Article

Environmental Policy and Politics in Latin America

Jose Carlos Orihuela

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0021
Environmental Policy and Politics in Latin America

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The study of environmental policy and politics has undergone a rapid and complex development. As elsewhere, the view that in Latin America and the Caribbean there was neither political action nor policy action on environmental affairs before the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, has shifted to a more nuanced understanding of the evolution of environmental politics, both across and within nations. The Latin American “shades of green” owe their range to a diversity of cultures that coexist within a diversity of ecosystems. Green politics unfold in time and in place. Nineteenth-century state formation and commodity-led growth shaped the first layers of modern environmentalisms in state and society. The view of “empty” and “wasted” forests that existed as productive engines for national progress was conventional wisdom until the third quarter of last century. In the 20th century, economic forces, the impetus of modernization, and internal migration recreated rural and urban environments. The Indian Question reappeared, helped by the new structure of political opportunities provided by transnational networks, with ethnic and green politics feeding each other in local and global arenas. In the cities, grassroots activists and professionals have progressively colored politics and policymaking. Green bureaucratic structures of diverse autonomy and limited reach characterize the evolution of the Latin American state. Governments have played a secondary role in the climate-change debate.

Article.  7890 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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