2012-11-13 Green Politics and Green Political Theory.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

Green Politics and Green Political Theory November 13, 2012 ABrief History of Green Political Theory th  “Modern ecological crisis” begins in latter half of 20 century  Coincides with the birth of modern environmental movement  Characteristics of movement:  Social movement  Criticizes environmental side effects of economic growth  “Crisis” or “Predicament”?  “piggy-back products of consumption” -human effects on environment a consistent thing -scale/scope of the effect -with rise of European powers, expansion of powers, with rapid industrialization get heightened to degrees that we have never experienced before -grows exponentially th -rapid rise in modern economies in 20 century = we see subsequent environmental effects -modern ecological crisis -defines our age today -1960s, 1970s, 1980sspread of environmental movement -widespread persistent social movement -increased in size and scope since first emergence -environmental responded to new character of modern ecological crisis – has peculiar modern characteristics -we have side effects in tandem with spread of technological proficiency and tools -we have to keep in mind: environmental movement is a social movement -reflection not just of particular environmental problems -negative environmental effects are product of our society are dependent on the notion of economic growth -this society (dependent on economic growth) has given rise to ...growth? -some say it’s more of a predicament rather than a crisis -predicament: requires planning -reflects unintentional byproducts of our day and age -not something that was planned -reflection of complexity of environmental problems -piggy-back products of consumption -our whole way of life in consumption – so hard to control, isolate, and respond to -reflections of this modernized world ABrief History Cont’d…  Emergence of radical/critical voices  Environmental problems not “side effects” but a necessary phenomenon of economic growth  New publications raise awareness  “Limits to Growth” (1972)  “Blueprint for Survival” (1972)  “Our Common Future” (1987) -critical voices questioned economic growth itself, as a philosophy -questioned modernization -this debate becomes highly politicized by the central works (Blueprint for Survival, Our Common Future, the Limits to Growth, etc.) -Limits of Growth and Blueprint for Survival: Earth rapidly running out of resources; cause huge problems in future (wars, etc.) -Our Common Future: cemented our environment as a big concern -ubiquitous concern for everyone Emergence of Green Theory and Politics Four Pillars of Green Politics: 1. Ecological responsibility 2. Social Justice 3. Non-violence 4. Grassroots Democracy Note: important differences between green politics and environmentalism -late 1980ssee rise of green politics -first wave of environmental movement: e.g. Green Party, green politics -gave voice to social concerns, political concerns, etc.coming out of a broader... -women’s issues, nuclear proliferation, peace movement in general, environmentbig issues prominent 20-30 years ago -want to create big social movement -all those movements coalesce and becomes a green movement -Germany and Europeplace where green politics and green theory became united in political force in 1980s -European phenomenon -4 pillars of Green Politics -green politics emerged in tandem with neoliberal globalization -environmentalism vs. green politics -environmentalism: specific focus on environmental problems -generally accepts structures of the world -accept the type of democracy out there, philosophically, you believe .. -we can transcend the problem around the world; create... -green theory much more skeptical of these mainstream -doesn’t believe existing state systems is working and modifications to that specific structure ... -much more radical -asking for transformation; need global scale transformation in world rather than tinkering modification The First Wave of Green Theory  Begins in 1970s, develops through to early 1990s  Challenger to both liberalism and socialism  Has both normative components and political economy components  Focused on philosophical questions of anthropocentrism -well defined school of thought in environmental politics -emerged in the 1980s -around end of Cold War (1989 or 1990s)->green theory developed alternative to the two ideologies (liberalism and socialism) -critiqued both ideologies were up for green critique -green theory have particular normative branch (questions of right or wrong; something is good or bad) -concerns itself with animal rights, human rights, democracy, etc. -in tandem with that, it’s the political economy components -critiques Soviet style communism and capitalism -green theorists: both sides come from same philosophical grounding; both sides have reverence and belief in industrialization -wealth created by industrialization -green theorists: both think environment can be used for human ends -theorists say both are modernists (buy in modernization of progress, coming out of the Enlightenment) -unbridled belief that technology, human ingenuity, different forms of economic growth = something we all want and something we should all pursue -green theorists: critique anthropocentrism (human at the centre of Earth) -they don’t agree with how humans believe they’re the end...? Anthropocentrism vs. Ecocentrism “Our ecologic crisis is the product of an emerging, entirely novel, democratic culture. The issue is whether a democratized world can survive its own implications. Presumably we cannot unless we rethink our axioms.” Lynn White, Jr. The critique of anthropocentrism (human centeredness) is central to green theory -ideas of democracy, growth, and equality come down to our relationship with Earth and nature -humans just one species; one part of the much larger picture  Intrinsic value of the individual – cornerstone of western civilizations “The peak periods of “humanisms,” namely, the Greek Enlightenment, the Renaissance, the European Enlightenment...were formative periods that transformed a dominant part of the original Europe of the Church into modern secular industrial democracies.” -individual is the centre of moral concern -idea that we are bombarded with from the very first stage -every human being has value and dignity -something that is central to the Western way of life -every human born equal -Western values: pursuit of life, liberty, happiness -anthropocentrism the core of philosophy in the beginning -when we are concerned with creating a better world in philosophical world, it starts with humans -it’s about humans in general (humans were at the centre of the universe “Despite Copernicus, all the cosmos rotates around our little globe. Despite Darwin, we are not, in our hearts, part of the natural process. We are superior to nature, contemptuous of it, willing to use it for our slightest whim.” Lynne White -we believe philosophical beliefs.. -does world exist for our benefit? -maybe we shouldn’t favour human interests over the non-human world -non-human world: we see it as extracting resources to better our society -whatever is non-human is put in the background Green Theory Critique:  There are ecological, social, and psychological costs of modernization  Anthropocentrism is “human chaunvinism.” It’s arrogant, dangerous Ecocentrism:  all life forms worthy of respect; their value comes from existence, not utility for human uses.  Environmental governance protects web of life -take issue with environmental legacy -modernization process has environmental consequences -instrumental point of view: refer to fact that resources or knowledge in general are just instruments used by us to get from one point to another point -anthropocentrism is arrogant, self-serving, dangerous, and we should look upon a non-human world and nature around us -value in and with themselves? -should have intrinsic value rather than instrumental -we need to take into account the larger web of life existing about world -shift from anthropocentric to ecocentric Contemporary Green Theory - Outline Three foci: 1. Justice 2. Political Economy 3. Decentralism Each new focus emerges out of the new, transnational (globalized) context of human relations. Differences between first+second waves (new context) -1. normative focus that the world is unjust as it currently stands today -our job is to make it more just -world is unequal, exploitive -2. ecological destructive impacts that economic growth has -economic growth emerge as central paradigm of capitalism -3. decentralism: reflec
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