Grassroots and environmental NGOs

Authored by: Nathalie Berny , Ellen Clarke

The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138894808
eBook ISBN: 9781315179780
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter questions the properties usually associated to grassroots and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in a comparative perspective, both historically and internationally. It addresses different forms of environmentalism in order to assess the transformative capacity of mobilisations involved in land use conflicts. Drawing from various works in sociology, geography and legal studies is useful to underscore continuities and change in this regard, while the ongoing and alarming pressure on the environment has reactivated a debate on the failure of environmentalism to prevent irreversible changes. This chapter suggests deconstructing categories such as grassroots organisations, local communities and NGOs in order to reveal actual lines of division at the local level. Moreover, the dichotomies associated to these categories of North versus South or local versus national/global also have limitations, sometimes reducing the significance of legal battles or transnational action, both aspects nowadays being targeted by repressive legislation across the globe.

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