Radical Ecological Democracy

Searching for alternatives to unsustainable and inequitable model of ‘development’

Social Change


Development as Service

Is nature an entity in its own right with intrinsic value to which one owes gratitude and respect, or is it a mere slave of human possession and exploitation? Dorine van Norren answers this question with deep reflection on traditional paradigms which have existed in indigenous cultures for thousands of years, and after having survived the centuries long onslaught of free market fundamentalism, are now providing viable alternatives to the fast crumbling ideas and practices of modern “development”. Delving into the tenets of African Ubuntu, Andean Buen Vivir and the Bhutanese precept of “Gross National Happiness”, van Norren asserts that these paradigms are paving the way toward establishing a society rooted in solidarity with one another and one’s living environment, with an enduring commitment to “development”, which is centered on service or reciprocity.

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Gustavo Esteva Had a Vision

All through his uniquely inventive life, Gustavo Esteva conceived and established trailblazing initiatives, opening up fresh possibilities to fashion new worlds, and he did so with an ever-expanding group of spirited and thoughtful collaborators, particularly in his native Mexico. In this tribute, David Barkin, one of Esteva’s long-time comrades, recounts the enormous impact his ideas and initiatives had on the quest for societal transformation.

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“Hola, Gustavo!”- A personal tribute to Gustavo Esteva

The struggle for progressive “alternatives” suffered a great loss last month when one of its prominent standard bearers, Gustavo Esteva, passed away at the age of 86 in Mexico. In his remarkable and revolutionary journey spanning over six decades, Esteva redefined the very idea of “societal transformation”, and charted a unique course of praxis and theory for the realization of his vision. In this personal tribute, Ashish Kothari recounts Esteva’s enormous contributions, and their collaboration in the quest for meaningful “alternatives”.

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Ingredients for a decolonial politics – cooking up a future to delight in

Creating “alternatives” to the political and economic structures that bolster the existing neoliberal order is as much a function of resisting their impact on society as it is to understand and challenge our own co-option into the colonial mindset that perpetuates that oppression. In this article, Eva Schonvled and Justin Kenrick present an inspiring framework for activists, academics, civil society campaigners and radical reformers to create “alternatives to our internalized and cultural habits of domination.”

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“Shared Societies” in the times of Covid-19

As vicious viruses, climate calamities and sapping economic inequalities become the hard realities of contemporary human existence, how should the world prepare itself to deal with them? Clem McCartney analyses the societal response to Covid-19 from the lens of a “Shared Society” to outline a possible way out of the present predicament.

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Decolonial feminism and Buen Vivir

The idea and practice of Buen Vivir have gained popularity all over South America because of its far-reaching socio-political acuity and penetration. Thinkers and practitioners of “alternatives” have analyzed Buen Vivir’s efficacy in dealing with various societal challenges – gender relations being a significant subject for that interrogation. Dennis Avilés Irahola provides an insight into how decolonial feminists are assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the process of implementation of the principles of Buen Vivir taking the Constituent Assemblies of Bolivia and Ecuador as examples, and how it could be sharpened to create an “alternative” paradigm in the continent without delaying action on women’s demands.

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