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Civic environmentalism is an approach to environmental policy that emerged in the 1980s as a divergence from the first generation of environmental policy dominated by the top-down regulation of the central authority. This article first defines the concept and details its emergence and historical roots, then contrasts it with the traditional environmental policy and politics, explores the concepts and ideas it is related to, reviews the role of different levels of government in civic environmentalism, and closes with an examination of its criticisms and limitations and situations in which it is not appropriate for use.


Civic environmentalism is an ad hoc process of custom-designing answers to complex environmental problems in a specific location involving the stakeholders. It attempts to reconcile the economic development versus environmental protection ...

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