Social Metabolism and Labour in a Local Context: Changing Environmental Relations on Trinket Island

From a material and energetic perspective, this paper outlines the patterns of society-nature interactions of a local horticultural, hunter-and-gatherer population that lives on a remote island between India and Indonesia. Based on empirical research, we present several indicators to show an economic portfolio of a local society that combines horticulture, hunting and gathering activities with elements of industrialisation and market economy. In describing these environmental relations, the study narrows its focus to the use of three socio-ecological concepts, namely socio-economic metabolism, colonising natural processes, and the energetic return on investment. Using these concepts, we show the dynamics of social and environmental transformation at a local level and the consequences this may have for sustainability.

Associated space

Trinket Island