Climate emergency and the future of democracy

Robyn Eckersley smiles against a white background.

Robin Eckersley

Anushka Chakrabarti | July 12, 2023

The final Possible Worlds lecture — the sixth in the series — was delivered by Robyn Eckersley, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Melbourne and a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Eckersley joined the UCLA community on May 24 to present a lecture, “Climate Emergency and the Future of Democracy,” which attracted attendees both online and in person.

“The Possible Worlds lectures bring big thinkers who are going to challenge us to think about the state of the world and the challenges we face in regards to climate change,” said Alex Stern, dean of humanities. “I think many of us know what those are, but there are a lot of questions about how can we actually respond to them, and how can we move toward climate justice and being more of a green planet in every way.”

Eckersley said she hopes to use her background in research on this subject to encourage people to consider these important questions.

“For about 30 years, I’ve been exploring the relationship between liberal democracy and the quest for environmental protection broadly, including climate protection, and I’ve written a lot about it from a theory point of view,” Eckersley said. “So I’m using my focus to raise some new questions about tinfoil politics — challenges that liberal democracy is poorly designed to address because of its short-termism.”

Eckersley’s lecture was followed by a Q&A moderated by Alex Hall, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, director of the Center for Climate Science at UCLA and interim director of UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

A collaborative effort between the Division of Humanities at UCLA and the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute, Possible Worlds was created to invite today’s most imaginative intellectual leaders and creators to discuss a range of issues that relate to current challenges and factors in human progress.

View the entire Possible Worlds lecture by Robyn Eckersley on YouTube.