Third Generation Environmentalism
Environmentalism is evolving
The first generation of environmentalism focused on the conservation of species and habitats. The second generation widened that focus to include pollution and natural resources.
Campaigning from outside the established institutions, the environment movement in the 20th Century succeeded in building awareness of the harm human beings are doing to the planet and thus to themselves.
But challenges remain. So far the successes achieved in the 20th Century have proven insufficient to deal with the myriad of complex problems humanity faces: stabilising the climate, halting the collapse of ecosystems, building sustainable communities, responsibly meeting our long term needs for water, energy, food, health, fibre and minerals.
These are the core challenges of the 21st Century and they'll only be successfully tackled if we work from within the existing systems and structures of today's society. Yet our current institutions and political processes are part of the problem. By their very nature, environmental problems cannot be dealt with from silos – from one government department, industry sector or advocacy position alone.
Changing institutional and political structures is a long term goal. In the meantime, we must make our existing system work better.
That's where third generation environmentalists come in. They are "insiders", found at all levels in governments, corporations, universities, trades unions, professional associations, voluntary organisations and elsewhere throughout the world. They share a deep concern about the stability, security and sustainability of the planet.
The E3G vision is that we can do much more with the structures and institutions we already have. We must enable third generation environmentalists to work better together across the institutional and political boundaries that obstruct change.
E3G aims to act as a change agency, a hub bringing together third generation environmentalists.