is democracy good for sustainability?

Sustainability Salute - Green Olympic Volunteers, Beijing China_0050

Sustainability Salute from the Green Olympic Volunteers

I’m teaching a course in religion and the environment this term, and my students are preparing to debate this very question: is democracy good for sustainability?

By way of background, they have been reading Judith Shapiro’s book Mao’s War Against Nature, which forcefully details the way that Maoist ideology trumped scientific reason in charting China’s development in the twentieth century, resulting in famine, population explosion, and environmental disaster. (More…)