Organizations and Networks in Europe and the USA
Edited by C. S.A. (Kris) van Koppen and William T. Markham
Chapter 5: Nature Protection Organizations in Italy: From Elitist Fervour to Confluence with Environmentalism
5. Nature protection organizations in Italy: from elitist fervour to conﬂuence with environmentalism Giorgio Osti INTRODUCTION Nature protection organizations in Italy have a long history, albeit one that is often overlooked in recent accounts of the Green movement. A number of quasi-national organizations that focused on protecting nature for recreational and scientiﬁc purposes were founded during the last decades of the nineteenth century, and their legacy is important for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the present-day Italian environmental movement. In the course of their history, the strong and innovative nature protection motivations of these organizations faded away, leaving the environmental organizations founded in the 1970s without a wide base of public support. They are, nevertheless, a part of Italian social history that deserves renewed attention. Clarifying this segment of social history and examining the place of nature protection within the environmental movement today is the aim of this chapter. The ﬁrst step toward realizing this aim is to clarify the speciﬁc proﬁle of nature protection organizations within the galaxy of Italian environmentalism. Looking at the list of associations recognized by the Ministry of Environment, it is quite easy to identify four types of organization: animal protection, environmental, recreational and scientiﬁc.1 All have an interest in the protection of nature, but few have nature protection as their primary goal. If we apply the following criteria: (a) the number and size of nature reserves directly managed by the association; (b) involvement in policy making about national...
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