Environmental Philosophy

See also the more detailed Environment issue statement.

The following is towards an Environmental Philosophy of the Green Party of Canada similar in style to the Economic Philosophy which explains the party's stance on Economics.


Most people are aware that the Earth and all of its components upon which mankind relies are being rapidly degraded, consumed and destroyed. To name but a few of the more serious worries, there are grave concerns over climate change, air and water quality, soil depletion and species loss. These many concerns have one aspect in common; they are all caused by humans.

Greens realize that we need new ecological, social, political and cultural visions. A new environmental ethic and associated environmental economics are required. Societies have to be ecologically sustainable for the survival of all species on Earth, including the human one.

To return the Earth, our only home, to it's vital and flourishing state,
which is a requirement for human well-being, human society must become sustainable. There is no sustainable anything (forestry, fishery, farming, manufacturing, you name it) in an unsustainable society!

The environment subcommittee of Platform 2005 therefore makes the following suggestions, which are in fact requirements, if human society is to have a future:

1. All human decisions must be made with the realization that the Earth, with its water, air, soil and web of life, is our only home. Human well-being depends on maintaining and restoring a vital, flourishing Earth.

2. How a potential human decision affects the Earth must be our constant concern; decisions and processes which cause irreversible and/or undesirable changes to the environment must end.

3. In appraising decisions, the precautionary principle, the reverse onus principle, the weight of evidence principle and the do-least-harm principle should be used.

4. The environment sub-committee believes that the following principles must govern all aspects of a Green society, in both its public and private aspects, and guide the decisions, policy and platform of the Green Party of Canada:

  • precautionary principle = if you're not sure of the results, don't do it.
  • reverse onus principle = the proponent must prove safety; not the public prove that harm has occurred.
  • weight of evidence principle = even if evidence is not complete, or if there is a minor amount of doubt, proceed in the direction of safety.
  • do-least-harm principle = if faced with several alternatives find the one that does the least harm to try first; see harms reduction
  • polluter pays principle = when any of the above are bypassed it shifts all liability to the polluter. Together, polluter pays and the precautionary principle are called 4P.

(these are all on the relevant policy terms )