The Power of Place

Satisfactory Essays
The Power of Place

“The main thing is to root politics in place. The affinity for home permits a broad reach in the process of coalition building. It allows strange bedfellows to find one another. It allows worldviews to surface and change. It allows politics to remain an exercise in hope. And it allows the unthinkable to happen sometimes.” Allen Thein Durning, This Place on Earth , P.249

The concept of place, home and community is a transnational and trans-community concept. Human places have just recently been given political boundaries. Previously, human boundaries were determined the same way that animal, plant, and ecosystem boundaries were defined. They were defined by ecology and they were defined by geography of region and hemisphere.

Tony Hiss Author of The Experience of Place brings to our attention that as humans “We react, consciously or unconsciously, to the places where we live and work, in ways we scarcely notice or that are only now becoming known to us…In short, the places where we spend our time affect the people we are and can become.” Place defines characteristics in both human and extended moral communities. Place is not necessarily specific to gender, race, generation or specie. This understanding and recognition of place is fundamental when thinking about institutionalizing ecological and social responsibility.

Because of human and nonhuman connections to specific places including knowledge, experience and community, using a sense of place and permanence as a green transnational multilateral initiative could be a successful step towards green democracy and ecological citizenship. Robyn Eckersley offers the suggestion of a constitutionally entrenched principle that would enhance ecological and social responsibility: the precautionary principle. I suggest connecting localized, place-specific boundaries with the principle. This addition is meant to aid in fostering ecological citizenship, expanding the moral community, and creating a responsible society. This addition would also be meant to unite a transnational issue that all nations could agree upon. This would create a binding multilateral principle that would be thoroughly accepting of specific ecological needs and characteristics of specific places.

In short, the big picture of an international perspective needs the resolution of the peculiarities of place that can't be emphasized in a global viewpoint.

The second major international environmental conference was held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992. It was at Rio that the precautionary principle first became known to the public. Called principle 15, the precautionary principle provided that: “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation” (p.
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