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Call for a new age of green localism

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Monday, 10 October 2011 16:58


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A new book by researchers from Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York argues that ‘green localism’ can convince people to embrace action to secure environmental change.

They say that in an age of fiscal austerity, resource scarcity and climate change, a greater focus on grass-roots movements could re-engage a public that is sometimes disinterested and suspicious of environmental issues.

Environmentalism Since 1945 by Dr Gary Haq and Alistair Paul of Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, charts how green issues have influenced politics, economy, science and culture in the post-war period.

The belief that the environment should be championed, looked after and protected has become widely accepted by nearly all aspects of society as the global speed and scale of resource use and environmental destruction has been recognized and its impacts understood.

Dr Gary Haq, lead author, says:

“The widely expressed assumption that ‘green’ is good can lead us to conclude that we are all environmentalists now.  Yet we continue to fail to translate our concern into action especially when it curtails modern lifestyle choices and challenges current growth models."

He goes on:

“Today green issues influence the language and decisions of government, corporations and individuals to an extent that was not possible or imaginable a century ago. Politicians promise to protect the environment, companies market their products as environmentally friendly, celebrities promote environmental causes and individuals aspire to green lifestyles.”

This year marks the fortieth anniversaries of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, and the fiftieth anniversary of the World Wide Fund for Nature. As the environmental movement reaches middle age, it is criticised for being out of touch, set in its ways, unable to change, bureaucratic and ineffective.

The authors conclude that empowering community groups and strengthening community bonds by working in partnership with local authorities, businesses and local groups could deliver multiple social and environmental benefits. This would enable local communities to secure a healthy natural environment, tackle climate change, and improve health and well being.

ENDS

Notes:

  • Dr Gary Haq is an Human Ecologist at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York
  • Environmentalism Since 1945 by Gary Haq and Alistair Paul is published by Routledge


For more information, please contact:

Ylva Rylander – Press and Communications Adviser, Stockholm Environment Institute

  • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  +46 73 150 3384

Gary Haq – Senior Research Associate, Stockholm Environment Institute

  • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   +44 1904 322917
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