Radical ecological democracy Radical Ecological Democracy
Details of the Proposal

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This document and concept has emerged from widespread initiatives and experiences of grassroots organisations in India, towards alternative ways of living. It is currently being discussed with people in a few networks, towards building a base of civil society support for Rio+20 and beyond.


Noting that the currently prevalent model of development has fundamental flaws in that it is predatory of both nature and people, ecologically unsustainable, and socio-economically inequitable;


Noting also that in most parts of the world the governance of natural resources is highly centralized and top-down, and that forms of democracy even in what are today called democratic countries are not deep or radical enough to enable all citizens to take part in crucial decision-making affecting their lives;


Noting that such lack of, or inadequate, democracy also prevails in international governance institutions such as the United Nations;


Proposals and abstracts


We, the peoples of the earth, resolve to work towards a Radical Ecological Democracy, which has the following principles:

  • The integrity of the ecological processes, ecosystems, and biological diversity that is the basis of all life on earth;
  • Equitable access of all human beings, in current and future generations, to the conditions of human well-being and happiness, without endangering any other person’s access;
  • The right of each citizen and community to meaningfully participate in crucial decisions affecting her/his life, and to the conditions that provide her/him the ability for such participation;
  • The responsibility of each citizen and community to ensure such decision-making is based on the twin principles of ecological sustainability and socio-economic equity;
  • The integrity of the diversity of cultures, ways of living, livelihoods, ecologies, and polities (including those of indigenous peoples and local communities), in so far as they are in consonance with the principles of sustainability and equity;
  • Collective and co-operative thinking and working, respecting individual freedoms and innovations within such collectivities;
  • The right of nature and all species to survive and thrive in the conditions in which they have evolved


Based on the above principles, we commit to:

  • Promote alternative ways of human well-being which are ecologically sustainable and socio-economically equitable
  • Encourage and promote the understanding and respect of diverse cultures, ways of living, ecologies, and polities
  • Work towards the synergy of the best in tradition and modernity, while challenging and changing those elements of both that are violative of sustainability and equity
  • Sustain, or re-establish, an ethical relationship with nature and the earth, which respects their right to survive and flourish


The actions we envisage to make the above possible are:

  • Critically assessing the fundamental problems with the current models of development and governance, and making our assessments available in ways accessible to the general public
  • Advocating and lobbying with relevant agencies the need to radically change these models, including through and with mass people’s movements
  • Learning from and promoting existing, alternative ways of achieving human well-being that are sustainable and equitable, and creating new ones, including (but not limited to):
    • Access to adequate and nutritional food
    • Sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, and fisheries
    • Dignified and adequate shelter
    • Water security
    • Energy security
    • Decent and secure livelihoods
    • Rural and urban sustainability
    • Local self-reliance, with wider relations built on and strengthening such localization
    • Fair and equitable economic relations including trade and markets
    • Sustainable production and consumption patterns
    • Deep, radical democratic forms of decision-making and governance
    • Cultural integrity and identity
    • Meaningful, appropriate education and health systems
    • People-centred, participatory technologies
  • Participating in and facilitating the struggles of oppressed peoples (and in particular indigenous peoples and local communities, and of women) to gain basic human, environmental, and socio-economic rights, including the right to take part in decisions affecting their lives
  • Working on the above actions from local to global levels, including through existing and new people-to-people exchanges, networks, and forums.


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