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A New Conservation Politics: Power, Organization Building and Effectiveness

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9014-5
408 pages
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
A New Conservation Politics: Power, Organization Building and Effectiveness (1405190140) cover image

Description

Despite many successes in the field of conservation, species extinction rates continue to climb and wild areas and habitats continue to be lost. Many look to more (or better) biology and ecology to solve the problem but the obstacles are not just scientific but political. To stop the 6th great extinction the conservation movement must become much stronger, more tenacious, and more effective. By learning from its own history and especially from the movements that abolished slavery, brought down apartheid, changed gender relations, and expanded democratic rights, conservationists can become more successful.

This book brings together in one place and in a highly usable format the lessons of those movements culled from practitioners and academic analysts.

"Protecting Earth's rich web of life, and our only known living companions in the universe, depends upon people caring enough to act. This book shows conservationists how to evoke the caring and action necessary to change policy and ultimately society." Paul R Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University and author of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment

“This timely book by David Johns explains why facts alone don’t motivate and mobilize people to care for the natural world. Even better, Johns spells out what will work, based on a frank and informed assessment of human nature applied to social and political movements. If you would rather see change than be right, this readable and authoritative guide should be your bible.” Michael Soulé, Professor Emeritus, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

“For me, this is a truly fascinating book. I spend much of my time writing--trying to write the stories we need to tell--and the rest of it helping run national and global mobilizations on climate change (Step It Up and now 350.org). I think David Johns has done a tremendous job of linking together insights about useful rhetoric and very practical notions about organizing. If you're trying to save a river, a forest, or a planet you need to read this book.” Bill McKibben, Scholar-in-Residence, Middlebury College

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: hard times ix

Part 1 The Gauntlet: we have met the enemy and they are both us and them 1

1 Us 3

2 Them: inertia, inequality, and propaganda 13

3 Them: power 29

4 Why we act – from the double helix to world systems and sunspots 43

Part 2 Conservation as if life depended on it 91

5 The role of vision 97

Part 2A Forging the hammer 103

6 The centrality of mobilization to politics 105

7 From vision to goals 111

8 From goals to strategy: answering strategic questions 115

9 Who will do the heavy lifting: targets of mobilization 129

10 Understanding the targets of mobilization; and opponents 149

11 Messengers and channels for mobilization 175

12 Mobilization and messages 207

13 Message as story and symbol 237

14 Mobilization and action 261

15 Overarching tactical concerns 267

16 Monitoring and evaluation 275

Part 2B The care and maintenance of the hammer 279

17 Organization and identity 287

18 Organization, action, and ritual 305

19 Organization, efficacy, and repression 315

20 The life cycle of organizations 333

21 The need for many organizations 341

22 A final question 345

Bibliography 347

Index 373

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Author Information

An activist and teacher, David Johns has co-founded and directed NGOs doing science-based large-scale conservation. He teaches politics and law at Portland State University. David has also been active in a variety campaigns, worked for elected officials, advised government, and published widely on conservation politics.
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Reviews

"Protecting Earth's rich web of life, and our only known living companions in the universe, depends upon people caring enough to act.  This book shows conservationists how to evoke the caring and action necessary to change policy and ultimately society."
Paul R. Ehrlich, author of THE DOMINANT ANIMAL: HUMAN EVOLUTION AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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