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Local Environmental Movements

Local Environmental Movements

Pradyumna P. Karan
Unryu Suganuma
Cartography by Dick Gilbreath
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Local Environmental Movements
    Book Description:

    Increasing evidence of the irreparable damage humans have inflicted on the planet has caused many to adopt a defeatist attitude toward the future of the global environment. Local Environmental Movements: A Comparative Study of the United States and Japan analyzes how local groups in both Japan and the United States refuse to surrender the Earth to a depleted and polluted fate. Drawing on numerous case studies, scholars from around the world discuss efforts by grassroots organizations and movements to protect the environment and to preserve the landscapes they love and depend upon. The authors examine citizen campaigns protesting nuclear radiation and chemical weapons disposal. Other groups have organized to protect farmlands and urban landscapes to groups that organize to preserve steams, wildlife habitats, tidal flats, coral reefs, National Parks, and biodiversity. These small groups of determined citizens are occasionally successful, demonstrating the power of democracy against seemingly insurmountable odds. In other cases, the groups failed to bring about the desired change. This book explores the distinctive leaders, the relevant laws and regulations, local politics, and the historical and cultural contexts that influenced the goals and successes of the various groups. The contributors conclude that there is no one single environmental movement but many, and the volume emphasizes grassroots movements and advocacy groups that represent local constituencies. By studying these groups and their respective challenges, Local Environmental Movements highlights the common themes as well as the distinctive features of environmental advocates in the United States and Japan. Over decades, these groups' have nurtured environmental awareness and promoted the concept of sustainable development that respects the need for both environmental protection and cultural preservation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2923-5
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Sociology, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Part I: Perspectives on Local Environmental Movements

    • Chapter 1 Local Environmental Movements: An Innovative Paradigm to Reclaim the Environment
      (pp. 3-12)
      Pradyumna P. Karan and Unryu Suganuma

      The environment is under siege nearly everywhere. Residential, commercial, and industrial development threatens national parks, streams, wildlife habitats, tidal flats and coral reefs, urban landscapes, and farmland in both Japan and the United States. No single private or public entity can counter this trend; the answer lies in a creative partnership involving local people, citizens’ groups, and governments at all levels. Strengthening local environmental groups and local governments can help protect and preserve the environment as a whole.

      There are many local movements organized to pursue through collective action a variety of goals. The focus of this volume, however, is...

    • Chapter 2 A Comparative History of U.S. and Japanese Environmental Movements
      (pp. 13-38)
      Richard Forrest, Miranda Schreurs and Rachel Penrod

      The environmental movements of Japan and the United States have quite different histories. Nevertheless, the story of environmentalism in each country can be seen as a centuries-long struggle to define proper relationships among individuals, nature, and society.

      The Japanese and American environmental movements have been shaped by the very different geographies, cultures, and political histories of their countries. But there are some similarities between their early stages. In both countries, groups of people, often local residents, responded to the need to preserve forests and other landscapes and to prevent the unchecked spread of hazardous pollution of various kinds that accompanied...

    • Chapter 3 Virtual Grassroots Movements: The Role of the National Geographic Society as a Sustained Promoter of Environmental Awareness
      (pp. 39-44)
      Stanley D. Brunn

      The National Geographic Society (NGS) is widely recognized internationally as one of the world’s premier organizations committed to informing children and adults about the places, regions, and landscapes in which we reside. It was founded in 1888 with the specific objective “to increase the diffusion of geographic knowledge.” During the ensuing years, the NGS has been among the premier environmental groups supporting research on various subjects, including alpine environments, polar and circumpolar areas, undersea discoveries, nature and natural history (especially in biology), and ethnology and archaeological expeditions and explorations. The society has in the past century consistently supported the exploration...

    • Chapter 4 Going Global: The Use of International Politics and Norms in Local Environmental Protest Movements in Japan
      (pp. 45-62)
      Kim Reimann

      Over the past several decades, the environmental protest movement in Japan has undergone various ebbs and flows. After very high levels of activism at the local level in the 1960s and early 1970s, it entered a period of relative quiet in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. From the late 1980s, however, a new wave of environment-related activism appeared that continues to the present and is richly detailed in this volume. In this most recent wave, new forms of activism have blossomed, and the environmental movement in Japan appears to have entered a new phase. When reviewing the protest campaigns...

  6. Part II: Protesting the Effects of Nuclear Radiation and Chemical Weapons

    • Chapter 5 Citizen Activism and the Nuclear Industry in Japan: After the Tokai Village Disaster
      (pp. 65-74)
      Nathalie Cavasin

      By the 1990s, several accidents at Japan’s nuclear power plant facilities had occurred, all posing serious threats. International criticism of the management of Japan’s nuclear program became pronounced. In Japan, the public concern about the safety of nuclear power has risen particularly after the two major 1990s accidents: the December 1995 sodium leak at the Monju (Fukui Prefecture) fast-breeder reactor and the September 1999 accident in Tokai Village (Ibaraki Prefecture) involving the uranium reconversion plant (see Cavasin 2002; and figure 5.1). Several other accidents occurred in Japan in nuclear plants after the Tokai disaster (Masuzoe 2000; Mukaidani 2000). For example,...

    • Chapter 6 Citizen Advisory Boards and the Cleanup of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Public Participation or Public Relations Ploy?
      (pp. 75-110)
      John J. Metz

      By 1990, the environmental and safety failures of its past operations had come to haunt the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its complex of nuclear weapons–producing factories (see figure 6.1).¹ The 1980s had been a busy time at the complex. The military buildup of the Reagan administration had doubled production in an aging and technologically complicated system (Cochran, Arkin, Norris, and Hoenig 1987a, 3–4; OTA 1991; Makhijani, Hu, and Yih 1995; DOE 1995). The total absence of outside oversight and a stunning lack of concern about the disposal of nuclear and toxic wastes during four decades of...

    • Chapter 7 Grassroots Environmental Opposition to Chemical Weapons Incineration in Central Kentucky: A Success Story
      (pp. 111-128)
      David Zurick

      On January 13, 1993, the United States signed the International Comprehensive Ban on Chemical Weapons, obligating the country to dispose by 2004 of an estimated twenty-seven thousand tons of blister agent (mustard gas) and nerve agents (GB-Sarin, VX, and GA). The U.S. Army had amassed these chemical weapons during the period 1943–1969 as a “retaliatory stockpile,” storing them in rockets, tanks, projectiles, and bulk containers inside earthen bunkers called “igloos,” maintained at eight army depots around the United States and on Johnston Atoll in the South Pacific. The largest such facility, the Tooele Army Depot in Utah, holds 42...

  7. Part III: Seeking to Preserve Rural and Urban Landscapes

    • Chapter 8 The Role of Local Groups in the Protection of Urban Farming and Farmland in Tokyo
      (pp. 131-144)
      Noritaka Yagasaki and Yasuko Nakamura

      In the age of globalization, when we are able to enjoy a variety of food from the world over, there is a growing interest among consumers in the safety of food and in the sustainability of the food supply. This is so, partly because of the globalizing threat to food production from such things as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease), bird flu, agricultural chemicals, and water pollution, and partly because of the limited food supply, a result of the ever-increasing world population. Urban consumers in Japan concerned about safe food are beginning to realize the importance of...

    • Chapter 9 From Horse Farms to Wal-Mart: The Citizens’ Movement to Protect Farmland in the Central Bluegrass Region of Kentucky
      (pp. 145-164)
      Dan Carey and Pradyumna P. Karan

      A Home Depot and a Super Wal-Mart would soon rest in the same spot where eighteen famous racehorses, dating back to the 1898 Kentucky Derby winner, Plaudit, now rest in peace on Hamburg Place Farm. The famed horse farm was to make way for 436,900 square feet of retail space and nearly 2,500 parking spots (see photograph 9.1). When this story was reported in theLexington Herald-Leader(November 18, 2004), it was only one of the numerous reports of the loss of the unique Bluegrass landscape of grassy horse farms, tobacco barns, and white fences to shopping malls and subdivisions...

    • Chapter 10 Farmers’ Efforts toward an Environmentally Friendly Society in Ogata, Japan
      (pp. 165-176)
      Shinji Kawai, Satoru Sato and Yoshimitsu Taniguchi

      Organic or semiorganic rice¹ made up barely 20 percent of Japan’s market in 2001 (MAFF 2002), and, presently, only a handful of local governments plan to introduce cost-sharing incentives for environmentally friendly agriculture. However, in Ogata Village in the northern prefecture of Akita (see figures 10.1–10.2), 80 percent of the rice is organic or semiorganic, according to a 1998 Akita Prefectural Agricultural College [Akita kenritsu nogyo tanki daigaku] survey (see table 10.1). This outstanding figure² was realized through Ogata farmers’ unremitting struggles to overcome the political, economic, and social pressures that mounted over thirty years of settlement on Ogata’s...

    • Chapter 11 The Administrative Process of Environmental Conservation and Limits to Grassroots Activities: The Case of Kyoto
      (pp. 177-186)
      Masao Tao

      In a democracy, interested parties, or stake-holders, attempt to affect the policymaking process, to their own benefit. The influence of some stakeholders, however, is so great as to distort the policymaking process, turning it into one promoting private, not public, interests. Hughes (2003) takes the position that, when this happens, the public sector should mirror the private, that is, that, just as bad management should be replaced, so should easily influenced administrators. This position—which assumes that, in government as in business, there is one best course of action—cannot be supported. In the real-life business of public policy–making,...

    • Chapter 12 The Grassroots Movement to Save the Sanbanze Tidelands, Tokyo Bay
      (pp. 187-204)
      Kenji Yamazaki and Tomoko Yamazaki

      During the period of rapid economic growth following World War II, roughly 250 square kilometers of land were reclaimed from Tokyo Bay. This reclaimed land was used for both residential and commercial development, and both the factories and the homes built there dumped their wastewater directly into the bay. The result was unprecedented levels of pollution.

      It was local inhabitants, mostly fishermen, who began the movement to revive Tokyo Bay. This should come as no surprise since, historically, fishermen have often been the bellwethers of the environmental movement in Japan. They were the first to be affected by pollution from...

  8. Part IV: Seeking to Preserve the Natural Environment

    • Chapter 13 Citizens for Saving the Kawabe: An Interplay among Farmers, Fishermen, Environmentalists, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport
      (pp. 207-218)
      Todd Stradford

      The Kawabe River flows south through the Kyushu Sanchi Highlands of Kumamoto Prefecture, in central Kyushu, through the villages of Izumi Village, Itsuki Village, and Sagara Village, joining the Kuma River in Hitoyoshi City (see figure 13.1). The area is noted for its clean waters and is one of the few places whereyamame,a type of trout, can survive in Japan outside Hokkaido. It is also largely rural, with bottomlands in crops and the surrounding mountains in planted conifers. A single highway, Route 445, traverses the river valley. This has been a remote region throughout Japanese history, and out-migration...

    • Chapter 14 The Efforts of Japan’s Citizens and Nongovernment Organizations to Maintain People-Wildlife Relations in Rural Japan: A Case Study of Monkeys in Mie Prefecture
      (pp. 219-228)
      Kenichi Nonaka

      Despite being a small country, Japan is rich in wildlife owing to the diversity of its natural environment. One characteristic of Japanese wildlife is that animals often enter areas where people are living. The human environment often overlaps with animals’ habitats, with the result that both humans and animals have become accustomed to sharing the same living environment, though often by necessity rather than by choice. This albeit reluctant coexistence in the marginal areas has allowed familiar relationships to develop between people and wildlife over a long period of time. However, the overlapping of the human environment with animal habitats,...

    • Chapter 15 The Grassroots Movement to Preserve Tidal Flats in Urban Coastal Regions in Japan: The Case of the Fujimae Tidal Flats, Nagoya
      (pp. 229-244)
      Akiko Ikeguchi and Kohei Okamoto

      The preservation of biodiversity has become one of the major objectives of environmental movements in various countries. Among ecosystems, tidal flats, along with tropical forests and coral reefs, are major targets for preservation. In Japan, tidal flats are common geomorphic features along the Pacific Coast. The action of river and tide continuously reshapes them, creating diverse habitats supporting a wide variety of living organisms. Since the 1990s, the preservation of biodiversity on the tidal flats has motivated Japanese local environmental movements. Recently, the national government and local administrations have become increasingly involved in environmental conservation or restoration projects.

      The value...

    • Chapter 16 The Protection of the Shiraho Sea at Ishigaki Island: The Grassroots Anti–Ishigaki Airport Construction Movement
      (pp. 245-258)
      Unryu Suganuma

      The Ishigaki Island airport construction controversy has been a matter of public debate for more than thirty years, going back to February 1972. In February 1974, the mayor of Ishigaki City officially petitioned the Okinawa prefectural government, asking for new airport construction. In May 1976, in response, the prefectural government identified (but did not immediately make public) six potential plans: (a) the Expansion of Current Airport Plan; (b) the Shiraho Sea Plan; (c) the Fusakino Plan; (d) the Karadake East-Side (or Shiraho Land) Plan; (e) the Miyara Plan; and (f) the Karadake Land (or Karadake) Plan (see figure 16.1). In...

    • Chapter 17 The Management of Mountain Natural Parks by Local Communities in Japan
      (pp. 259-268)
      Teiji Watanabe

      High mountainous areas in Japan have not historically been targeted for intensive use by animal herders, having been considered sacred since at least the sixth or seventh century (Koizumi 2001). Use patterns have begun to change, however. With the construction of roads and the development of recreational facilities, the mountains have become a resort destination. And with this change also has come natural resource deterioration, such as rapid soil erosion on trails, the accumulation of human waste and trash, and the loss of alpine vegetation by trampling and by illegal collection.

      Most high mountainous areas in Japan are designated as...

  9. Part V: Protesting the Effect of Military Activity

    • Chapter 18 Antimilitary and Environmental Movements in Okinawa
      (pp. 271-280)
      Jonathan Taylor

      The subtropical island of Okinawa, Japan, is a major hub of the U.S. armed forces in the Pacific. More than 75 percent of the land area of U.S. bases in Japan is in Okinawa (see figure 18.1), and more than 60 percent of the U.S. forces deployed to Japan are stationed there. The estimated number of American forces and dependents currently in Okinawa is around fifty thousand. The main military bases include Kadena Air Base, the largest U.S. air base outside the United States and home of the air force’s Eighteenth Wing, and a number of U.S. Marine Corps bases...

    • Chapter 19 Grassroots Participation in Hawaiian Biodiversity Protection and Alien-Species Control
      (pp. 281-294)
      Christopher Jasparro

      The Hawaiian island chain is one of the most isolated places on the planet, more than two thousand miles away from the nearest landmass (Jasparro and Shibuya 2002). However, it now faces some of the highest extinction rates of indigenous and endemic flora and fauna in the world. By the early 1990s, it had become apparent that existing biodiversity-protection measures were woefully inadequate (Jasparro and Shibuya 2002), but, over the past ten years, there has been a significant increase in grassroots attention to biodiversity issues and, in particular, invasive-species threats. Hawaii now has arguably the best invasive-species-control program in the...

  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 295-296)
  11. Index
    (pp. 297-304)