Reconciling Ecological and Democratic Values: Recent Perspectives on Ecological Democracy

David Schlosberg, Karin Bäckstrand, Jonathan Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The idea of ecological democracy is a promising one, a combination of two sets
of appealing core normative values – environmental concern and engagement
on the one hand, and democratic legitimacy and procedure on the other. Yet,
these two sets of values are quite different, and not so easily reconciled.
Theorists of ecological democracy have long struggled with this dual (and
duelling) set of promises, and have always had to address the obvious potential
for conflict between them. As Goodin (1992: 160) clearly laid out, long ago,
‘to advocate democracy is to advocate procedure, to advocate environmentalism is to advocate substantive outcomes: what guarantee can we have that
the former procedures will yield the latter outcome?’ There is no guarantee
that democracies will necessarily bring about ecological and sustainable ends,
and more authoritative processes of attaining those ends could undermine
democratic ideals and legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Values
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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