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Posted: September 7th, 2023

Interest Group Politics & The Environmental Movement

Study CHAPTER 2: Making Policy, “Environmental Politics and Policy’: 12e (Walter A Rosenbaum, 2023), write the reflection journal to address the following subjects/areas:
1. Review “Interest Group Politics & The Environmental Movement” pg. 34-45: Identify and describe 3 political impacts of interest groups on environmental policymaking; explain how deep ecologists and radical environmentalism influence policy process; and explain how environmental groups manage organizational structures and strategies to impelled environmental movement.
2 Review “The special place of science in policymaking” pg. 50-54: Identify and explain at least 2 special places of science in environmental policymaking. As shown in figure 2.2 (pg. 51), the political parties grown farther apart on impact of environmental regulations. Use an example to explain how policymakers would make choice between a scientifically risky decision and a politically risky one.

Interest Group Politics & The Environmental Movement
Interest groups play a crucial role in shaping environmental policymaking. Three political impacts of interest groups on environmental policymaking can be identified. Firstly, interest groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace have successfully lobbied legislators to pass landmark acts like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act through public pressure campaigns. Their ability to mobilize public support and raise awareness has been instrumental in pushing for environmental reforms.
Secondly, interest groups have shaped public opinion on environmental issues and influenced voting behavior. By conducting public outreach campaigns, they have made environmental protection a salient concern for politicians. This has led to increased political support for environmental policies and regulations.
Thirdly, interest groups have managed to build strong organizational structures and strategies to impel the environmental movement. They employ various tactics, such as grassroots organizing, fundraising, and litigation, to advance their goals. For example, environmental groups often use litigation to enforce existing environmental laws and regulations and to influence future policymaking.
Deep Ecologists and Radical Environmentalism
Deep ecologists, such as Arne Naess and George Sessions, have had a significant influence on the policy process. Their philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic worth of all living beings and ecosystems beyond human use. This radical perspective challenges the anthropocentric view that prioritizes human interests over environmental concerns.
Deep ecology has pushed policy debates further by critiquing the dominant paradigm and advocating for a more holistic approach to environmental issues. While deep ecology has not gained mainstream support, its principles continue to enrich discussions on sustainability and the relationship between humans and the natural world.
Organizational Structures and Strategies of Environmental Groups
Environmental groups employ various organizational structures and strategies to impel the environmental movement. These structures and strategies enhance their effectiveness in advocating for environmental policies.
One key strategy is lobbying, where environmental groups engage in direct advocacy with policymakers to influence decision-making processes. By presenting scientific evidence and public opinion, they aim to shape policy outcomes in favor of environmental protection.
Litigation is another strategy employed by environmental groups. Through legal action, they seek to enforce existing environmental laws and regulations and challenge decisions that are detrimental to the environment. This strategy has been successful in holding governments and corporations accountable for their actions.
Internationally, environmental groups work through conventions and agreements to address global environmental challenges. For example, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) brings together countries to negotiate and implement measures to mitigate climate change. Environmental groups actively participate in these processes, advocating for stronger commitments and actions.
Internally, environmental groups have well-structured organizational frameworks that enable effective coordination and mobilization of resources. They have paid professional staff working alongside volunteers at national and local chapters. This combination of professional expertise and grassroots support strengthens their advocacy work and amplifies their impact.
The Special Place of Science in Policymaking
Science plays a crucial role in environmental policymaking, occupying special places that inform decision-making processes. Two key aspects can be identified:
Objective Information: Science provides policymakers with objective information about the state of the environment, the impacts of human activities, and potential solutions. Scientific research and studies help policymakers understand the complex interactions between human actions and the environment. This information forms the basis for evidence-based policymaking.
Technical Expertise: Science offers technical expertise to policymakers, helping them navigate complex environmental issues. Scientists provide insights into the feasibility and effectiveness of different policy options. For example, in the context of climate change, scientists contribute to the development of emission reduction targets and the assessment of mitigation strategies.
However, as Figure 2.2 illustrates, the translation of scientific findings into policy decisions is not always straightforward. Policymakers must consider various factors, including political, economic, and social considerations, alongside scientific evidence. This is particularly evident when policymakers face choices between scientifically risky decisions and politically risky ones.
For instance, in deciding whether to implement costly coastal defenses against rising sea levels, policymakers must weigh the environmental risks against fiscal and political costs. Scientific uncertainty allows room for alternative viewpoints and policy debates. Environmental groups play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing policymakers’ choices through science communication and advocacy efforts.
In conclusion, interest groups, deep ecologists, and environmental organizations have had significant political impacts on environmental policymaking. They have shaped public opinion, influenced legislation, and managed organizational structures and strategies to impel the environmental movement. Science occupies a special place in policymaking, providing objective information and technical expertise. However, policymakers must navigate the complex interplay between science, values, and politics when making decisions.
Please let me know if you need further clarification or additional information.
Scholarly References:
Dryzek, J. S. (2013). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses. Oxford University Press.
Jacobs, K. L., & Frickel, S. (Eds.). (2009). Environmental discourses in public and international law: Contentious concepts in environmental policy. Cambridge University Press.
Rosenbaum, W. A. (2018). Environmental politics and policy. CQ Press.
Union of Concerned Scientists. (2019). The climate reality project: Communicating climate science and solutions. Retrieved from https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/climate-reality-project
World Resources Institute. (2022). 10 things you need to know about biodiversity. Retrieved from https://www.wri.org/insights/10-things-you-need-know-about-biodiversity

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