The Limits of Civic Environmentalism

  • Abel T
  • Stephan M
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Abstract

Two key components of civic environmentalism are the devolution of policy control of envi- ronmental policy from the federal government to states and localities and the increase of local citizen participation in policy decision making. Using a combination of case studies and interviews, the authors suggest that devolution of policy making and policy implementa- tion may not increase the role of citizens. Rather. due to both the participatory mechonisms used and the larger trends in political participation in democratic societies, citizen involve- ment may be limited in signijicant ways. Although evidence isfound that citizens can and do influence policy under certain circumstances, there is also cautionary evidence to suggest that this influence is not widespread and does not include representative samples of local communities. The authors conclude thatfor civic environmentalism to be truly civic, barriers to participation must be acknowledged and overcome.

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Authors

  • Troy D. Abel

  • Mark Stephan

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