William Patterson

As defined in section 1.2, an ideology has three core components: a description of the social world as it currently is, an evaluation of that social world, and a plan of action to change the social world to what the adherent believes to be a more desirable state. Or, as Millard succinctly put it, an ideology is “a configuration of concepts that describes and assesses the social world with an eye to mobilizing people for action” (Millard, 2023, pp. 8-9). In Green ideology, these three elements revolve around human and societal interaction with the environment. Adherents of this ideology (often called “Greens”) describe and evaluate how human society is affecting the environment and what implications this has for the Earth itself and the human beings and other animals that live upon it. Greens then propose solutions that can be carried out by individuals and society at large to better preserve the environment for future generations.

In some countries, primarily in Europe, this ideology has spurred the establishment of Green parties. To establish political success, these parties have found it necessary to expand their platforms beyond the single issue of the environment. This has manifested differently in varying cultural and political contexts, demonstrating that Green ideology can be difficult to place on the right/left ideological spectrum. The solutions proposed by Greens typically involve government interventionism, which is often spurned by those on the right. The environment is also a shared resource and one Greens believe should be equally accessible by all. This has an element of egalitarianism that tends to identify Greens naturally with the left. Greens also typically value environmental protection over economic growth and individual freedom when such growth and freedom lead to environmental harm. While Green ideology aligns with the left’s view of the importance of community and the need for collective action, it also espouses values more traditionally identified with the right, such as individual responsibility. Additionally, some Greens believe that market forces are the best way to protect the environment, which is consistent with a rightward political identity. In most cases, we find Green parties to be identified with the political left and to join political coalitions with other leftist parties. But this has been by no means universal, and Green parties have been diverse enough to be found on both the left and the right.


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Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2023 by William Patterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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