Policy and Politics

Subject: Political
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 8
Word count: 2276
Topics: Public Policy, Environmental Issues, Government, Pollution


Concerns regard environmental pollution are not a twenty-first-century thing as many may think. They have been there for a long while only that they have become provoked during the present century. As such, environment conservation agendas are making headlines of different articles day in day out with more and more environmental conservation policies being enacted equally at the same rate. With this regard, it is worthwhile noting that many environmental policies are not sound as they may seem since they are corrupted by politics as argued. As such, the following discussion seeks to utilize Dryzek (2013) work, Jordan (1999) together with that of Stone (2012) in showing how politics plays a significant part in policy making and thus making environmental policies political and weak. Consequently, Dryzek and Schlosberg, while editing Mark Sagoff’s, Robert Peahlke’s and Marcel Wissenburg’s, states that there can never be policies that are independent of politics.  

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The Basic Ideas About Nature/Environment/Politics Presented in The Dryzek and Schlosberg Selections

Dryzek and Schlosberg reiterate that a majority of the humans currently present on Earth appreciates that nature has limited supply. That is opposed to what many people who existed before used to think. As such, the two continue to argue that while the ancient people used to believe that all natural things have an infinite supply, and thus utilized them in an uncaring manner, the present generation is living in fear due to the hard reality that nature’s supply is finite. Consequently, the selected articles state that the modern humans are living in somewhat hard times where their choices are strictly dictated by the fear of what they may cause to things with natural, hence almost extinct, supply. With this regard, the article offers the example of how human must mitigate their consumption and search for pleasure to safeguard nature’s gifts. For instance, Dryzek and Schlosberg talks of how the US Congress could not grant a license to an investor who sought to set a luxurious restaurant in the wilderness heritage based on their fear of depleting it. Such is said by the article to be contrary to many policymakers’ personal wishes as they would love to busk in the hotel where they can quench their thirst for luxury.  

Equally important, Dryzek and Schlosberg article appreciates environment as humans surrounding though it does not set a clear distinction between it and nature. As such, the two agree that similar to nature, the present humans’ environment is continuously being deprived of its ability to support humans and other lives on the Earth. Consequently, the article talks about how important setting meaningful environmental policies would be in safeguarding as well as sustaining today’s lives and that of the future generation. Additionally, the scholars point out how erroneous different policy setters have been about establishing policies that seek to safeguard environment as they end up lying towards their interests or misinformed ‘facts’ obtained through erroneous pieces of research. At the present rate of ‘hypocrisy,’ the article warns that humans will have no more environment to depend on as its supply is limited. With this regard, this article joins hands with many other environmentalists’ arguments that humans should limit their population and consumption to be sustained by the environment. Moreover, Dryzek and Schlosberg’s editorial casts doubts on whether future generations will have anything to enjoy if the current pace of environmental destruction is not controlled by initiating, say, some renewable process through approaches such as re-afforestation and afforestation. 

In the same token, the selected article focuses on the issue of how politics, more so the US politics are affecting the nation’s as well as the world’s environmental policies. For instance, Dryzek and Schlosberg points at how the Republicans, who are Liberalists, are directly opposed to concerns about climate change merely because their rivals, the Democrats who are capitalists, are supporting the fact that our current environment needs urgent protective measures. As such, the article narrates of how Liberalists openly support environmental destruction by remaining silent towards environmentally-harmful practices. However, the report claims that the Liberal environmentalists merely enact environmental laws that suit their personal agendas. For instance, the author talks about how it is possible for the greedy environmentalists to support their friends in undertaking dangerous ventures such as investments that expose humans and the environment into dangers. Consequently, the author explains such to be because of both external and internal political conflicts which he uses Pogo’s idea that “we have met the enemy and he is us” to explain. However, they, Dryzek and Schlosberg, also appreciates that there are good politics that can be exercised with respect to safeguarding our environment. As such, the article claims such to embrace the sharing of public goals and interest in devising environmental policies that are healthy and nonpartisan. Consequently, Sagoff, as featured in the selected article says that that leads to the existence of harmony between nature or environment and the society and establishes true citizenship. Moreover, he, Sagoff, reiterates that such is only possible if a society chooses to move far from poor politics and dangerously earned economic achievements. 

How the Themes Presented in The Reading Selections Connect with Themes in Stone’s Book

There is significant agreement between the themes present in the above selected article and those in Stone’s (2012) book regarding the manner in which politics affect environmental policies. As such, Stone, who has been a political scientist with vast experience in policing, as per van Ostaijen and Shivant (2015) maintains that there can exist policies that are independent of politics not unless policymakers chose to go by rationality. Consequently, Stone (2012) further reiterates that one of a majority of policymakers’ problem is viewing almost all issues in an objective manner. With this respect, Stone criticizes many of the 1980s, and some of today’s environmentalists’ view that climate change is majorly caused by humans’ overpopulation, which leads to over-consumption of natural resources. Stone refers this as a set of pollical framing that has challenged environmentalists for a while hence leading to bling policies. A simple show of how policymakers are swayed by political attachments, Stone explains how policies regarding disability have greatly been affected by a wrong definition of who people with disability are. Consequently, she corrects policymakers that disability is never an objective medical occurrence that is determined using pathological processes, as defined in scores of social policies, but rather it is as a result of social justice. She argues that disability is determined based on how a set of people feels that another set deserves help due to difference in creation or ability. Moreover, Stone blames many policymakers on being evidence-based as opposed to being interpretive. As such, she says that objectiveness by policy developers views all things as if they are fact fully acquired and that such is erroneous since there can never be a one-best-way of formulating policies. These, plus many more ‘politics are said by Stone to originate of humans’ intellectual and political struggles (Stone, 2012), which is well agreed by Dryzek and Schlosberg’s article. 

In the same token, the other agreement between Stone’s philosophy and that of Dryzek and Schlosberg is seen in her, Stone’s, attachment of policymaking with power. She calls these the paradox of power (Michael, 2014). Consequently, the differences in environmental policies witnessed between Liberalists and Capitalists as evident in Dryzek and Schlosberg’s work is a pure play of power. As mentioned before, the liberalists cannot agree with Democrats’ opinions and policies regarding nature and environmental conservation. As such, the two shows how the Democrats have been forced by time to change about environmental protection approaches since the 1970s to date while the liberalists have up to now maintained their status quo. Consequently, such explains the reason why there is division between the two sets of environmentalists even in today’s US as the two sets have chosen to maintain their political affiliations. Furthermore, Paul and John (2005) say that liberalists endorse environmental policies that do not touch on economic factors such as the manner in which world’s economy is stratified. Moreover, Dryzek and Schlosberg’s article also depicts some aspect of individual consumer paradox which also forms the basis of Stone’s criticism to the politicization of policymaking. In concurrence with Stone’s idea, Paul and John (2005) say that it is funny how liberal environmentalists keep on utilizing the mythical individual consumer calculations in devising environmental policies despite the fact that consumption patterns have been found to issues in addressing real ecological concerns. In summary, both Dryzek and Schlosberg and Stone (2012) agree about policy formulation that politics is part of how we form and analyze different policies.

How Do the Selections Reinforce, Or Deviate from Your Thinking About Environmentalism

My idea regarding environmentalism is based on Paul and John (2005) who states that the whole aspect is full of irony. As such, the present article by Dryzek and Schlosberg (n.d) reinforces my thinking of how politics have deviated environmentalists from realizing real goals as far as the formulation of favorable environmental policies is concerned. With this respect, my support for this article selection is profoundly influenced by the fact that scores of ecological policymakers hardly base their principles on political aspects as opposed to real facts constitute nonpartisan ideologies. For instance, the idea of blaming humans’ overpopulation and overconsumption seems to be a politicized way of handling environmental challenges. That is because a close view of the whole arguments presents a secret method of making the rich richer while the poor remain poor as argued by the selected article. As such, policies formulated to react to environmental problems resulting from overpopulation as well as overconsumption purely aims at reducing family sizes with the idea that such will have lesser pressure on natural resources. However, the politicized environmentalists who support this hardly appreciate that other factors will not remain constant even when the world population will reduce. For instance, humans’ earnings will arguably not reduce with a reduction in population size, and thus a smaller family will imply more savings which are purely making more money available to the haves. 

Moreover, it is worthwhile appreciating that while the haves receive the struggles’ money as their bankers, the capital, now in a pool, is then used by the rich to invest continuously. Sadly, such investments often include buying new plots of land for developmental programs that usually end up hurting the environment the more. Based on the above scenario, policies meant to save the environment by reducing world population thus turn fruitless as they merely shift the locus of harming our mother nature. Equally important, Rolf and Ingemar (2010) note that under such conditions, the haves also form the majority of policy formulators and thus their greed for investments through the utilization of money saved in their organization makes the insensitive in making reasonable environmental protecting rules. Furthermore, Michael (2014) and Janice (1989) talk of how the rich, who in many societies constitute the learned persons in power, and who formulate policies, enjoy life at the expense of the poor in the community. For instance, Dryzek and Schlosberg (n.d) say that while a majority of liberal environmentalists in the US live in neat, well-secured areas, the have-nots are the ones left to boarder dumpsites and abandoned mining areas where they face health risks from destroyed nature and environment. 

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In conclusion, the above discussion has shown that a majority of what people take as noble policies are not, based on the many politics that surround their formulation, interpretation, analysis, and application. Moreover, the above work has also presented different facts on the politicization of environmental policies and the attached effects, more so as applied to the US, through Stone (2012) account. As such, it is clear from Dryzek and Schlosberg (n.d) work that both liberal and democratic environmentalists have opposing views about environment conservation. With this respect, the former has been shown to be less affected by politics while the latter is profoundly influenced by petty politics when formulating environmental policies. Additionally, Guy’s (1989) idea on the politicization of policy formulation and interpretation as argued by Dryzek and Schlosberg (n.d) have further been supported by Stone’s work. Stone, who has been dramatically exposed to policing matters as a policing lecturer, has been shown by the above work to be tired of the petty politics surrounding policies to the point of recommending a change from policy science to policy studies. Such, she says, is in the bid to detach the act of policing from intellectual and political struggles that have over time challenged the free working of policymakers.         

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  1. Dryzek, J. & Schlosberg, D. (n.d). Debating the Earth, Second Edition. 
  2. Dryzek, J. S. (2013). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Guy, P. B. (1989). Book Reviews: American Politics–Policy Paradox and Political Reason. The American Political Science Review, 83(1): 304.
  4. Janice, T. L. (1989). Book Reviews: Politics and Policy Science. Public Administration Review, 49(6):566.
  5. Jordan, A. (1999). Debating the earth: The environmental politics reader. Environment, 41(8), 44. Michael, M. (2014). Sustainable Consumption – Three Paradoxes. Gaia, 23 (1): 201-208.
  6. Paul, W. & John, W. (2005). The Irony of Environmentalism: The Ecological Futility but Political Necessity of Lifestyle Change. Ethics & International Affairs; New York. 19(3): 77-89,119.
  7. Rolf, L. & Ingemar, E. (2010). Addressing Climate Change Democratically. Multi-Level Governance, Transnational Networks and Governmental Structures. Sustainable Development Sust. 18:32–41. 
  8. Stone, D. A. (2012). Policy paradox: The art of political decision making. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  9. Van Ostaijen, M. & Shivant, J. (2015). “Get those voices at the table!”: Interview with Deborah Stone. Policy Sciences. 48(1):127-133.
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