How does ecological modernization explain agriculture adaptation in coastal Bangladesh? A critical discussion

Saleh Ahmed, Christopher Cokinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic climate change now plays a critical role in shaping climate–society interactions throughout the world. Though exposure to different climate-related risks varies globally, few countries or regions are more vulnerable to climate change than Bangladesh. Due to its geomorphology, southwest coastal Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable. And in that region a majority of the population depends on various climate-sensitive sectors, such as rain-fed agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. So climate plays an important role shaping the local livelihoods and sustainability efforts. Bangladesh is often labeled as the world’s most climate-vulnerable country; on the other hand, it is also a champion of various innovative adaptation initiatives. Innovations and diffusions of agricultural technology are rapidly expanding as part of nation’s effort to increase its agricultural productivity. Ecological Modernization Theory can be used to explain this situation as a response to climate-related risks and in terms of the need to achieve sustainability. This theory argues that economic, political, and cultural institutions can directly influence environmental outcomes. However, the process of ecological modernization (EM) in countries like Bangladesh is complex and involves various actors and competing interests. Addressing this complexity through theoretical insights, this article analyzes the changing pattern of climate–society interactions and advances our understanding of the human dimensions of climate change impact at the local level. Even though it has a regional focus on southwest coastal Bangladesh, the insights here–concerned with the water–energy–food–climate nexus, the local evolution of EM, and the ethical dimensions of food and agriculture–are relevant in other parts of the world that face changing patterns of climate–society interactions under limited-resource conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Hazards
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017


  • Agriculture
  • agriculture adaptation
  • climate change
  • climate–society interactions
  • coastal Bangladesh
  • ecological modernization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Sociology and Political Science


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