Study Finds that Harnessing “Local” Concerns can Fuel Broader Environmental Movements

Thursday, March 31, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Anti-fracking demonstration
Anti-fracking demonstration, Yukon Legislative Assembly administrative building (photo: Kate Harris)

A new study authored by
Kate Neville (Assistant Professor, Political Science and School of the Environment, University of Toronto) and Erika Weinthal (Lee Hill Snowdon Professor of Environmental Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University) illustrates how activists can strategically adopt local concerns to fuel greater support for broader environmental campaigns.

“Many big environmental movements or campaigns are based on future concerns or global issues that often seem abstract or distant. Our case study shows how harnessing local, place-based concerns helps activists gain currency by giving people a concrete example of the problem they can relate to. This is not a novel strategy; it happens a lot. But our study shows why it’s so effective,” Neville says.

The new paper – published in March, 2016 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Politics – focuses on local activists’ use of a neighborhood siting dispute to crystalize and drive support for a region-wide anti-fracking campaign in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Click here to read the news release by the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.

Click here to read the article published online in the journal Environmental Politics:

Kate J. Neville and Erika Weinthal. 2016. Scaling up site disputes: strategies to redefine ‘local’ in the fight against fracking. DOI:10.1080/09644016.2016.1154124.