The Making of the New Environmental Consciousness: A Comparative Study of the Environmental Movements in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands

The Making of the New Environmental Consciousness: A Comparative Study of the Environmental Movements in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands

The Making of the New Environmental Consciousness: A Comparative Study of the Environmental Movements in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands

The Making of the New Environmental Consciousness: A Comparative Study of the Environmental Movements in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands

Excerpt

By the late 1980s a new spectre had begun to haunt the upholders of the established political order. In the wake of a series of dramatic environmental catastrophes, there has been a growing disenchantment with the technological wonders of modem industrial capitalism. Out of this disenchantment has emerged an amalgamation of new political energy, an environmental movement, composed of old conservationists, new deep ecologists, former socialists who have seen the green light, and thousands of local activists protesting against the ever increasing number of cases of environmental destruction.

While this movement has been around in most industrialised countries at least since the late 1960s it is only recently that it has begun to be taken seriously, both by its opponents in the halls of power as well as by new found friends in academia, the market-place, and other social groupings. For some, the new environmental movement or green challenge is seen as heralding a new kind of politics, replacing the class-based politics of industrial society with a new post-material, value-oriented politics. For others the new movements stand for a new world-view, a post-modern cosmology signalling new relations between the sexes, between society and nature and between the nations of the world. For still others, the movement represents a disintegration of the established political order, a challenge to parliamentary democracy, to technocratic planning, even to progress and rationality themselves.

The importance of the new environmentalism, we contend, has to be understood in its own context and in terms of its own history. Its real potential for social change can be found only by real historical analysis. The abstractions that are often projected onto the movement must be taken out of the sky of speculation and brought to the grounding of social reality. This is what the present book aims to provide: a theoretically informed comparative study of the making of the new environmental consciousness . . .

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