Energy & Environment

Environmentalism for Democracy: Catalyst or Inhibitor?

0 75

Does environmentalism strengthen or weaken democracy? This question is worth pondering for two reasons. First, in contemporary democracies, the environment has always been a salient issue on the political agenda. Second, in a democratic process, people are supposed to remain free to prioritise values other than the environment.

Think about cases in which people support the building of additional airport runways (for economic development), or in which they reject the ban on plastic shopping bags (for convenience or maintaining the status quo). Therefore, democracy can, in principle, deliver decisions which are contrary to environmentalism, and it appears that upholding environmentalism requires us to sacrifice democracy.

The above assertion is correct insofar as democracy and environmentalism can never be compatible, and this ultimately depends on how we understand both concepts. Despite its many definitions, democracy is widely recognised as a procedure for collective decisionmaking. Similarly to a computer system, a decision procedure consists of three components – input, process and output. Minimally, democracy requires that (1) such a procedure accepts all logically possible individual opinions as inputs (or ‘pluralism’); and that (2) these inputs be processed by a mechanism which does not overrule any consensus among individuals (or ‘consensus preservation’).

Arguably, the two conditions are necessary for democracy. ‘Pluralism’ realises the principle of democratic inclusiveness, where no input should be rejected from consideration unless they are self-contradictory (or they are themselves logically inconsistent). ‘Consensus preservation’, on the other hand, specifies that democracy should at least respect and preserve any unanimous opinions. Suppose a group of council members who are to decide democratically whether plastic shopping bags should be banned. If all of them accept the ban, then such acceptance follows for the collective decision. Conversely, if all of them reject the ban, then the collective decision is rejection instead.


Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 3 No. 4


About the author / 

CESRAN Int.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CESRAN Blog

  • 24th Issue is Online Now!

    Vol. VI | No. III – July-August-September 2020 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 05-14….. World News by Ebru Birinci 17-24….. Preparedness for an Uncertain Future “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself” by Professor Mark Meirowitz 25-39….. EU LAW vs UK LAW The Primacy of EU Law over National Law:…

  • IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual!

    Dear Friends and Colleagues, IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual! Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we are holding our entire conference virtually by streaming all of the live sessions. You may participate in all of our virtual networking events. In case of missing a session, you may get full access to the replays of every session since all…

  • The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now…

    The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now… Vol. 8 | No. 1 | 2020 Click here to Download the Entire Issue   TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Note By David Curran Introduction By Nergis Canefe Research Articles Statelessness as a Permanent State: Challenges to the Human Security Paradigm By…

  • The 19th Issue of The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development is Out Now!

    The 19th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles Turkish AK Parti’s Posture towards the 2003 War in Iraq: The Impact of Religion amid Security Concerns By Alberto Gasparetto Nigeria and the Great Powers: The Impacts of the Boko Haram Terrorism on…

  • CESRAN International Named again amongst the Top Think Tanks in the World

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named again amongst the world’s best think tanks. The 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked CESRAN International 141st among the World’s “Top Think Tanks in Western Europe” 75th among the World’s “Top Environment Policy Think Tanks” 153rd among the World’s “Top Foreign Policy…

  • THE 18TH ISSUE OF THE REST: JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND DEVELOPMENT IS OUT NOW.

    The 18th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles The Foreign Policy Decision Making Approaches and Their Applications Case Study: Bush, Obama and Trump’s Decision Making towards Afghanistan and the Region By Sharifullah Dorani Evaluating the Explanatory Power of Social Identity Theory,…

Newsletter