The Power of Place
“The main thing is to root politics in place. The affinity for home permits a broad reach in the process of coalition building. It allows strange bedfellows to find one another. It allows worldviews to surface and change. It allows politics to remain an exercise in hope. And it allows the unthinkable to happen sometimes.” Allen Thein Durning, This Place on Earth , P.249
The concept of place, home and community is a transnational and trans-community concept. Human places have just recently been given political boundaries. Previously, human boundaries were determined the same way that animal, plant, and ecosystem boundaries were defined. They were defined by ecology ...view middle of the document...
This addition would also be meant to unite a transnational issue that all nations could agree upon. This would create a binding multilateral principle that would be thoroughly accepting of specific ecological needs and characteristics of specific places.
In short, the big picture of an international perspective needs the resolution of the peculiarities of place that can't be emphasized in a global viewpoint.
The second major international environmental conference was held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992. It was at Rio that the precautionary principle first became known to the public. Called principle 15, the precautionary principle provided that: “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation” (p.135). Although an effective ecological foundation, Eckersley noted the necessity to add to the depth of this principle. In order to be in favor of all possible environmental victims, she adds the following after “irreversible damage”: “to present and future human and nonhuman communities.” (p.135).
Eckersley goes on further to state that “No single decision rule is likely to do more to protect environmental victims” than the precautionary principle (p. 136). I would agree, but would like to suggest a most effective way to implement the principle. To create an easily understood, multilateral constitutionally entrenched principle that would enhance ecological citizenship, I believe in adding a place-based proponent to the principle.
The initial Eckersley principle protects citizens of potential environmental risks. But if this principle was to be implemented on a local level, it would not only protect those affected by environmental risks, it would also create a new sense of pride in place-based politics. This would be a place-based politics in which communities could understand, in which communities would be willing to participate in because of a long standing relationship and connection to a region, piece of land or community. In describing how saving land affects our private lives, but also relating to how the connection of land and people can create a unique bond where the place-based precautionary principle could succeed, Editor Peter Forbes states “It is the chance to express our allegiance to ideals, to one another, and to the land, thereby enabling each one of us to become a citizen of a specific place.”
After being implemented unilaterally to understand its initial effectiveness, this place-based principle could reach multilateral levels without much difficulty. Because a sense of place is not found solely in America, or Europe or Africa, this principle would reach out across all political boundaries, uniting in binding agreement. In considering such types of unilateral and multilateral agreements, Eckersley states that, “…these unilateral initiatives would be considerably...