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The Environmental Movement
Transcript of The Environmental Movement
The Phenomenon emerged in the late 1960’s
Aimed to address post-materialist issues
Involved new forms of political organisation
Engaged in alternative modes of participation
Had different attitudes to the political system
Movements vs Parties
from Grassroots Democracy
to Electoral Party Prominence
The German Greens
1. Emergence of the movement
2. The German Greens
3. Parties vs Movements
4. Can Green be Blue?
5. Contemporary Green Movements
The Environmental Movement
Emergence of the Movement
Single issue vs encompassing ideology
Lobbying vs direct action
Through existing 'democratic' channels?
Hierarchy or horizontal?
Relation to 'old' left
Reclaim the Streets/ Road Protests
Criminal Justice Bill
United the "old" and new left
More than a single issue
Horizontal and direct action
Single issue but unites those from differing political perspectives
Exhausted all democratic means
Previously only lobbying
Now advocate direct action
Divestment from fossil fuels
Action from the Global South
Red and Green Tensions?
Occupation of the Vestas wind turbine factory in 2009 over the loss of 600 jobs
How far does solidarity go?
What is true environmentalism?
New Politics manifested itself as:
New Social Movements (environmentalism)
New Politics and Political Parties
Earlier political parties emerged from social movements of the 19th century
New social movements – could not be fully institutionalised in the same way:
1. Values of new social movements
2. Globalisation and the decline of the nation state
Political Parties tried to fix this, but with limited success
From late 1970’s, Green Parties were established in most Western European countries.
But faced problems dealing with post-material and increasingly transnational issues.
Nation States “Too big and too small”.
States implicated in generating the problems.
Four phases of political parties
Fourth phase: cartel party period
Decrease in ideological difference between political parties
Politics as ‘management’, self-referential
No competition to determine policy
Also seen in transnational institutions such as the EU
Democracy: social stability rather than social change
Katz and Mair, 1995
Whilst membership in political parties has decreased over recent years, environmentalist movements have seen an increase in membership, and an overall professionalisation.
Reflects shift in competence from political parties to ENGO’s to deal with certain issues, to fuel change, and to encourage solidarity and political engagement of individuals.
Transnational environmentalist movement considered to be one of the most significant pillars of an emerging transnational civil society (Van Der Heijden, 2002) eg Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, 350.org.
However, ENGOs are still somewhat limited in their abilities
Case Study – EU and
Trans-European Networks (TENs)
EU has a weak European Parliament (Cartel Party features)
Environmental lobby at EU level: substantial influence in EU politics
1990s: TENs, part of package of policies to encourage European integration.
Weak EP only succeeded in guaranteeing inclusion of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) (ineffective!)
ENGOs lobbied for legislative creation of Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA)
In response to this, the EC and EP developed a proposal to include SEAs in TEN project.
Council of Ministers rejected proposal (defence of national sovereign power?)
ENGOs vs. PPs - conclusions
ENGOs have emerged as prominent actors in transnational environmental politics. Their transnational nature enables them to deal with global environmental problems better than political parties can.
However, although they succeed in putting environmental issues on the political agenda, they cannot fill all of the functions of a state.
Whilst in some respects the declining power of the nation state has left political parties less capable to deal with global environmental problems, states still retain enough sovereign power to quell the efforts of ENGOs within transnational institutions, in order to defend their national interests.
-Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
late '70s the heterogeneous citizen's movement
some Marxist got involved in the daily concerns
rather than exclusively abstract rationalization
that is characteristic of the Marxist thought and
intellectual material dialectics which dominated
the '68 revolts
tolerance, compromise, possibility to unify diverse perspectives
an alternative movement to address practical needs of
an alternative culture, promoting:
renewable-resources and energy systems,
as one of the founding member Petra Kelly once put it:
in 25 years of time the German Greens transformed
from a 'anti-party-party'
into a government coalition partner
for the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag)
federal elections: 5% hurdle to join the Bundestag
1983 managed to get 5.6% votes and entered with 27 seats
1984 European elections 8.2% 7 seats into the EU Parliament
–> this has been seen as the start of the consolidation
of the Greens in the
national party and parliamentary system
1998-2005 Red-Green coalition government
rejects all forms of exploitation
of nature, individuals, social groups, and countries.
It is committed to
at all levels.
It encourages a
rich cultural life
within a society, and it honors the inner growth that leads
to wisdom and compassion.
Green politics, in short, is the political manifestation of the
cultural shift to the new paradigm”
(Capra, Spretnak, 1984, Preface)
Emerged in 1960s, as wave of new left movements rolled across the Western world.
Origins in the conservation movement.
Conservation movement late 19th century to 1950s; groups such as WWF, RSPB.
But the environmental movement was different to the conservation movement:
it centred its objectives on environmental quality and ecology rather than efficient resource management.
It was also a much more widespread, mass movement than earlier efforts had been.
Groups associated with the environmental movements: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth.
“A parliamentary party which could possibly restrict the ability of parliament to form a majority through
and hence prevents the alternation of parties
between opposition and government, may
in the party system
and in the government,
and contribute to the
destruction of the democratic
legitimacy of the political system
(Veen in Kolinsky, 1989, pp.57)
Green can be Blue
Steadily grew throughout ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s as new environmental concerns arose, and awareness of damage to the environment grew.
After WWII, across Western Europe and America the standard of living was on the rise - caused by and related to greater industrialisation, use of new chemicals/chemical plants, more highways, industrial plants - increasingly people came into contact with such ecological disruption.
Also, more emphasis began to be placed on leisure time and recreation, so the importance of quality of outdoor spaces, fresh air, etc became apparent.
New concerns developed such as worries about the finite nature of natural resources.
Setting the scene for
a new movement...
Appeals to more traditional conservative ideology: Conservation, preservation
- ‘Family values’ ‘small is beautiful’ harking back to a lost time
More self-interested than Left environmentalists.
Not In My Backyard!
Success of early campaigns
Such early actions captured a climate of activism.
Gave momentum to the movement nationally as well as internationally as the movement spread.
However, it was still just a ‘Western’ movement, as with all other New Left movements of the time.
“the only reason
the time has come
Impact on the individual and local communities
Climate change is indiscriminate
Will make environmental activists in unlikely places
“common sense conservatives”
The Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism
“It’s not easy being a green conservative,” he writes, “but if we conservatives want to be true to our principles, we have to move in that direction.” - Dreher
Direct Action, grassroots protest
“The environmental movement was popular and mass based; it arose far less from the institutional leaders of society and far more from the general public as people in many places and many walks of life sought to enhance and protect their environment. These popular demands gave rise to legislation, but they also stimulated much more public influence through the courts and in administrative decision-making.”
Samual P. Hays, Journal of Forest History, 1981.
Can you be green and blue?
Could capitalism ever incorporate environmental concern on a world of finite resources?
Individual lifestyle change
'Ecological modernisation' - the technological fix
'Sustainable development' - "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Brundtland Report
FoE, 1971 UK campaign: placing 1500 Schweppes bottles at the front door of the company’s head office in London, to demand that the government and industry set up a nationwide recycling network.
Succeeded in gaining mass support and making front page news.
Earth Day (US) in 1970 led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990 Earth Day became a global event, marking actions in 141 countries, boosting recycling efforts worldwide, and paving the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Different to other left movements of the time, which remained as protest/extra-parliamentary movements, as it gave rise to several new political parties.
Carter (2007) argues that since its emergence, the environmental movement has tended towards reform over radical opposition to the system.
Attempts to distance itself from any radical roots or associations, replacing radical or unconventional means with methods of working within the system.
New political parties, change in tactics
The Green Parties
Gave rise to new ‘green’ parties; a 'new kind of party'.
German greens, Die Grunen.
Founded in 1980.
Rose through 1980s, entered coalition 1998-2005.
Finish Green League.
Founded in 1987.
1995-2002, and from 2007.
Belgian green party (Groen)
Founded in 1982.
Had seats in government 1999-2003.
France, Les Verts (merged in 2010 to become Europe Ecology - The Greens).
Formed in 1984.
First gained seats in 1997.
UK, Green Party
Originally formed in 1973 as People.
1st MP in parliament in 2010.
2 MEPs since 1999.
Varying success at gaining seats and influencing policy, and varying effects on the environmental movements within their respective countries.
Success of Green Parties?
“fundamental oppositionists/ fundis”:
the integrity of their position compromised
and eventually destroyed by coalition building
in favor of a coalition under specific conditions
The movement very much started off as a grassroots process, using extra-parliamentary means and lots of direct action.
First ‘Earth Day’ on April 22nd, 1970 (US) marked the first nationwide, coordinated attempt at large-scale awareness raising.
The Limits to Growth
Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III
The early actions of Greenpeace (then known as the 'Don't Make a Wave Committee') in the 1970s gained much publicity and support.
Sent a chartered ship to Alaska to protest the United States' testing of nuclear weapons in the area.
[in relation to the
party CDU that is
associated with the
Petra Kelly wears a
flower helmet during
a peaceful sit-in at the
U.S. military basis
during a blockade of a
U.S. military base for
October 25, 1983
Gerhard Schröder Joschka Fischer
1998 celebrating victorious elections
as partners in the
Red-Green coalition government
Schroeder (SPD) and
Fischer (B90/ Gruene) 2005
→ for the first time since WW2
German military participation
in a NATO operation in Kosovo 1999
Fischer justified this in fear of a
Serbian genocide from Serbian against
Kosovo Albanians despite of the Greens
determination to non-violence
Joschka Fischer covered in red point
thrown at him at Die Gruenen Press
Conference about the Kosovo War,
May 13 1999
Gruenen Press Conference
Otto Schily, Petra Kelly,
and Reiner Trampert
in relation to the
March 7, 1983
Joschka Fischer adjuration into
the Federal Parliament as
minister to represent the
German County Hessen
12. Dezember 1985
The Green Top Candidates posing for party pictures for the 2012 elections holding a sign saying 'the future wins!'
Are the grass-roots boots forgotten after all...?
Themes and Questions
Single issue vs encompassing ideology
Tactics for change - lobbying vs direct action
Red & Green tensions?
1. The movement started with radical direct action but has tended towards more mainstream politics
2. The German Greens started as a protest party and was assimilated
3. Green movements have seen a break from old left movements because of post-materialistic values and some can't be institutionalised in the same way
4. As green movements have become mainstream the right have incorporated aspects
5. Direct action is the best!!
The rise of 'new politics'
Is it fair to say there has been a decline in green movements and protest since the parties emerged/over the course of the environmental movement?
Can environmentalism work within capitalism?