How and through which mechanisms have environmental movements in Europe affected politics and policies? Introduction:
Environmental movement is a broad network of people and organization engaged in a collective action in pursuit of environmental benefits (Rootes, 1992:2). The fundamental assumption is that environmental movement’s influence and strength is mediated by social context and natural resources (Ion Bogdan, 2011). Environmental movements can affect various policy making decisions and the politics involved in it. Environmental movements can affect policy making decision is because of the support it gets from majority of the public, funding, professionalization, etc. Environmental movements originate from Environmental groups. Environmental pressure groups (EPG’s) are probably the most popular in terms of publicity and environmental concern (Carter, 2007). It is no doubt that environmental movement has been most effective in countries like UK where there is no successful green party (Carter, 2007). Environmental movements can begin for various reasons. 1950 saw the emergence of conservation movement with its focus on wildlife all across the world. In the European countries the conservation movement for the UK was Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and for Germany it was Naturschutzbund Deutsch land (NABU) (Carter, 2007). Between the 1970’s and the 1980’s there was an anti-nuclear movement which turned the public against nuclear power, influenced party to change their position on nuclear power and facilitated the rise of green parties in Europe (Robert, 1984). In this essay we will see more about the anti-nuclear movement in Germany, the anti-road movement in the UK and various other environmental movements in Europe and how these movements have affected the politics and policies. Anti-Nuclear Movement in Germany:
The anti-nuclear movement has existed in Germany since the early 1970’s. The reason for an anti-nuclear movement to start in Germany was because of some features of nuclear power, its safety and the widely recognized waste disposal of the nuclear waste. Wolfgang said that the dangers and costs of disposal of nuclear waste could possibly make it necessary to forego the development of nuclear energy (Wolfgang, 1990). In 1971 the German government mentioned that Wyhl a place in the south western corner of Germany was a possible site for a nuclear power station. In the following years, there were signs of protest from the local farmers and people who lived there. But these small protests had no impact on the politicians or the planners. In 1975 official orders were given to start building the Nuclear power plant (Walter, 1986). The day after the official orders local people occupied the site as a sign of protest. These local people were removed from the site by police using brute force (Walter, 1986). This use of brute force by the police was telecasted to the entire world (Wolfgang, 1990). The rough treatment of the local people was largely condemned and made the rest of the local people more determined. Seeing the rough treatment, some of the local police refused to take part (Jim, 1982). The nearby university town of Freiburg came to support the local people, seeing the rough treatment of the local people in television. In February 23rd about thirty thousand people re-occupied the Wyhl site and because of this the plans to remove them were abandoned by the state government and on 21st march 1975 administrative court withdrew the construction licence for the plant (Wolfgang, 1990). The plant was never built and the land was made a natural reserve (Wolfgang, 1990). This is how the Anti-nuclear movement in Germany evolved and this success story in Wyhl became an inspiration for the other nuclear opposition movements in the rest of Europe and North America (Wolfgang, 1990). Anti-Road Movement in UK (Earth First!):
Earth First! Is one of the most controversial and well known green movements in...
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* Derek Wall (1999), Earth First! And Anti-Roads movement, Routledge, pp. 59-61.
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* Ian Bogdan Vasi (2011), Winds of Change, Oxford scholarship online.
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* Robert Benford (1984), The Anti-Nuclear movement (Book review) American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 89, No. 6, (May 1984), pp. 1456-1458.
* Walter C Patterson (1986). Nuclear Power Penguin Books, p. 113.
* Wolfgang Rudig (1990). Anti-nuclear Movements: A World Survey of Opposition to Nuclear Energy, Longman, p. 63.
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