Environmental democracy: your environment, your rights

Imagine getting together with your neighbors to design a network of cycle paths that would improve everyday life in your city – sounds good doesn’t it? Or imagine the simple fact of being kept informed of plans for a new motorway near your home. Or what if your water supply became unsafe to drink due to pesticides used for farming – wouldn’t you want to be sure that appropriate action was taken to put things right?



Our environment is changing all the time as the ways we live, travel, produce and consume goods evolve. This ranges from the construction of new housing and transport infrastructure to waste and water treatment plants, and from shifting technologies in energy and industry to more intensive forms of agriculture to meet societies’ needs.

All of these changes and developments have an impact on our natural environment. If planned well, and in cooperation with the people that may be affected by them, developments like these can make our lives, and the lives of future generations, better. Sometimes though, development can lead to serious environmental problems and irreversible degradation. This can put people’s health, safety and quality of life at serious risk.

So, next time you step outside, think about the environment that surrounds you, and remember that it is your environment. That doesn’t mean it can’t change, but that with help from the Aarhus Convention, you have an active role to play in deciding if and how it changes – for the benefit of present and future generations.

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