gyakorolt az egészségügyre és a gazdaságra. Sok kormány gazdasági mentőcsomagot állít össze, hogy segítse a normális működéshez való visszatérést, ám az IPBES (Biológiai Sokféleség és Ökoszisztéma-szolgáltatás Kormányközi Testület) 2019-ben elfogadott Globális Felmérése szerint a gazda...
Article
The Paris Agreement's rapid entry into force, less than one year after it was adopted, reaffirmed that the international community would continue its efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts. Yet structures created under the Kyoto Protocol, like the Adaptation Fund, were left in a state of unprecedented ambig...
Article
Despite widespread recognition of the need to transition toward more sustainable production and consumption and numerous initiatives to that end, global resource extraction and corresponding socio-ecological degradation continue to grow. Understanding the causes of this persistent failure is a necessary step towards more effective action. This arti...
Article
Climate anthropology has broadened over the past decade from predominately locally focused studies on climate impacts to encompass new approaches to climate science, mitigation, sustainability transformations, risks, and resilience. We examine how theoretical positionings, including from actor–network theory, new materialisms, ontologies, and cosmo...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic and unprecedented impacts on both global health and economies. Many governments are now proposing recovery packages to get back to normal, but the 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Global Assessment indicated that business as usual has created widespread...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the production of wealth through distributive labor in Maine's secondhand economy. While reuse is often associated with economic disadvantage, our research complicates that perspective. The labor required to reclaim, repair, redistribute, and reuse secondhand goods provides much more than a means of living in places left behin...
Article
Increasing resource scarcity and what has been called “the end of cheap nature” are prompting policymakers and scholars to foster more circular economies to reduce waste and lengthen the lifespan of material goods. Our essay critically examines the political and economic relationships between urban and rural geographies in the context of secondhand...
Article
Full-text available
In the spring of 2019, Jen Bonnet and Cindy Isenhour coordinated the sixth annual Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series, sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Climate Change Institute, Fogler Library, and the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Each week for three weeks a different film was shown, followed by a discuss...
Book
With growing awareness of environmental deterioration, atmospheric pollution and resource depletion, the last several decades have brought increased attention and scrutiny to global consumption levels. However, there are significant and well documented limitations associated with current efforts to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, r...
Article
Full-text available
The reimagination and revaluation of discarded goods, through repair and reuse is, for many, a quotidian and mundane element of everyday life. These practices are the historical precedent and continue to be the stuff of common sense for a significant portion of human society. And yet, reuse, repair and other elements of a ‘circular economy’ have re...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of the circular economy has taken off, gaining momentum along with concerns about resource depletion, waste, and the impending ‘end of cheap nature’ (Moore 2014). Environmentalists and industrialists alike have promoted the benefits of reuse as a means toward improved efficiency and reduced resource pressure. Some have called for a new...
Article
In the spring of 2018, Cindy Isenhour and Jen Bonnet coordinated the fifth annual Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series, sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Climate Change Institute, Maine Island Institute, School of Education and Human Development, and Fogler Library. Each week for three weeks a different film was shown, foll...
Article
Full-text available
Technological solutions to the challenge of dangerous climate change are urgent and necessary but to be effective they need to be accompanied by reductions in the total level of consumption and production of goods and services. This is for three reasons. First, private consumption and its associated production are among the key drivers of greenhous...
Article
The climate literacy movement aspires to help members of the general public understand the global climate system, locate and assess scientifically credible climatic information, communicate about climate change in an educated and objective manner, and make informed and responsible decisions in response to climate-change impacts. When these goals ar...
Article
Full-text available
Full Text Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mpr/vol26/iss1/6. Policies designed to extend the lifetime of products—by encouraging reuse rather than disposal—are proliferating. Research suggests that reuse can ease pressure on natural resources and improve economic efficiency, all while preventing waste. In Maine, there are clea...
Poster
Full-text available
In the spring of 2017, Cindy Isenhour and Jen Bonnet coordinated the fourth annual Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series, sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Climate Change Institute, and Fogler Library. Each week for three weeks a different film was shown, followed by discussion with campus scholars. A library exhibit accompa...
Article
Full-text available
This special section considers contemporary efforts to account for climate change through four frames: measurement, management, morality and myth. Our introduction briefly outlines these perspectives and the relevant literature, asking: 1) How have techniques of measurement and quantification emerged from and contributed to the particular politics...
Poster
Full-text available
In the spring of 2016, Cindy Isenhour and Jen Bonnet coordinated the third annual Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series, sponsored by Fogler Library, the Climate Change Institute, and the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science, and Communication and Journalism. Each week for three weeks a different film was shown, followed by discu...
Article
Full-text available
This introduction to Economic Anthropology's special issue on “Energy and Economy” argues that we might find inspiration for a much more engaged and public anthropology in an unlikely place—19th century evolutionist thought. In addition to studying the particularities of energy transitions, which anthropology does so well, a more engaged anthropolo...
Article
Full-text available
The American public’s environmental, scientific, and civic literacies are generally low. While environmental science courses often recognize the human dimensions of environmental problems and solutions, they typically treat such phenomena as matters of opinion and rarely engage with social scientific ways of knowing. Recently, there has been a push...
Poster
Full-text available
In the spring of 2015, Cindy Isenhour and Jen Bonnet coordinated the second annual Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series, sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Climate Change Institute, and Fogler Library. Each week for three weeks a different film was shown, followed by discussion with campus scholars. A library exhibit accompa...
Article
Full-text available
New developments in consumption-based emissions accounting suggest that the reductions claimed by wealthy, environmentally progressive nations have often come at the expense of increased emissions elsewhere - and thus net growth in global GHG concentrations. This paper traces Sweden's attempts to translate growing recognition of displaced emissions...
Article
Full-text available
The longstanding butter vs margarine debate has recently become more complex as the links between margarine, industrial palm oil plantations, and tropical deforestation are made increasingly clear. Yet despite calls for consumers to get informed and take responsibility for tropical deforestation by boycotting margarine or purchasing buttery spreads...
Article
Full-text available
In this brief introduction, we examine the themes and issues that link the three papers in this special section. In each case, neoliberal conservation practices appear to be predicated on a certain kind of individual subject with certain kinds of motives and behaviours-the rational actor. Taken together, these three papers challenge three assumptio...
Poster
Full-text available
In the spring of 2014, Cindy Isenhour and Jen Bonnet coordinated the inaugural Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series, sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Native American Programs, the Climate Change Institute, and Fogler Library. Each week for three weeks a different film was shown, followed by discussion with campus scholars. A l...
Chapter
Introduction: Sustainability in the City Today, more than 50 percent of the world’s 7 billion citizens live in urban areas (UN 2012), and projections indicate that this percentage will rise to nearly 70 percent before the middle of the century (WHO 2012). As cities grow, so do debates about the environmental and social impacts of urbanization. Boom...
Book
Cities play a pivotal but paradoxical role in the future of our planet. As world leaders and citizens grapple with the consequences of growth, pollution, climate change, and waste, urban sustainability has become a ubiquitous catchphrase and a beacon of hope. Yet, we know little about how the concept is implemented in daily life - particularly with...
Article
Full-text available
There is a widespread assumption that most people will not effectively respond to climate risk until they personally experience its negative effects. Yet this assumption raises some interesting questions in the Swedish context. The majority of Swedes say that they have not experienced the negative effects of climate change, but they are among the w...
Article
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Several commentators have expressed concern that the Durban Platform does not include more specific language about the need for equitable mitigation efforts. Meanwhile, other commentators have argued that the differentiated approach adopted by the Kyoto Protocol set up an opposition between the developed and developing nations; resulting in an impa...
Article
Full-text available
From Slow Food and farmers' markets to ecolabels and fair trade an unprecedented number of consumer-based alternative food movements have risen in response to concerns about the environmental and social effects of industrialized agriculture. Some research suggests that these movements are successful in their efforts to reconnect communities, demyst...
Article
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Far removed from a direct connection to the land and environmental feedback, most urban inhabitants have little choice but to rely on external sources of information as they formulate their understanding of sustainability. This reliance on analytical, scientifically produced, and highly technical sources of information—such as life‐cycle analyses,...
Article
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Drawing on 14 months of in-depth ethnographic research, this paper explores the difficulties and barriers that Swedish citizen-consumers face in their attempts to reduce their environmental and social impacts. The research reveals that while many find it quite easy to turn off their lights, ride their bike to work, or buy organic apples, generalize...
Article
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This dissertation is an attempt to examine how humans in wealthy, post-industrial urban contexts understand sustainability and respond to their concerns given their sphere of influence. I focus specifically on sustainable consumption policy and practice in Sweden, where concerns for sustainability and consumer-based responses are strong. This case...

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