As the effects of anthropological climate change ravage the natural world, many individuals are turning to a new model of citizenship. This model places a higher value on the natural world than in the past. An ecological citizen is a person who is ready to make compromises for the sake of the environment as well as carbon footprint reduction.
Ecological citizenship rises out of the environmental movement, envisioning a world where everyone does their part to reduce their impact on the planet. There is an emphasis on responsibility, rights, sustainability, and reconciliation. Ecological citizenship, like all ethical models, requires its citizens to act with diligence rather than on base emotion.
Ecological citizenship relies on collective action and democratic ideals that promote active participation from all members of a society. An ecological citizen has a higher level of ecological awareness, understanding how we are intimately linked to one another and the environment around us. An ecological citizen accepts the duties of an active, expanded citizenship, which include altering private habits to benefit the public good and taking collective action to advocate for responsible, systemic change.
We must understand the link between individual and collective action: individual action is important, but it needs to be part of a larger movement. We need to build a movement of ecological citizens to address rising economic instability, environmental damage, unhealthy communities, and a weakened democracy. We need to perceive the world from an ecological perspective, seeing the linkages between the challenges we confront and taking collaborative action to solve fundamental causes.
Human beings now face significant challenges in the natural environment. Humans, who perceive themselves as having dominion over nature, have degraded the natural biosphere. Humans, with our human-centered perspective, have only now begun to see the consequences. We have ignored the notion that any non-human has a right to exist and have thus exploited them. To move towards ecological citizenship, we must acknowledge our past actions and learn from them. We can no longer blindly ignore now that we know our actions have unintended consequences.
Ecological citizenship is not just about lowering carbon footprints, but rather reconnecting with the natural world. While some individuals must decrease their negative environmental impacts, others must be able to enhance their environmental influence and consume environmental products and services. Everyone should have equal access to the benefits of nature. This is only feasible if environmental justice is understood and put into practice. Environmental justice has the potential to be a strong weapon for the sustainability movement as well as improving the quality of life for some marginalised populations.
People are now seeking solutions to create a new world. We have caused this destruction, and we must look inside ourselves to find a pathway out. A new hope for our world will emerge if individuals learn to live according to ecological norms and can reconcile their conduct with ecological fundamentals. Everyone can be an active participant in a society where the natural world has equal value to the human one.