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The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice$
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Michael Maniates and John M. Meyer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014366

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014366.001.0001

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A Democratic Politics of Sacrifice?

A Democratic Politics of Sacrifice?

(p.13) 2 A Democratic Politics of Sacrifice?
The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice

John M. Meyer

The MIT Press

This chapter illustrates and presents different perspectives of “sacrifice” in the context of climate change and environmental sustainability which pose the question of whether wealthy consumer societies should make sacrifices to thwart the unpleasant consequences of climate change and achieve environmental sustainability. Environmentalists differ on this notion of sacrifice. Some believe that considerable sacrifice is important, but the consumers of such societies will hardly practice this willingly as they are self-satisfied, apathetic, and ignorant to change; and some believe that sacrifice is not necessary as technological advancements can help achieve a sustainable society painlessly. The author further elaborates on how democratic politics of sacrifice are possible and important. Self-interest in the contemporary discourse of sacrifice is examined closely, and it is argued that self-interest is the core of sacrifice.

Keywords:   sacrifice, environmental sustainability, environmentalists, self-interest, consumer societies

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