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Radical Ecological Democracy: Towards a Sustainable and Equitable World, feb 2014

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A fundamental challenge to the currently unsustainable and inequitable model of development can only be through a Radical Ecological Democracy that combines direct or participatory democracy, social justice, ecological sustainability, and economic democracy. The key pillars of such a future are presented in brief here.

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Radical Ecological Democracy: Towards a Sustainable and Equitable World, feb 2014

  1. 1. Radical Ecological Democracy Towards a Sustainable and Equitable World
  2. 2. Triple crises…. Ecological unsustainability: humanity consumes 1.5 what the earth can sustain; climate crisis already inevitable Socio-economic inequities / conflicts / deprivation: 10% rich own 53% India’s wealth; gross unemployment Alienation from rest of nature and fellow humans
  3. 3. Something fundamentally wrong with development & globalisation model State-led & capitalistled growth ‘at all costs’ … violence against nature and people!
  4. 4. Towards alternatives
  5. 5. Alternative initiatives for well-being Energy Food Water Shelter Learning Governance Urban sustainability Conservation Crafts Livelihoods Health Village revitalisation Producer companies
  6. 6. Similar movements in other countries…. •Upsurge of people’s voices … demand to be part of decision-making •Rejection of nation-state & private corporation … promotion of peoples’ collectives and communities as third alternative •Ecology, social equity, justice at core of many movements
  7. 7. Radical ecological democracy (Radical = going to the roots, challenging the conventional) • achieving human well-being, through pathways that: – empower all citizens to participate in decisionmaking – ensure equitable distribution of wealth – respect the limits of the earth and the rights of nature
  8. 8. Radical Ecological Democracy: Pillar 1. A NEW POLITICS Direct democracy: power emanating from grassroot rural and urban communities (Mendha-Lekha: “dilli-mumbai mein hamari sarkar, hamaare gaon mein ham hi sarkar”) Embedded democracy, ensuring accountability of representatives / delegates at larger levels through right to recall, citizens’ charters, public hearings, social audits, right to participation Ecoregional decision-making … political boundaries aligned with ecological and cultural ones?
  9. 9. Radical Ecological Democracy: Pillar 2. A NEW ECONOMICS Mindful of ecological limits (freshwater, climate, biochemical cycles) and need for humanity to downsize its impact Localisation: self-sufficiency/sovereignty in basic needs Production & consumption locally controlled, linked into wider landscape relations Facilitation of local currencies and non-monetised exchanges Well-being indicators as alternatives to GDP: basic needs, happiness, social relations (buen vivir ‘good living’)
  10. 10. Radical Ecological Democracy: Pillar 3. A JUST SOCIETY Towards equity amongst classes castes women and men ethnic groups abled and ‘disabled’ Towards rights-based approaches, with responsibilities
  11. 11. Radical Ecological Democracy: Pillar 4. A NEW CULTURE OF KNOWLEDGE, AND KNOWLEDGE OF CULTURE Relinking with rest of nature: humans as part of nature, inherent rights of nature Mix of tradition and modernity … both critically examined Learning through doing and experience, not only textbooks … and from ‘barefoot’ teachers as much as from PhDs! Democratising R&D and technological development Opportunities for spiritual/ethical growth (not=religious fundamentalism)
  12. 12. Values & principles…. • Diversity and pluralism (of ideas, knowledge, ecologies, economies, polities, cultures…) • Self-reliance for basics • Cooperation, collectivities, and ‘commons’ • Rights with responsibilities/duties • Dignity of labour • Respect to subsistence • Qualitative pursuit of happiness • Equity & social justice • Simplicity • Decision-making access to all • Respect for all life forms • Ecological sustainability
  13. 13. Issues for dialogue…. Will big industry be needed? Under whose control? Will private sector have a role? Are market solutions and technofixes part of the solution, or dangerous diversions? Will the state wither away? Or does its role as welfare agent & guarantor of rights continue? What is the role of the ‘middle classes’? What political forces can lead the way to radical ecological democracy?
  14. 14. Issues for dialogue…. Nature of globalisation and global governance? Free exchange of cultures, ideas, knowledge, materials, and people…. Not of predatory finance and homogenous models! Regional and global peoples’ assemblies, reducing/balancing role of nation-state
  15. 15. For more information…. • www.kalpavriksh.org • http://radicalecologicaldemocracy.wordpress.com Email: chikikothari@gmail.com

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