“Much of the conversation about the global environment, frankly, is an elite conversation,” says Ken Conca
, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland
. “But at the same time there are community-level voices, there are voices of indigenous people, there are voices of the powerless, as well as the powerful…. I think it’s important to capture them and not just limit [the conversation] to the most easily accessible voices.”
Conca and co-editor Geoff Dabelko include these oft-muted voices in the newly released 4th edition of Green Planet Blues: Four Decades of Global Environmental Politics. “One of the things we were really trying to achieve was to give people a sense of the history,” said Conca. To fully understand the origins of today’s debates, students must go back to the beginning of the last four decades of international environmental politics.
Three key paradigms—sustainability, environmental security, and ecological justice—frame the debates in Green Planet Blues. “Ideas do matter,” says Conca. “They really do change the world, and one of the premises of our work and of the book is to try to understand what sorts of ideas people bring to the table when they think of global environmental problems.”