The Finnish green party Vihreä Liitto and the German Die Grünen have both undergone a significant ideological change that occurred mostly in the 1990’s. Before that, their political thinking revolved mostly around radical ideals of recognizing human-nature companionship over individual economic liberties. They even demanded the rundown of marked-based environmental politics for the sake of ecological balance and a radically altered understanding of well-being, with the individualistic freedoms of consumption and/or production restricted and subordinated to environmental obligations.
In the 1990’s, however, both green parties changed their ideological position towards a more market-friendly, individualistic, and anthropocentric position, emphasizing consumerism and green economic growth. Meanwhile, demands for the rundown of growth-oriented politics became virtually extinct. Looking for reasons behind this change, the analysis has to expand further than the level of nation states. Changing value system of urban youth, European-wide ideological discussion, and even global economic structures all played a part in this change.
Risto-Matti Matero (MA, M.Soc.Sci) is a doctoral student at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is working on his dissertation about the belief systems and history of Finnish and German green parties. His goal is to integrate aspects of political history, environmental history, and the history of ideas and beliefs on a transnational scale.
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