Germany and other democracies are facing growing scepticism towards their institutions. Environmental and sustainability policies specifically need to be legitimised, as they aim to transform societies and ways of life. Often, these transformation efforts meet with scepticism towards democratic, science-based policies and the associated participation procedures. The project "Environmental Policy in a Dialogue – Environment/Populism/Democracy" aims at involving social groups into a future-oriented dialogue that are distant from the environment and sustainability topics, not interested in participation and display populist tendencies.
To this end, the project develops and tests innovative participation and communication formats led by adelphi and in cooperation with partner organisations. The aim is to establish a dialogue with the project’s target groups who act as “door openers” for critical and constructive conversation on sustainability issues and their relevance to society as a whole. Innovative formats should contribute to strengthening the legitimacy of environmental and sustainability policy, promote trust in democratic institutions and help provide answers to the challenges of populism. The project expands the range of instruments available to decision-makers to integrate hard-to-reach groups in participation processes and to find a constructive way of dealing with populist attitudes. Furthermore, the project aims to advance the scientific discussion through academic publications and to connect different research communities. In addition, adelphi advises the Ministry for the Environment (BMUV) on current issues related to the project.