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Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal

Abstract

Climate change threatens to impact our planet in ways that will have far-reaching effects on both human populations and the ecological foundations humanity depends on for its survival. The urgent task of reforming environmental policy has proven to be rather complex, which is in large part due to the abrasive relationship between the transboundary character of ecological problems and the inherent sovereignty of states. On the international level, the UN strategy has focused on multilateral treaties; although, it has failed to produce any real affect due to institutional weaknesses. States pursuing their own variants of environmental reform have—at least in most cases, exhibited dreadfully low standards. To begin my conceptual analysis of existing aproaches, I will propose a theoretical blend of ecocentrism and communitarianism, which I have termed ecocentric communitarianism and show how this differs form the international theoretical approach, cosmopolitanism. In looking at their ideal decision-making structures, I will demonstrate how, politically speaking, ecocentric communitarianism engages individuals on a personal level in a way that global approaches cannot, because societal learning begins at the community level and community-based approaches are much more extensive in their opportunities for reform due to the innate differences between communities’ ecosystems.

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