2 November 2010, Trinity College Dublin
The Eighth Meeting of the Irish Environmental History Network featured a talk by Prof. Chris Smout of the University of St. Andrews, entitled "Garrett Hardin, the Tragedy of the Commons and the Firth of Forth".
Garrett Hardin's theory of the 'tragedy of the commons' is applied to the marine environment of the Firth of Forth, Scotland, where many biological resources before 1800 were much more plentiful than they are today. His ideas are tested against the history of herring fishing, oyster dredging and pollution in the area. In two cases, irreversible resource depletion is found, and associated both with failure of self-regulation and external control, and with accelerated demand from outside: in the third case, river pollution, degradation occurs but is reversed. The reasons for this are discussed.
The meeting took place in Trinity College Dublin, Room 5025 Arts Block, Trinity College Dublin, at 5pm, and was chaired by Dr. Mark Hennessy, TCD.