Ecological citizenship and the United Nations sustainability development goals agenda

Reduction of inequalities and environmental protection  and responsibility must also be interconnected for the well-being of individuals and societies.

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Ecological citizenship encourages  individuals, communities and organizations as citizens of the  world, to consider  environmental rights  and  responsibilities.

 Ecological citizenship practices on the other hand, involve a heterogenous range of actions, tools, consumer behavior, goods, and services, which are assumed to have a positive, or negative impact on the environment.

Despite the  fact, that, the United Nations sustainable development goals agenda addresses systemic barriers to sustainable development such as inequality, unsustainable consumption patterns, weak institutional capacity and environmental degradation; ecological citizenship is also a contributing factor to environmental progress.

More significantly, the public policy discourses and programs on eco-citizenship of the United Nations sustainability development agenda should  not only be associated with institutional actions and  material contexts—

Because ecological citizenship is also a sense of belonging.    

In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the sense of ‘belongingness’ is part of one of the major needs that motivate human behavior. 

Belonging is a fundamental right and a linking to place, power, and purpose. “The experience of belonging is about connection through community, as well as rootedness in a place, a feeling of ownership in shared outcomes, and a sense of mission with others.”

 Thus, the need to belong is universal and central.  

Still, political scientist Benedict Anderson contends, that nation and citizenship are an “imagined community.” This means that nation and citizenship are powerful tools and categories for feelings of belonging and dis-belonging in the ecological citizenship sustainability narrative.

 Following  from this, it must be seen, that, this ‘imagined community’ of the nation is becoming more pronounced and apparent since its days at the portals of the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, a bridge to greater empathy and inclusion of marginalized groups must be built in the understanding to ecological citizenship and sustainability. 

At the same time, the sovereignty of indigenous and African people should not be erased for the purposes of furthering the anthems of this new imagined community. Ecological citizenship and sustainability should not be further used as tools of indigenous genocide, dispossession, and mental and psychological enslavement to justify this ‘imagined community’ in a new post COVID world.

Instead, this new imagined community should give all citizens the knowledge and skills needed to promote ecological citizenship and sustainable development.  

Comparatively, historical records dictate, that, when social conditions change, some aspects of citizenship issues change with them.

 Hence, the United Nations sustainable development goals agenda must become embedded in the social, political, environmental, and economic actions of globally minded individuals and communities. The United Nations Sustainable Development goals agenda must begin to shape strategies towards understanding ecological citizenship and sustainability, and to allow individuals to embrace their social responsibility to act for the benefit of all societies. The question of what “belonging” means in the ecological citizenship and sustainable chronicle, must now force the United Nations sustainability development goals agenda to address our shared humanity together.

Even as the liberalist thought is titled on human rights, and the right to a healthy environment, civic-republicans continue to maintain, that, the environment is a collective good. Simultaneously, the global  environmental problems of climate change demands attention. The hostile effects of rising sea levels, changing weather patterns and life-threatening weather events, clearly show, that, countries must  reduce their level of greenhouse gas emissions, and use carbon taxes to  raise revenue, as a means  to environmental protection and sustainability.

If ecological citizenship in sustainable development is also an incorporation of the private sphere into the political realm, then, the political space of ecological citizenship is also the behavior of citizens, and the way in which it affects others negatively.  

Hereto, the main reason for ecological citizenship is a responsibility to minimize negative ecological impact on others.

The  affluent in the developed world, must begin to ensure social justice for those in the developing world, who are affected by their living standards and lifestyles, actions and behaviors. The conspicuous consumption and socio-economic behaviors practiced by rich people, are giving rise to a consumer society, and the increase in the types of goods and services that are necessary to, and for the lives  of the  poor and working class, to execute their environmental responsibilities effectively.

Subsequently, eradicating poverty by the United Nations sustainability agenda in all its forms and proportions is a requisite requirement for eco-citizenship and sustainable development. However, social inclusion generates greater opportunities for all. Reduction of inequalities and environmental protection  and responsibility must also be interconnected for the well-being of individuals and societies.

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