The new book's front cover
Titled Engaged Environmental Citizenship, the book is a collaborative effort between editors Dr Heather Aslin of Charles Darwin University and Professor Stewart Lockie of the Australian National University. The publication brings together a diverse range of people to cast a critical look at how people identify and act as environmental citizens. Forthcoming issues under its analytical gaze include the tendency of governments to rely on voluntary expression of environmental citizenship, despite increasingly tangible realities such as climate change and energy security, the impacts of which are being felt ever more keenly by economies and the greater community everywhere.
“The smartest environmental regulations in the world or the juiciest incentives won’t protect the environment if people are not interested at an individual, family, firm or community level,” writes RIEL director Professor Andrew Campbell in his foreword to the book. “Reducing carbon emissions, conserving natural resources and biodiversity, minimising ecological impacts, shifting to renewable energy, redesigning cities and moving towards a more sustainable society are everyone’s responsibility, not only the responsibilities of governments and formal institutions.”
On the other hand, as Andrew goes on to say “we can’t deliver sustainable solutions on our own — especially to macroenvironmental problems like climate change, energy security and biodiversity loss — in the face of hostile or corrupt institutions, inadequate property rights and perverse incentives. We need engaged citizens, committed to more sustainable lifestyles, living and working within supportive institutional frameworks in the broadest sense. Such frameworks are more likely to evolve where people at a grassroots level are committed and engaged, and in turn will work to facilitate that engagement, and so on in a virtuous circle.”
This book explores that dialectic between citizens and the institutional structures that enable or constrain them.
RIEL personnel other than Heather and Andrew include Professor Stephen Garnett. Stephen co-authored a chapter with Heather and Dr Neil Collier of Edith Cowan University on negotiating opportunities and needs for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in natural resource management. Other topics include looking at ways people can accept responsibility and effect change in the face of constitutional or cultural contraints; how environmental issues may be made more accessible and relevant to more people; and paths by which market forces and natural forces may be choreographed to assist progress on environmental problems.
“The concept of engaged environmental citizenship is explored through diverse lenses and case studies in this book,” Andrew writes. “[It] deserves a wide audience among policy makers, citizens and anyone interested in the environment.”
Engaged Environmental Citizenship may be purchased through the CDU Bookshop, a steal at $39.95