Can “Ecological Democracy” Be The Response To The Crisis Of Democracy?

By Tim Hollo March 7, 2018

Looking at politics around the world today, it’s not a pretty sight, is it?

From poker machine companies buying the Tasmanian election to coal companies preventing climate action; from global treaties being negotiated by, with and for transnational corporations to civil society groups being denied the right to campaign and advocate; from public space being handed over the private corporations to sell us stuff we don’t want or need to yet another push to cut company taxes while saying there’s not enough cash to support desperate people or pay for better schools and hospitals – it’s no surprise that people are increasingly disheartened, disconnected and disenfranchised. Democracy is in crisis.

So what are the main responses to this crisis? Mostly, we see a turn to the extreme right, a revival of social democracy, and, in the middle, a clinging to liberalism. I view the first as utterly repugnant, the second as insufficient, and the third as naive.

The real solution, which isn’t yet properly in the picture, is what I call “ecological democracy”. It’s not yet in the picture largely because it’s a more radical vision than any of the others, and consequently it’s held back and kept out of the discussion. But we should admit that it’s also not yet in the picture because we haven’t done a particularly brilliant job of articulating it. That’s central to the task I set the Green Institute, and will be a big focus of this year.

To me, “ecological democracy” is a radical political vision of deep interconnection and interdependence; rejecting capitalism’s hyper-individualism, growth fetish, and celebration of greed; beyond socialism while unashamedly of the left; intrinsically intersectional; embedded in nature. It draws deeply on the ancient ideas of The Commons – a system based on understanding and valuing connection between people living as part of the natural world.

There will be much more to come on this in the near future, but, to start the conversation, here is a speech I gave to Politics in the Pub in Sydney recently. You can read the text and you can watch the video of the speech, as well as a Q&A session with Stuart Rees at the end.

And please note – this is not an individual project! It’s very much about a group discussion! I would very much appreciate your feedback, ideas and critique, either in the comments below or by emailing me.

Look forward to the conversation developing as we walk, run, cycle and hoverboard towards an ecological democracy 🙂

Tim Hollo on an ecological democracy where “everything is connected” and embedded in nature


Mala says

Yes Tim Hollo. Well done. Clear observations, clear, sane solutions. Thank you.
I am a full-time student this year. One day, I hope to be able to help you/the Green Institute realise the change we desperately need.


Yan says

Wonderful, keep going and let's discuss :)
Commoning, p2p agreements, bioregionalism, glocal production (fablabs), permaculture, open-source values, crowdsourcing, circular economy, ethical crypto-currencies, holistic and preventive health care, holistic schools and unschooling, synergy engines, social ecosystem design and mapping systems, etc.. so many components are already there to create a brilliant whole.

You may enjoy my own enquiry called p2p nation initiative as well :



Marko Ulvila says

Thanks for an excellent blog. Since early 2000's I have been associated with Indian groups that have used ecological democracy as a slogan for the desirable alternative. Some of them now run an excellent web site


César Valdivieso says

Greetings friends of Talking about the connection between people and the natural world, here is a proposal that might be of interest to you:


Despite the high quality of life that some of the so-called developed nations have achieved, the truth is that the world, considered as a group of countries located in a fragile and geographically limited biosphere, is threatened with extinction due to human conflicts and the depredation of the environment.
Notwithstanding the good and very important actions taken by groups and individuals in favor of a better world, deterioration at all levels continues to increase dangerously.
After more than thirty years dedicated to these matters, and since "an image is worth a thousand words" we have come up with an alternative strategy, which consists of designing a self-sufficient and sustainable model city that has all the characteristics of infrastructure and organization inherent to the peaceful and sustainable society that we want for ourselves and our descendants, whose representation in the form of scale models, animated series, feature films, video games and theme parks, would constitute a model to follow to generate the necessary changes.
The prototype that we present has some characteristics that are opposed, sometimes in a radical way, to the religious, economic, political and educational traditions and customs that have been transmitted from generation to generation, yet are the causes of the aforementioned problems, and therefore must be transformed.
If you are interested in knowing about this project, or even participating in it, we invite you to visit our website (written in Spanish and English), where we are working in that sense.


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