An Ecological Human Settlement Theory

Responding to Tim Hollo’s article Towards Ecological Democracy Steven Liaros suggests cities as a space in which we can achieve ecological democracy. But doing so will require significant changes to the way we live in urban settlements.

Introduction

In Towards Ecological Democracy, Tim Hollo calls for the re-framing of the Greens political project around the principle that ‘everything is connected’. He argues that:

“We urgently need to articulate and build “ecological democracy” as something distinct [from social democracy and liberal democracy] – a radical political vision of deep interconnection and interdependence and of resilience in diversity. It is an enabling and nurturing politics for people and the planet, supporting people and communities to find their own way together.”

Green Agenda - Ecological Democracy - Girl - Spider WebThis article supports the call to reframe green politics and seeks to expand on Hollo’s suggestion that the concept of The Commons could be a guiding principle for an ecological democracy. Hollo draws on David Bollier and describes ‘The Commons’ as much more than a pasture open to all as suggested by Garrett Hardin in The Tragedy of the Commons. Instead, it is the combination of a resource, plus a community that shares that resource, plus the set of social protocols for managing the resource.

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The Breath Of Life: Scientific Reflections On Our Planetary Connections & Their Political Ramifications

It’s hard to escape the feeling that our societies are becoming more divided and fragmented, driven by powerful regressive and disruptive influences. Nonetheless, we remain fundamentally connected through our evolutionary history, our shared biology, and our dependence on the natural processes that constitute Earth’s life support systems.

In his keynote address at the Green Institute’s Conference, Everything is Connected, in October 2017, Professor Brendan Mackey explores how our Earth systems keep us inherently connected even in an era of neoliberal individualisation.

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Green Agenda | Towards Ecological Democracy

Towards Ecological Democracy – Part 2

This is part two of Tim Hollo’s essay, Towards Ecological Democracy. To read part one, go here.

Be part of the conversation! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Tim’s ideas. We’re looking for comments and responses covering any parts of Tim’s essay. Your response can be long or short, critical or positive. If you’d like to respond, get in contact here. 

“Connecting everything”: implementing ecological democracy

If that’s the conceptualisation of the new politics, what might it mean in practice, and how can we make it happen?

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Green Agenda | Towards Ecological Democracy

Towards Ecological Democracy – Part 1

Be part of the conversation! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Tim’s ideas. We’re looking for comments and responses covering any parts of Tim’s essay. Your response can be long or short, critical or positive. If you’d like to respond, get in contact here. 

Introduction

In 2018, the issues that the Greens have made our focus for a generation –environmental destruction, corrupted politics, overwhelming corporate power, and permanent war – are more urgent than ever. At the same time, the cultural dominance of neoliberal capitalism is collapsing, with the ideas it is based on facing a crisis of legitimacy, and the institutions that hold it in place looking increasingly shaky.

Yet the Greens political project appears stalled, not just in Australia, but around the world. The huge steps of a decade ago have not been lost, but neither has the pace picked up to match the urgency of the crises we face.

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What Even Is Democracy?

By Nick-D (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In October 2017 Green Agenda hosted two lively debates at the Green Institute Conference: “Everything is Connected”. This is the edited audio and transcript of the first of these discussions, titled “What Even Is Democracy?”.

In this conversation, hosted by Green Agenda co-editor Simon Copland, three speakers — Clare Ozich, Stephen Healy and Joan Staples — answered key questions about the nature of democracy. Panelists discussed what it is that we mean by ‘democracy’, why our democratic institutions are in crisis, and what we can do about it.

Thanks to the Green Institute for hosting such an engaging conference, and to Clare, Joan and Stephen for appearing on this panel.

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Public debates on rights: necessary and positive

Green Agenda co-editor, Simon Copland, responds to Hayley Conway and Mary Tomsic 

In Voting on the Rights of Others Hayley Conway argued against public votes on the rights of others as “a vote affirming the rights of a minority doesn’t lead to systemic change.” She continued:

“Systemic change is needed to end discrimination. Winning the ‘yes’ vote in the postal survey will not end homophobia and the campaign itself has given great licence for public homophobia, abuse, and misinformation.”

I think Conway has created a straw man with this argument, refuting something that no one has ever claimed about the postal survey on marriage equality, or the use of the public votes on rights in general.

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Voting On The Rights Of Others: A Debate

The postal survey on marriage equality in Australia has opened deep questions about the intersection between human rights and democracy. In this discussion community campaigner Hayley Conway and researcher Mary Tomsic debate what role citizens should play in voting for the rights of others.

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The Trouble With Consensus Is … We Don’t Do It Enough

Co-founder of the Victorian Greens Facilitators Network, Jim Buckell, responds to Sarah Maddison

In her interview with Clare Ozich in Green Agenda, Sarah Maddison puts consensus decision making under the spotlight. In doing so, she perpetuates some common myths: it’s too slow; makes for bad decisions; marginalises dissent. Then she advances a new one (to me anyway): it can apparently be impossibly difficult to review or overturn an old consensus decision.

I’m certain these pitfalls are not systemic. They don’t arise because consensus is a flawed concept. These myths take hold because so few of us see consensus practised well, including Sarah Maddison I suspect. Groups take all manner of shortcuts or press to a vote because of time constraints. Continue reading →

International climate agreements: useful or useless?

Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has put the status of the international processes on climate change in doubt. In this discussion Green Agenda editor Simon Copland and researcher Felicity Gray debate whether Trump’s withdrawal should mean the end of the international climate process.

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Is Social Democracy Ever Coming Back?

As labour parties and their political projects appear to recede deeper into irrelevance in every election around Europe, we might wonder whether the death knell ring has rung for social democracy. But what remains to be seen is whether this trajectory will continue, whether the political landscape is in the process of shifting irreversibly – and if so how Greens can assert their place in it, and their vision for a new social democratic pact?

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