Ecodemocracy in practice: exploration of debates on limits and possibilities of addressing environmental challenges within democratic systems

  • Helen Kopnina The Hague University of Applied Science, The Netherlands.
  • Reingard Spannring Institute for Education Science, University of Innsbruck, Austria (FWF, I 4243-G).
  • Shé Hawke Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies, Science Research Centre, Koper, Slovenia.
  • Colin D. Robertson Law Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Alessio Thomasberger Philipps University Marburg, Marburg, Germany.
  • Michelle Maloney Law Futures Centre, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.
  • Marco Morini University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
  • William Lynn George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester MA, USA.
  • Naziru Zakari Muhammad Mweka College, Mweka, Tanzania.
  • Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI, USA.
  • Hana Begovic United Nations Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network, United Nations.
  • Mariusz Baranowski Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.


This article examines the practical implications of ecological democracy or ecodemocracy, inquiring how capable democratic societies are of addressing environmental challenges. It asks: What is needed to secure democratic legitimacy for policy measures to benefit nonhuman species? What would ecodemocracy look like in practice? Different types of existing and possible types of representation are discussed, including the expansion of the precautionary principle, the Council of All Beings or Parliament of Things, and representation through the Parties for Animals. A possible approach in the form of a mandate for proxy eco-representation similar to civil rights through continuous affirmative action is investigated.  Limitations and possibilities of each approach for nature representation are weighed.

Key words. anthropocentrism, democracy, ecocentrism, ecological democracy, ecodemocracy, ecological justice, environmental justice, multispecies justice, rights of nature

Author Biography

Helen Kopnina, The Hague University of Applied Science, The Netherlands.





Original Papers