CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Political ecology seems at a turning point today: it has gradually won over public opinion, as has been confirmed by, among other things, the French municipal elections of 2020 (Green mayors being elected in a number of cities) and the debates on the future that have arisen out of the Covid crisis. Torn between various different factions, it is however struggling to put a clear, unifying overall message before the public. For a genuinely ecological society to emerge, its advocates must first come together around some solid ethical foundations, but what might those foundations be? Are Green politicians capable of uniting to gain power at the national level? These questions are at the heart of a series of articles launched by Futuribles on the initiative of Jean Haëntjens.
Dominique Bourg, philosopher and long-time ecological activist, looks back here over the developments that had led our societies, against a background of hyper-consumerism, to a point where they have parted company with nature. He shows how environmentalism has gained momentum over recent years, moving in the direction of a change of civilizational paradigm driven by a heightened ecological sensibility among citizens. People seem increasingly disposed to change their lifestyles; the problem now is how to give them the ways and means to do so. It is up to the economic, political and ethical leaders and authorities to buckle down to that task, creating an ‘ecological beacon’ in Europe and throughout the world, using incentives and even compulsion — though without penalizing the most vulnerable — and all the while respecting a democracy functioning at the appropriate level for decision-making. Bourg, in this article, formulates a variety of proposals for doing just that.

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