What are green pressure groups and how do they influence top level thinking?
What is a pressure group?
A pressure group consists of people who have mutual interests and similar sensitivities towards a subject. It typically has a narrow, specific topic focus. Green pressure groups are founded by the people who especially care about environmental products and other related issues. A peculiarity about a pressure group is that it is usually always clear in that it has no desire to attain a position of power itself. It simply exists to push for what they view as positive changes in government policy to create a more environmentally friendly planet.
Heavily reliant on public support and funding
Green pressure groups, most notably those such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, work towards increasing awareness of environmental issues across the world in order to achieve their aims. They play a crucial role in achieving a sustainable development and the increase of environmental product use around the world.
When doing this, they rely on the support of the public. Public awareness and involvement is necessary not only for financial support but also to be able make a more stringent pressure on the institutions. Government administrations don’t often take action, or even listen, until there is a major public outcry relating to a given topic. Therefore an important part of the efforts of such green pressure groups is devoted to educating the public through the promotions of important environmental issues.
How do they approach it?
The green pressure groups use many methods to pressure government administrations, methods which are often questioned and criticised by not only the media but well known public figures.
To get the attention of the public and the media on an activity which damages the environment, the pressure groups may take controversial or aggressive action, as has been experienced many times through the activities of Greenpeace. Greenpeace are often criticised for doing more harm to the cause than good with their strong actions. As stated above, the pressure groups may also arrange activities which will educate the public. Hence, instead of representing the environmental issues at the governmental level, the pressure groups find ways to increase the awareness of the public so that they can get financial or psychological support from people.
On the other hand, sometimes notable changes in legislation and regulation come about due to the direct intervention of pressure groups. In today’s society where there is a greater than ever awareness of environmental issues, many governments contain advisors or are closely connected to groups who are concerned with the environment.