Environmental Citizenship, Natural Resource Governance and Transforming Politics of Sustainability
Faculty of Social Sciences and Regional Studies University of Joensuu Joensuu, Finland
By focussing on the intersection of the conceptions of environmental citizenship and natural resource governance, this paper seeks to build a framework for analysing transformations in citizenship participation in the sustainability of the use of natural resources. The view that participation would take place within communities where people live is challenged by the perspectives of citizenship according to which people would participate in the politics of sustainability across localities. It has been argued that citizenship involvement should be seen to occur through connections across ecological space.
The paper specifically addresses the issue of participation in the politics of forest utilisation. Forest utilisation is taken to mean commercial use of timber resources and forest conservation for touristic purposes alike. In more detail, the paper focuses on public procurement policies and forest certification systems that both have been spreading rapidly across Europe. Distinctions are made in terms of different forms of citizen participation. The ways in which these forms are present in the politics of forest utilisation are analysed. The impacts of the transformations in the sphere of environmental politics for understanding citizenship are explored. While nation states do play important roles, partnerships between businesses and non-governmental organisation have become increasingly important regarding the politics of forest environments. Consequently, the processes of citizen participation are transformed along two main lines: while environmental politics are spreading through networks, they also result in new territorialized forms of environmental management. These developments seem to lead simultaneously, on one hand, towards more homogenised and, on the other hand, uneven environmental policies and politics.