Conclusion

In sum, the possible political arrangements in a sustainable society seem to range all the way from radical decentralization to a world government. Ecologism, though, is a transformative political ideology: transformative of people and the way they think about, relate to and act in the non-human natural world. The problems associated with transformative ideologies of any sort were flagged by Jean-Jacques Rousseau as long ago as 1762 when he opened his The Social Contract with the words: 'My purpose is to consider if, in political society, there can be any legitimate and sure principle of government, taking men as they are and laws as they might be' (Rousseau, 1762/1968, p. 49). Quite soon he realized that the society he had in mind would not work so long as men remained 'as they are', and so he introduced a deus ex machina in the form of a 'Lawgiver' whose job was to 'change human nature' (ibid., p. 84). Transformative greens are in much the same position as Rousseau: the raw material is inadequate to the task at hand. Greens are asked political-institutional questions, and they have to answer them. Taking 'men' (and the societies that have spawned them) as they are, decentralized politics seems ineffective and naive. Taking 'men' (and their modes of production and consumption) as they might be, though, decentralized politics is the preferred radical green form -and for some of these radical greens, indeed, decentralized politics is the ecological equivalent of Rousseau's Lawgiver: the source of the transformation of human nature.

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