Storage and Scarcity: New practices for food, energy and water, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Storage and Scarcity

New practices for food, energy and water, 1st Edition

By Giorgio Osti


202 pages

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Hardback: 9781472483010
pub: 2016-06-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315601939
pub: 2016-06-10
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In an era of abundance, at least part of humanity has stopped thinking about the future provision of basic vital resources such water, energy and food. Storage actions, with all their variants whether real or imagined, are sources of innovation in the provision and treatment of crucial resources. This book deals with cases of water, food, energy and biodiversity storage as a response to a new era of scarcity. Examining multilevel storage policies, consumers’ practices and local organisations, author Giorgio Osti explores a variety of examples such as the need to stock agriculture produce, the industry and practices of food conservation, the role of artificial water basins in controlling floods and droughts and the development of batteries able to compensate for the intermittence of renewable energy sources. Storage and self-sufficiency can be achieved in many technical ways, at different territorial levels and according to different policies or philosophies. Being more a grasshopper or an ant - the two extreme positions - depends not only on the technologies available but also on different analyses of the environment and different attitudes to the future. This book offers an environmentalist perspective that uncovers hidden or absent activities of ultramodern societies that will be useful to students of environmental sociology as well as those researching and studying at the interface of environmental studies and geography.

Table of Contents

1: Accumulation vs networking: The terms of the storage issue

1.1 Storage, an eclipsed issue

1.2 Between storage and security

1.3 Why storage is once again important

1.4 Social analysis of storage

2: The modularisation of food processing and consumption

2.1 Food conservation, a broad and ambivalent matter

2.2 Food security practices

2.3 Healthy food: storage as preservation

2.4 Organisations no food waste

2.5 Rituals of food storage

2.6 Rationing and rationalising Chapter 3 – Water storage: a multidimensional task

3.1 The long march toward water channelling

3.2 River banks, detention basins and floodable areas

3.3 The art of water saving and harvesting 3.4 The big task of small farm ponds

3.5 In between network and storage

4: Energy storage

4.1 The issue

4.2 The legal, technological and social frames

4.3 The Tartar Steppe of energy storage

4.4 Power storage systems embedded in national policies

4.5 Thermal energy. The Cinderella of storage

4.6 Conclusions

5: Long-term life storage

5.1 Forms of biodiversity storage: natural parks, botanical gardens, seed banks

5.2 Beyond land sparing and land sharing

5.3 The mutual exchanges of biodiversity and storage

5.4 Mosaics of biodiversity

6: Multi-storey: the fortune of the grasshoppers andthe ants

About the Author

Giorgio Osti is a rural and environmental sociologist at the University of Trieste, Italy.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Environmental Policy and Practice

Routledge Studies in Environmental Policy and Practice
Based on the Avebury Studies in Green Research series, this wide-ranging series still covers all aspects of research into environmental change and development. It will now focus primarily on environmental policy, management and implications (such as effects on agriculture, lifestyle, health etc), and includes both innovative theoretical research and international practical case studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography


'Scarcity and storage belong together. They always have. Without scarcity no storage is needed and without the invention of storage scarcity would lead to hunger and destruction. In the face of new forms of ecological scarcities on the one hand and new possibilities of energy, food, and water storage on the other, Giorgio Osti’s new book masterfully yet clearly explains the complexities which surround new practices in coping with 21st century scarcities. The essential fields he analyzes – agricultural products, batteries in renewable energy systems, and water basins – show that our path towards a sustainable society can only be taken in small experimental steps since knowledge on ecological limits is always dependent on cultural definitions and everyday habits. Osti’s book is thus a milestone for a new understanding of an age-old topic'. 

Matthias Gross, University of Jena and Helmholtz Centre of Environmental Research, Germany

‘Osti provides a strikingly original analysis of the social and political dimensions of storage, as a concept and as real and imagined in relation to energy, food and water provision. A compelling new terrain of analysis is laid out across multiple territorial levels as the end of the ‘era of abundance’ is confronted head on and ants and grasshoppers provide metaphorical alternative visions of accumulative storage futures.’

Gordon Walker, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK