711.4 Environmental policy making in a time of crisis

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 1:15 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
David SONNENFELD , Environmental Studies, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY
How is today's global financial crisis, stretching for more than four years and spawning broad, grassroots political responses, affecting the institutionalization of environmental reform in the advanced economies of Europe, North America, and Japan? For decades, social theorists have developed a narrative of the continuous evolution of environmental institutions and reforms. Are those institutions and reforms now threatened by financial and political crisis? Is environmental sustainability neglected once more as states default on debt obligations, public and private institutions declare bankruptcy, and governments fall? Or, rather, does respect for environmental quality remain a universal value, deeply rooted in global and national culture, buttressed by well established laws, institutions, and organizations, and by civil society itself? Are there opportunities, as well as challenges, for the ecological restructuring of societies in the current crisis? Examining the recent history of environmental policymaking in Europe, North America and Japan, this paper addresses the empirical foundations of such questions, as well as implications for scholarship on environment and society in the 21st century.