Reading the earth charter: Cosmopolitan environmental citizenship or light green politics as usual?

Ethics, Place and Environment 7 (1 & 2):85 – 96 (2004)
This paper offers two possible readings of the Earth Charter that are informed by current scholarship in the field of environmental politics. The first reading finds much in the document to suggest congruence with emerging discourses of cosmopolitanism and global environmental citizenship. The second reading, a more sceptical one, identifies aspects of the Earth Charter that seem more resonant with depoliticizing United Nations-style light green globalism than with an inclusive ethical vision of environmentalism. After setting out these two readings, I argue that, although potentially undermining of its endorsability, thinking critically about problematic aspects of the Earth Charter is an exercise that may point in the direction of a cosmopolitan environmentalism that is less banal and instrumental and more dialogically open, reflexive, and democratic.
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