The global warming climate crisis threatens to throw the world as we know it into social and political turmoil. When environmentalists discuss global warming, they often maintain that democracy has to be an important part of climate change policy. But others see the need for a stronger, more authoritarian hand in the name of swift action, if not survival. The Introduction explores this question by first taking note of the potentially devastating consequences of the climate crisis for both the global ecological system and social and political institutions. It then outlines the limits and failures of the dominant environmental approaches to adequately confront these very large challenges. In search of an alternative theory and practice to preserve a democratic mode of governance in the face of threatening political-ecological disruptions, the Introduction presents the option of turning to the local level where democratic governance has its best chance of surviving climate crisis.
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