The Environment

Berry argues that single issue movements such as soil conservation or clean water inevitably fail. He distrusts the movements and actually argues that they lapse in what he calls self-righteousness and self betrayal.

However, conservation movements cannot be termed as failures. Several success stories have been witnessed, which renders his position untenable to a great extent.

Nichols et al (2006) in their newsletter noted that after a concerted effort by Grupo Tortuguero, a turtle protectors’ movement, numbers of Pacific green turtles and loggerhead turtles have been on the rise. The group constitutes what Berry would call a movement, since it is comprised of “ forty five fishers, coastal residents, scientists, educators and conservationists” as well as “members of more than forty coastal communities” among others who all share in one goal: coming back of pacific turtles. Nichols et al added that findings to the effect of increase in turtles are based on monitoring data that the group generates from their research.

Mitra (2008) attributed availability of water in an Indian village of North Chandrapura to success of ‘Jal ano’ (bring water) movement, a group of women from the village. By raising awareness and awakening consciousness of the government agencies, the women were able to bring water to their village’s “153 families” which was unthinkable at first (Mitra).

Berry argued that movements such as the ones mentioned above become specialized and accused them of not being comprehensive enough. In addition he levels a charge of insincerity for blaming others for prevailing predicaments, hence changing policies but not behavior. On the contrary as exemplified by Mitra, the women did not engage in blame game, hey instead proactively, looked forward and aimed at changing their circumstances. As far as specializing is concerned, perhaps Berry is right that movements tend to specialize. It would be difficult here for such a group to engage in a myriad of activities since all require resources. The turtle movement on the other hand did not engage in blame games; it sought to bring as many people on board as possible and that must have been one of the reasons that led to its success.

He however delivered a valid point when he argued that most people are blinded by their money and therefore ignore the fact that weather creates water with which they use after paying for in terms of bills. As he put it, for such people, as long as there is money food and water will always be there. For such people who are ignorant of factors that bring about such commodities, it is the work of movements to do what Molly (2001) called “awakening” through “advocacy” with a view to focusing everyone’s effort towards  noble courses.

Movements are made up of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, a set of performance goals, and an approach which they hold themselves mutually accountable. By working as a team a movement awakens and elicits support from others hitherto unconcerned its efforts.

(Molly, 2001 p.163)

When Stefan (2006) raised an alarm due to over fishing of blue fin tuna, a favorite in Japan, he hoped that awareness will not only reach the fisherman in the sea but also its consumers who are more concerned with its availability at the table and not is likely to happen when supplies run out eventually. In the same vein, Jade (2000) noted that Conventional on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) elicited support from one hundred and seventy five countries which in turn broadens the view held by Berry, of  movements comprising of individuals.

Berry rather seemed to be keen about terminologies and the way movements used them interchangeably and in his view, ambiguously. He for instance mans the liberalism associated with food technologies concerning healthy alternatives. He seemed t be disturbed by continuous use of terms such as ‘safe’, ‘natural’, ‘healthful’, ‘organic among others. But as Jade (2000) noted Much may be lost in terminologies. “Whether it is conservation or preservation” she felt that what matters is relaying the general message. She decried hair splitting by conservationists which results when they get “sucked in a debate” (p.90) such as the one Berry ignited.

While it can be argued that probably some movements have died with their slogans the reverse also holds: that some movements have been doing well due to the power of their slogans which gives their members hope and the will to carry on. Apart from sloganeering, communal activities bring members together and enhance their togetherness. Nichols et al (2006) demonstrated this fact when they provided details of how members of Grupo Tortuguero come together. For instance the 2006 gathering in Loreto Baja California Sur, Mexico was convened to celebrate their 8th annual meeting. Furthermore, the movement chooses a community each year for the Don Manuel Orantes Conservation Award. These activities accord the movement an opportunity to assess their successes and chart the way forward.

The death of movements cannot be soon.  Globalization will continue to play a role in knitting global communities together. As this happens more movements will merge and probably grow stronger. In Molly’s words, what started as concern for water, air or soil has now progressed to become a movement about the environment in general.(Molly 2005). Perhaps the current talks in Copenhagen on climate change could be seen in this light. The world is attempting to come up with one voice and is doing away with what Berry called specialization and is considering the totality of conditions that impact on it negatively.

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