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Scientific Support on the Topic: Environmental and Conservation Policy as Social Policy – Concepts and Future Challenges

Environment and nature conservation policy is also social policy. This statement might seem trivial but it is highly relevant when taking into account the increasing and ever more dramatic effects of failing environmental policy (eg. climate policy) and the profound social changes needed to cope with these challenges. These changes need to go above and beyond the reach of traditional environmental policy. Environment and nature conservation policy – even the failing ones - will inevitably lead to social policy. For environment and nature conservation management this results in social design standards. Sociological and sociopolitical questions in addition to technical expertise are becoming increasingly relevant when addressing these challenges. This extended viewpoint has already played an important role in discussions on sustainable development in which issues of inter and intra generational justice as well as participation and democratic processes are addressed.

Especially relevant for the development of environmental policy as a company policy is the transformation discourse initiated by the WBGU, especially the idea which was developed of a “new social contract” which includes a fundamental change in culture. This cannot be dictated and implemented top-down but must be co-developed and supported “bottom up”. So it’s no longer just about implementation issues but a “collaborative process where society comes together to cope with the future”.

IÖW Project Team

  • Dr. Eugen Pissarskoi
  • Thomas Vogelpohl