Campaign for Direct Democracy GB

Citizens' Direct Democracy to rescue environment and climate

Psychological aspects of large-scale dangers such as climate change (1) or war with weapons of mass destruction (2, 4) have been studied.

A good and probably healthy way to cope with a problem or threat is to find an effective way to respond to or deal with it.

By adding to our indirect "representative" democracy some methods or "tools" of citizen-led direct democracy we could compel governments to act more responsibly. A 2017 article (3) "Can direct democracy offer a third way to meet the climate challenge?" refers to the prevalent lethargy of governments (we could add, commonly corruption). An example is given of a citizens' assembly in Ireland which made recommendations for "sharply enhanced climate action". To be more effective, it must be possible for citizens' proposals to go to legally binding ballot of the whole electorate.

Examples with citizen-initiated referendum.

Nowadays in Germany several Lands (regions of the federation) have quite user-friendly direct democracy which enables citizens to propose or veto laws, to force parliaments to debate law proposals, and to call a ballot of the whole electorate which causes the government to change course. Across the country several pro-environmental proposals have been put forward in this way. For example, recently in Bavaria (not known for hippies and freaky environmentalists) there has been a highly successful citizens' initiative, presented in the form of a draft law, aiming to regulate agriculture and protect countryside nature (Dubbed "Bee initiative" but much broader).

The INIREF campaign proposes the introduction of citizen-initiated referendum at all levels of government in the UK and our countries. A brief introduction is here and the basic idea outlined here

1. The rise of eco-anxiety and how to come to terms with climate change

2. Macpherson M. J. with E. Fromberg and K. Boehnke. Environmental destruction and nuclear war threat as macrosocial stress. Paper in German. Umweltzerst÷rung und Atomkriegsdrohung als makrosozialer Stress. PP (Politische Psychologie) Aktuell, 1991, 10(1-2), S.42-55.

3. Can direct democracy offer a third way to meet the climate challenge? John Gibbons 10 Nov 2017

4. Macpherson M.J. et al. Publications arising from PSAMRA's polemology and human ecology programme.

Democra@cy Forum

The Independent web site