Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Strategies for Success

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Strategies for Success

Article excerpt

WHEN faced with ecological problems, environmentalists often move quickly to identify and realize solutions. We've come to expect that activists, policy makers and scholars will follow their analysis of a particular issue with a set of suggestions that promise resolution. Indeed, we often feel cheated by those who tell us what is wrong but offer no ideas on how to get it right. It's all very interesting to learn about a problem, we counter, but what do we do now?

This edition of Alternatives offers no clear answers to that question. Solutions to environmental problems are neither celebrated nor prescribed here. Our emphasis is on process and strategy. The stories told here draw attention to environmental activism's often-creative response to complex ecological problems. Rather than promote particular kinds of activism, the authors challenge readers to reflect on the variety of spaces in which environmentalist actions may be configured, and the forms they may take. Some of the stories highlight some more traditional avenues--the courts, letter writing, community organizing, networking, direct action--and serve as a reminder of how valuable these traditions continue to be to advocacy efforts. There is new evidence to suggest that the tried are still true: a recent US study confirms that sit-ins, rallies and boycotts are still highly effective in forcing new environmental laws.

Other stories introduce less-considered options (such as Starhawk's call for a spiritual paradigm shift and Laura D'Amelio's report on radical cyberactivism) or weigh the merits and deficiencies of possible approaches to dealing with a difficult challenge (Danny Bradbury's consideration of responses to US agricultural dumping in Mexico). …

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