Political Ecology, Environmentalism and Greens in the Centre and East of Europe: Past, Present and Prospects
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While we are all increasingly affected by the spells of Gaia, there appears to be a heavy bias as to the political institutionalisation of her calls. In Europe, the difficulties for green parties and/or ecology movements in the continent’s centre and east are especially striking. Indeed, if green party electoral success or environmental NGO membership are any indicator, attention for green politics never converged with Western Europe. Ecology rather appears to have depoliticised after its political heyday around 1990. Once the Great Recession set in, democratising trends in several countries reversed. For better or for worse, the projection of a green future, as a consequence of transition to liberal democracy, lost whatever still remained of its former self-evidence.
To this backdrop, questions to the position and political space for environmental movements, NGOs and green parties, to developments in environmental policy-making, and to political ecology in broader terms, have gained in traction and relevance. This conference is a direct result of this process. While our former securities are rapidly disintegrating, how are we to understand the past, present and future of political ecology in the centre and east of Europe? And what does this mean for political ecology in general?