The study of the interrelation between political and ecological issues and problems. Ecological politics is not a specific “sector” or “type” of politics but politics itself in the “Age of Ecology.” It is politics after the breakdown of the nature-culture boundary.
It encompasses the impacts of ecological crisis on traditional politics as well as new sites of debate and conflict precipitated or made more urgent by ecological crisis. Traditional politics has been altered in numerous ways, from the formation of powerful environmental interest groups that cross economic lines to the addition of demands for environmental justice to the lexicon of civil rights and social justice. Beyond this, science’s role in contributing to ecological degradation, in investigating and documenting the effects of pollution and habitat destruction, and in solving ecological problems have brought it deeply into the political realm.
The nation state system, already weakened by a century of unprecedented warfare and by the growth of a global economic system, is being further eroded by the compelling need for global protection of ecological integrity.
Capitalism is faced with challenges to the economic growth imperative in the name of ecological sustainability. And doubt about, if not rejection of, current institutional arrangements has hastened the breakdown of Eurocentric modernism’s hierarchy of cultures. Indigenous cultures traditionally reviled or patronized are now more likely to be looked upon as exemplars of sustainable livelihood.