, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 36–45 | Cite as

Radical Ecological Democracy: A path forward for India and beyond

  • Ashish Kothari
Thematic Section


The search is on for sustainable and equitable alternatives to the dominant economic development model, and the emerging concept and practice of ‘radical ecological democracy’ can contribute to this search. This new framework places the goals of direct democracy, local and bioregional economies, cultural diversity, human well-being, and ecological resilience at the core of its vision. It arises from the myriad grassroots initiatives that have sprung up in India and other parts of the world. Although efforts to amplify and spread such a paradigm face the enormous challenge of overcoming the resistance of entrenched institutions and mindsets, current practice suggests opportunities for making progress. Ultimately, the wide embrace of radical ecological democracy will require the spread of the core values underlying the framework, a transition guided not only by hard-headed rationality but also by a strong ethical and emotional foundation.


democracy localism sustainability direct democracy participatory democracy Great Transition 



This article was originally published by the Great Transition Initiative at, under a Creative Commons BC-NC-ND copyright


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© Society for International Development 2014

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  • Ashish Kothari

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