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Extra resources for Cultures of Environmentalism: Empirical Studies in Environmental Society

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) gas – the principal greenhouse gas – is invariably emitted by all the people of the world, if only just through breathing, but more dramatically insofar as they burn fossil fuels or wood. But the greenhouse gases each of us emits do not affect us alone. The CO2 molecules we liberate stay in the atmosphere on average for around six years (Silvertown 1990, 78–82), meaning that they drift around the globe. Inevitably, our individual emissions get mixed in with everyone else’s.

Mainstream environmental SMOs too have been caught out by their inattention to these considerations. If the environmental movement appears exceptional among NSMs on account of its relationship to science, it also offers to stand out because of the movement’s international character. Many social movements have made claims to international solidarity, ‘international socialists’ being one obvious and somewhat ironic example. In principle there are probably good reasons for international solidarity in all sorts of social movement; for example, peace movements have a strong and urgent reason for international solidarity even if their unity generally foundered on the asymmetrical opportunities for peace organisation during the Cold War.

There are further fears that the herbicide-resistance trait could be passed to related crops, giving rise to ‘super weeds’ impervious to weedkillers. In the case of genetic resistance to pests, there have been two prime concerns. Many commentators have observed that this procedure could promote the evolution of tolerant pests able to cope with the biological control measures. The second concern is that species other than the target pests might be affected. Experimental evidence, from laboratory simulations, suggested that biological insect resistance being bred into maize (corn) could be distributed in the environment by corn pollen falling onto neighbouring plants (see Pimentel and Raven 2000).

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