One reason for the growing importance of the environment as a political issue — albeit not the only or even the principal one — is the existence and recognition of severe environmental degradation, and this chapter is mainly concerned with an exploration of the nature and scope of these environmental problems. Documenting the objective reality of environmental problems is much more straightforward, however, than explaining why the environment has emerged as an important social and political issue. In particular, we cannot just assume that the former accounts for the latter. Indeed, some social scientists have argued that social and political concern for the environment is a product of either cultural or structural changes which are entirely independent of alleged environmental decay. The chapter begins by reviewing this literature.
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- The Environmental Crisis
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