Green Power: The Environment Movement in Australia

Green Power: The Environment Movement in Australia

Green Power: The Environment Movement in Australia

Green Power: The Environment Movement in Australia

Synopsis

Green Power intermeshes the theories of social movements and non-government organisations with everyday events occurring in the environmental movement in Australia. The book's focus is on non-institutional politics.

Excerpt

All major wilderness and anti-nuclear issues over the past 30 years have been dealt with by alternatives to the previously established structures of communication and coordination. Certainly, more formal organisations have played a vital role in these issues, but no constitution defines the nature of all their interactions with other organisations and individuals. In the absence of a formalised, hierarchical structure, it has been necessary in each case for the participants to create temporary channels or networks of communication between groups interested in a specific issue.

There is an overemphasis on formal politics in our society, almost to the point where politics of the everyday, informal level ceases to exist. Traditional history has been a story of monumental, 'legitimate' events unfolding within the confines of formal politics. Most people perceive politics to be formal. In this world view politics is government, it is that peculiar set of relationships that are forged in Canberra, or in the parliaments of state and territory capitals. Consequently, politics is seen as something tawdry, deceitful, largely a battle between arrogant and egotistical men and, worst of all, a waste of time.

I use the word 'men' here deliberately. Formal political realms are dominated by men, while the more informal political milieus are often inhabited by women. The environment movement in Australia is renowned as a political entity in which women outnumber men. Even in this more 'enlightened' social context, as soon as movement politics starts to take on the traits of formalisation and hierarchy, men seem to emerge from nowhere to assume leadership roles, excluding women . . .

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