Ian Christie argues that the “Climategate” scandal, where emails between scientists were stolen from the University of East Anglia in the UK, show that scientists need to better communicate the contested and probabilistic nature of data, be aware of their own values and interests, and not react to criticism with defensiveness and evasion.
In the absence of a visionary text setting out the intersections between democracy, environmental justice and sustainable development, Charles Secrett argues that we need to draft a core text, and then rely on the wisdom of crowds to develop it.
Halina Ward believes that the UK’s Sustainable Communities Act, 2007 takes a conservative approach to sustainable development, seeing economic, social and environmental issues separately, rather than creating an “integrated approach to decision-making”.
Lorenzo Cotula argues that ‘land grabbing’ - where large-scale land acquisitions for agrifood and biofuel investments which have been made in Africa, Asia and Latin America - goes straight to the heart of democracy and sustainable development.
Leaders from UK NGOs met to explore insights into the relationship between democracy and sustainable development, ways forward, and whether and how NGOs should work together to get democracy working for environmental justice and sustainable development.
FDSD urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to include, as part of any future International Day of Democracy, reflection on the democratic challenge of climate change, since it is one of the most significant failures of democracy to date.
Halina Ward uses the example of eco-town proposals by the UK central government to illustrate the tensions between top-down sustainability planning and local needs. She argues for the development of processes that marry the two successfully, rather than allowing only for central imposition or local undeliberated responses.
Halina Ward argues that online voting illustrates some of the problems with simple direct democracy, including an absence of informed and accountable processes.
Halina Ward believes that if we take the concept of ‘one world’ thinking, developed by Peter Singer in One World: The ethics of globalisation, our democracies have not responded to the challenges of interconnectedness. While the tools of one world thinking are well developed, such as environmental footprints or impact assessments, they are not used enough.