No. 14




The political dimension of sustainability

18 December 2006


RiTo No. 14, 2006

  • Marju Lauristin

    adjunct professor of social communication, University of Tartu

Attempts to introduce in Estonia the ethos of a Nordic-like compassionate state has not fallen on especially receptive ground.

Our actions with regard to our social environment are like those taken by a little-educated peasantry living hand to mouth who lack the ability or do not desire to restrict the consequences of personal selfishness or keep the spiritual environment from becoming contaminated. Even though there is discussion in Estonia of all these problems, the lack of a holistic vision is creating increasing public dissatisfaction with how Estonia is developing. In the opinion of the writer, this vision should be by its nature a socio-ecological one, informed by holistic natural, social, economic and cultural environment that would ensure the continuing vitality of growth of the Estonian people in the longer term. This vision can only be formed proceeding from the principle that the coping power of human societies is ultimately determined by as stringent a set of rules as the ones that must be taken into account when it comes to the preservation of natural ecosystems. We can see human interactions and societies also in terms of renewable and non-renewable resources, pollution and capacity for self-purification, external factors and internal sustainability. The first requirement for change is the giving up of the monopoly role that the ruling parties have enjoyed with regard to decisions affecting the longer term development of Estonia, and replacing it with a consensus-based mechanism for developing strategic decisions based on involving civic society. The hub of this system could be, for instance, the so-called future committee of the Riigikogu, responsible for laying the groundwork for strategic decisions.

Full article in Estonian