Although Green approaches to politics have had some practical successes in a range of different countries, the movement has lacked a fully developed and coherent political theory. In this unique study David Wells and Tony Lynch demonstrate that ecological understanding and environmental concern are not just consistent with notions of social equity and grass-roots democracy, but that a concern for these aims are the logical consequence of what might be called 'political ecology'. They begin with a critique of existing approaches to Green politics, with particular attention to the claims of 'deep ecology' and go on to develop an important examination of the relationship between economic and ecological styles of thinking. They conclude with a 'social commons' inspired revision of Lockean politics. What emerges is an important understanding of the tasks of politics: rather than focusing on 'foreground' issues of individual choice, the central political challenge of our age is with the management and provision of the background conditions (the ecological conditions - understood in the broadest sense) which allows the possibility of a reasonable life. The analysis shows a concern with environmental commons engenders equal concerns for social, economic and cultural commons, develops an account of how such commons can be effectively managed and relates this account to more traditional political themes of democracy, liberty and equity.
’A lucid and politically engaged introduction to the challenging environmental issues which confront us. The Political Ecologist is destined to establish itself as one of the canonical introductory texts.’ William Grey, Australian President of the International Association for Environmental Ethics ’An excellent text for students of politics and economics interested in environmentalism…’ ASLIB Book Guide
Contents: Introduction; Why environmentalism?; Green politics and deep ecological ethics; Green politics and the question of growth; Economy and ecology; Commons, community and environment; Political ecology and the social contract; Political ecology and government; Recovering politics; Bibliography; Index.