Monthly Archives: September 2009

Ecological citizens: do they exist?

The basic principles of a theoretical ‘ecological citizenship,’ as sketched out by Andrew Dobson, were summarised in my previous article. The obvious question to ask immediately of such a theory is whether it has any connection with the real world: do ‘ecological citizens’ actually exist?

Some social research which is able to answer this question has been published recently. Swedish political scientist Sverker Jagers (2009) has carried out a survey “to verify, identify and explain the presence of ecological citizens” (p.21).

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Filed under David, social justice, sustainability

Spread the word

Blog Action day on climate change – October 15, 2009

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Ecological citizenship: the basis of a sustainable society

In his book on ‘The politics of the environment’, Neil Carter argues that, among green theorists

there is a consensus over the need for active ecological citizenship because of the recognition that the transition to a sustainable society requires more than institutional restructuring; it also needs a transformation in the beliefs, attitudes and behaviour of individuals. (Carter, 2007, p.65)

In other words, ecological citizenship is an essential prerequisite of a sustainable society.

So let’s try to understand what ‘ecological citizenship’ might actually mean.

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Ecological macroeconomics: resolving the three dilemmas of transformation

Jonathan Harris, “Ecological macroeconomics: consumption, investment, and climate change”, real-world economics review, issue no. 50, 1 September 2009, pp. 34-48,

Harris (Tufts University) begins his discussion by using the charmingly mild phrase “cognitive disconnect” to decribe the yawning great chasm between “scientists’ warnings of potential catastrophe if carbon emissions continue unchecked on the one hand and the political and economic realities of steadily increasing emissions on the other” (p.34)

It is, as he says, “the outstanding economic problem of the twenty-first century. Can economic growth continue while carbon emissions are drastically reduced?” (p.34) And asking that question makes us look more closely at what, in fact, economic growth is and how we might make a successful economic and social transition to sustainability.

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Go green for fiscal prudence!

Ramon Lopez, The Great Financial Crisis, Commodity Prices and Environmental Limits (WP 09-02, Revised May 31, 2009)

Professor Ramon Lopez of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, has written an interesting working paper that draws the links between changes in the global economy, commodity prices, and the current global financial crisis. It is an argument that calls into question the viability and wisdom of efforts to resume ‘business as usual’, suggests future global economic growth will be slow at best, and (implicitly) suggests that policies of large-scale public borrowing based on the assumption that future growth will help pay it off may be highly risky.
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Filed under Barry, capitalism, economic analysis, social justice, sustainability