The Environmental Movement in the Transition Process
Since a handful of environmental activists courageously lambasted the communist regime’s appalling ecological record in the late 1980s, the realm of environmental politics in the Czech Republic has acted as a barometer of political change and the development of civil society in this new democracy. This study traces the development of the Czech environmental movement, from an embryonic array of dissident activists opposing the communist regime in the late 1980s to a diversified and politically prominent social movement comprising an eclectic mix of organizations, ideologies and action strategies. The book represents the culmination of a decade of research during which time the activities, organization and interactions of environmental movement organizations (EMOs) have been explored from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. At its heart lies an interest in the Czech environmental movement for what it reveals about the multifaceted process of regime change from authoritarian rule to political democracy. A relatively high degree of environmental consciousness in Czechoslovakia during the late 1980s, as well as appalling levels of air and water pollution, propelled the environmental movement to political prominence at the time of the revolution (Albrecht, 1987; Jancar-Webster, 1993; Waller and Millard, 1992). During the 1990s foreign donors were keen to support nascent green organizations, often over and above other issues or interest groups. As the decade progressed, the EC/EU became increasingly involved in Czech environmental politics largely to ensure harmonization of laws and adaptation to western norms. Nearly a generation after the ‘velvet revolution’, and with the Czech...