Land, ecology, and democracy: A twenty-first century view

Julianne Lutz Newton, Eric T. Freyfogle, William C. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Land is necessary for human flourishing, and its use remains a compelling concern for every society, even those wherein industrialization has sharply diminished people's awareness of land. Here, we consider land's influence on political thinking, particularly thinking about democratic governance, and ask if this influence might be made more beneficial by the application of lessons drawn from ecological research. We identify five such lessons and apply them in six ways to the institution of private-property rights in nature -the main legal institution that allocates and perpetuates power over land - and to modern assumptions about liberal individualism and rights to health. We conclude that people can live well on land, promoting both human and land health, only in governmental forms engaging more citizens more deliberatively than now typical even in democracies. Implications for political institutions and human welfare are discussed under conditions of globalizing interdependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages15
JournalPolitics and the Life Sciences
Volume25
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration

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