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Chapter 9

SOC 2280 Harper Fletcher Chapter 9

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SOC 2280
Scott Brandon

1 Harper and Fetcher Chapter Reviews Chapter 8: Environmentalism: Ideology and Collective Action - environmentalism is both ideology and action - environmentalism is beliefs used to justify change - environmentalism is also purposive action intended to change the way people relate to the environment - includes individual action but more importantly it means the collective action - this emerges when problems are defined and framed ideologically to mobilize people in collective action - successful movements require a number of factors: - some scientific support for the validation of claims - the existence of activists who can frame the package for journalist and opinion leaders - media attention that defines the problem as important and dramatizes its symbolic and visual terms - the emergence of institutional sponsors who can ensure legitimacy and continuity of the problem American Environmentalism - Robert Brule identified 8 different environmental discourses that shaped different wavs and competing manifestations of environmentalism throughout the US - 1. Preservation (1830s) - nature is important to support both the physical and spiritual life of humans, hence the continued existence of wilderness and wildlife undisturbed by human action is necessary (wilderness Society, Sierra Club) - 2. Conservation (1860s) - Natural resources should be significantly managed from a utilitarian perspective to provide for the greatest good for people over the longest period of time (Society of American Foresters) - 3. Wildlife Management (1890s) - The scientific management of ecosystems can ensure stable populations of wildlife, viewed as a crop from which excess population can be harvested, particularly in recreation and sport (Ducks unlimited) - 4. Reform Environmentalism (1870s, flourished in 1960s) - Human health is linked to ecosystem conditions like water quality and air pollution. To Maintain a healthy human society, ecologically responsible actions are required, which can be developed and implemented through the natural sciences (Environmental Defense Fund) - 5. Environmental Justice (1970s) - Ecological problems exist because of the structure of society and its imperatives, and the benefits of environmental exploitation accrue to the wealthy while the poor and marginal bear most of the costs. Hence, the resolution of environmental problems require fundamental social change (citizen’s clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste) - 6. Deep Ecology (1980s) - The richness and diversity of life has intrinsic values, so human life is privileged only to the extent of satisfying basic needs. Maintenance of biodiversity requires decreasing the human impact (Earth First) - 7. Ecofeminism (1980s) - Ecosystem abuse is rooted in androcentric ideas and institutions. Relations of complementary rather than domination are required to resolve conflicts between culture/nature, human/nonhuman and male/female relationships (World Women in Development and Environment) 2 - 8. Ecospiritualism (1990s) - Nature is god’s creation and humans have moral obligation to keep and tend the creation, including biodiversity and unpolluted ecosystems (National Council of Churches) - manifest destiny - is a moral and economic rationale for exploiting natural resources, assuming that nature and that human inventiveness and technology can transcend any resource problem - in effect, the resources of nature are infinitely abundant for human use - aka dominant Western views Early American Environmental Movements, 1870 - 1950 - preservation and conservation were the first manifestations of American environmentalism, foreshadowing many contemporary environmental concerns - destruction of America’s forests and wildlife in 19th century by the lumber industry was the greatest public concern - clear cutting of the forests had many environmental and physical affects on the population - ie. the famous Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania which was attributed to clear cutting as clear cut soil does not hold water - created a movement where the effort was to curb the abuses of private ownership ad to institute scientific management of the nation’s environmental resources - conservationism was given intellectual and ideological shape by the writings of three persons - George Perkins Marsh - Man and Nature - identified the negative impact of human economic activity on forests and rangeland - documented the the connections between cutting of forests and the erosion of soil, between the draining of marshes and ames and the decline of animal life, between the forced decline of one species and alterations in the population of others and even between human activity and climates - John Muir - reacted angrily to the anthropocentrism of those who saw humans as above nature - nature and wilderness were a spiritual experience, and he saw people at their best as part of that spiritual whole - campaigned tirelessly for the for the preservation of wilderness areas from human intrusion - the notion that the world was made especially for the uses of man was an enormous conceit - Aldo Leopold - agreed with Muir, but his intellectual achievement was blending of ecology and ethics - he saw the land itself as a living organism - people are the only species that can threaten nature as a whole - if we destroy nature we destroy ourselves - we are but one part of an interactive global ecosystem - the appeal of conservatism was strongest among the upper and upper middle class who were most concerned about outdoor recreation, the shrinkage of public domain and the destruction of forests - conservationists sought to use legal and political power of the state to protect forest lands from exploitation (Yellowstone Act) 3 - a tough balance between preservation of wilderness and utilitarian use of natural resources American Environmentalism Since the 1950s - by 1950s, conservationism was an established social force in American life - the 1970s transformed it into a different and greatly expanded environmental movement - this movement was called reform environmentalism and was a complex set of idea - it viewed problems as: - being more complex is origin, often stemming from new technologies - having delayed compile and difficult to detect effects - having consequences for human health and well being as well for natural systems - environmental problems wee increasingly viewed as threats to the total quality of life - new American environmentalism had important and ideological foundations - Silent Spring - 1962 - marine biologists Rachel Carson - an angry and uncompromising analysis of the toxic effects of modern pesticides on every form of life - focused on politics of science and the exclusion of the public from know what risks they were being exposed to by the development and use of synthetic materials - helped raise public awareness of the ecological impact of pesticides and that awareness helped pass the Pesticide Act of 1972 - The Population Bomb - popular book that forced the issue of overpopulation into public consciousness in an apocalyptic way, claiming that the battle to feed all humanity is over - 1968, zoologist Garret Hardin discovered Malthusian ideas - Earth Day 1970 - Senator Gaylord Nelson, proposed a kind of nationwide environmental teach in on college campuses - he received a federal grant from government agencies to organize the event - the popular response was overwhelming and an estimated 20 million people participated - represented a surprising demonstration of the depth of feeling about environmentalism Reform Environmentalism and the Environmental Lobby - a national network of transformed environmental movement organizations came to dominate the movements presence in Washington, know as the group of 10 - some engaged in lobbying, some developed the expertise and scientific capability for educational programs and advocacy research, some specialized in litigation to shape the development and enforcement of environmental policy and some purchased land to set aside for wilderness purposes Reform Environmentalism, Public opinion and Legislation - these national environmental movement organizations channeled and amplified environmental awareness and concerns among broad segments of the population, particularly about the hazards connected with life in industrial society - people began to be willing to pay modest taxes to address pollution problems - the growth of such pro environmental attitudes can be illustrated by global warming 4 - polls showed that the majority of the public had accepted environmentalists’ definition of environmental issues as problems and had become sympathetic to environmental protection but only a minority saw them as among the nation’s most important problems - in the 1970s the EPA started to require Environmental impact Statements of every federal agency project and had the power to approve or veto projects - environmental legislation usually included so called hammer clauses intended to produce strict compliance through mandatory deadlines, explicit and detailed procedural prescription, provisions for citizen participation and citizen legal standing to sue agencies - NEPA and EPA helped to create a transformed new era of administrative law, characterized by expanding participation of environmental and nontraditional groups in administrative decision making - this influence spread to other agencies concerned with environmental issues such as the Department of Energy - this period of expanding environmental protection did not last - although the environmental regulatory state was not dismantled, no environmental legislations was passed since 1990 The Limits of Reform - reform environmentalism became the dominant ideology frame for American environmentalism - early reform environmentalism focused mainly on pollution and health related concerns, while later expanding concerns to global ecological problems such as the proliferation of endocrine disrupters, biodiversity loss and global warming - most dramatic success was in 1970s - reform environmentalism was primarily bases on the writings of natural and physical science and did not examine social or political causes of ecological degradation - this obscured the social driving forces of environmental degradation - problem is not that their analysis was wrong but rather it was partial - reform environmentalism was unable to develop a meaningful political vision of how to create a more sustainable society and without such a vision, it was politically naive and perhaps irrelevant - environmental reform came in the form of piecemeal efforts, continually mired in technical and legal debates and carried out within a limited community of lawyers and scientists - reform environmentalism fostered practices that limited its capacity for political mobilization Environmental Justice and Grassroots Movements - reform environmental organizations in their Washington offices too the soft political road of negotiation, compromising with others about the amount of pollution or environmental disruption that was acceptable - but people living in polluted communities took the hard political road of confrontation, demanding not that the dumping of hazardous material be slowed but that it be stopped - local environmental activism is stimulated by clear and present community health hazards rather than abstract concerns such as protecting wilderness areas or declining biodiversity - grassroot organizations have been triggered by toxic waste dumps, radioactive wastes, nuclear plants and the building of garbage incinerators - local groups tend to document a hazard and link it to a current or potential health problem 5 - the key organizing frame of such movements is environmental justice, which integrated social with ecological concerns - environmental issues are seen as inherently linked to social justice concerns like self determination, human rights, and the disproportionate impacts of environmental hazards on worker and family we
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