I do not intend to waste your or mine time.
Political ecology as a concept and as a social movement comes as a disguise for communism as social movement.
You might be confused by Wikipedia quotation about political economy. To attribute political economy to Adam Smith for instance, seems to preposterous, that I had to go deeper into interplay between political economy and political ecology. I can understand that fairly normal person up-brought in market economy can fantasize about origins and meaning of “political economy”. For a person like me, that have studied in ’80 in Yugoslavia, in the last phase of formal rule of communists, political economy has one meaning only: “marxist economy”. From the perspective of communist ideology there were only two types of economy: the right one, political economy preaching marxism and capitalist economy preaching… preaching… forget it! No one really cared about what capitalist economy really stood for. There was one and only economy that was taught under the title of political economy. Adam Smith was definitely not a part of it. He did not exist for political economy in socialist/communist countries.
After the fall of Berlin wall, after Yugoslavia fell apart and newly established countries slipped (apparently, but not in reality) into market economy, the term political economy disappeared. It would be really tough to argue for political economy after all economies that followed political economy paradigm in daily practical economy, broke one after another. Such situation was quite a disaster for communists/collectivists by heart. What to do?
Ecology as a commun ist disguise
Since economy was more or less lost, a new field where collectivist ideology could be spread around was needed. Ecology came as extremely handy for this purpose. Global warming simply replaced capitalists and imperialists as a threat against which all of us have to fight against under the flag of international Comintern … ups… sorry, under the flag of United front of politically correct states, United Nations and IPCC. The enemy that threaten us, now climate change, demand from us to suppress our daily needs and to join and die for collective of United Front against Climate Change. It is not Stalin any more that we have to support without hesitation, but Al Gore, Elon Musk widespread collective that act as KGB from old mother Russia.
Contemporary KGB of Climate Change fighters became so self confident that now they openly brand themselves under the name of political ecology. Reading mission statements of political ecology or social ecology ambassadors is like reading Lenin VKPb manifesto for the purpose of environmental revolution.
A need to fight entropy
Collectivist meme is obviously a virus extremely capable to mutate fast enough not to be suspicious but with such pace that does not ruin its identity. It looks also that this virus behaves in perfect accordance to second law of thermodynamics. Ideology behind supports absolute equalization, absolute equilibrium, highest possible entropy, death. Like any other entropy, it happens as a natural consequence. A conscious and continuous fight against such entropy, a fight that Erwin Schrödinger simply called life, is thus needed. Destruction of individual, collectivization, equalization comes by default. Such tendencies will not simply cease to exist. Constant fight against, constant life is needed to counteract this deadly consequence of collectivism, of entropy.