Climate Action and Environmental Activism: The Role of Environmental NGOs and Grassroots Movements in the Global Politics of Climate Change

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Abstract

Environmental NGOs have been at the forefront of climate change communication since the IPCC published its first assessment report in 1990, and have been central to the translation of climate change science into lay discourse and understanding. Yet environmental NGOs have been largely ignored in the climate change story. This paper addresses this silence by examining the ways in which action to mitigate climate change is being enacted across a range of environmental groups. These range from the activities promoted by international NGOs such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF, to the recent collaborations promoted by the ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ coalition. However, as the climate messages and actions of larger NGOs have achieved increasing visibility within media, government and public discourse, this has been accompanied by a concomitant shift in the UK to grassroots direct actions taken by smaller groups as the Camp for Climate Change and Plane Stupid. The paper explores how these different environmental groups approach climate change communication and mitigation, analysing how they frame the responsibilities of individual and governmental action, what discourses they use in the call for action, and what practices are being advocated. In doing so, the paper sheds light on the current status of climate activism enacted by environmental NGOs in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their approaches to the mitigation of climate change on a global, national and local level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change and the Media
EditorsTammy Boyce, Justin Lewis
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherPeter Lang
Pages103-116
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781433104619
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

Keywords

  • environmental NGOs
  • climate change
  • activism

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