Environmental Politics in Japan, Germany, and the United States

By Miranda A. Schreurs | Go to book overview

8
Global environmental politics and
environmental policy communities

This chapter differs from the earlier chapters in that it does not explore a specific environmental issue. Instead, it examines how environmental groups have reacted to the globalization of environmental policy making. It first compares the membership, staff, and budget of environmental groups in Japan, Germany, and the US, and then examines how the strategies, goals, and organization of environmental policy communities have been affected by the emergence of new kinds of environmental problems and policy-making processes. Three trends are noteworthy. First, the Japanese environmental NGO community, though very small, is growing and institutional barriers to its activities are being removed. Second, the German environmental policy community, and especially the Green Party, is facing a crisis that stems from its own success. Third, the US environmental NGO community finds itself at a low point in terms of its ability to influence US foreign environmental policy.


Comparing environmental NGO resources in Japan,
Germany, and the US

The difference in the size and resources of the NGO communities in Japan, Germany, and the US is really quite astounding (see Table 8.1). The largest and oldest internationally oriented group with a predominately environmental focus in Japan is WWF Japan. In 2000, it had a membership of 50,000, up from 37,370 in 1992. In comparison, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Germany had 180,000 members and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) United States 1 million. Greenpeace had a membership of 5,000 in Japan in 1998 compared to 250,000 in Germany and 520,000 in the US. FOE Japan had a membership of 380 in the late 1990s; FOE Germany had 240,000.

The small membership size of Japanese NGOs means that they cannot rely on membership donations for financial support or for political weight. Indeed, of the 187 NGOs listed in the Japanese NGO Center for

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