This chapter examines how environmentalists' attitudes towards inclusion are translated into their use of computer-mediated communication (CMC). It outlines the importance of inclusiveness to environmentalists. The chapter demonstrates that the interviewees' attitudes, while reflecting a desire for inclusion, lead to practices of exclusion. It explores the ways in which environmental activists have secured access to the technologies, how they have tackled any problems encountered and, additionally, whether CMC use has altered organisational forms. In addition to acknowledging and attempting to resolve the access problems they faced, activists employed CMC as a way to create new avenues of access to information they wanted to distribute. Access can be mediated by membership to a group and CMC use could alter the functions and structure of an organisation. The chapter further considers the effects of organisational form on CMC use, and the effects of CMC on organisational forms.
Environmental activists have utilised diverse tactics in the attempt to assert their influence upon the decision-making process and society. This chapter begins with an examination of the use online tactics for environmental activism and the reticence to engage in such use. It considers the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as a substitute for the mainstream media on which people have relied, and hence for the production of digital alternative media (DAM). Concurrent to the use of any tactics, environmentalists usually consider the ways in which they will publicise their actions prior to and after the event. CMC has been used to extend existing tactics into the realm of cyberspace and in developing new forms of action. The chapter concludes by exploring whether these changes in online tactics and alternative media production enable environmental activists to be more effective in achieving their aims and targeting their adversaries.
A new politics of protest?
Protest movements are continually appropriating new technologies. This chapter examines the early stages of computer-mediated communication (CMC) use and emphasises that this was a crucial period which determined frameworks of technology use. It explores how the technological changes have influenced environmental politics. The chapter also examines the broader implications of CMC use for social movements. CMC is facilitating the decentralisation of the environmental movement and the rise of grassroots activism. Cyberspace, and the use of CMC, constitute a contested terrain for environmentalists. The increasingly high profile of environmental internet activism in the mainstream media has focused attention on the use of the technology for subversive purposes, and has given their opponents cause to constrict activists' use of CMC. The chapter concludes by examining the possibilities for online activism.
Environmental activism online
The politics of cyberspace is of importance both for the future use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and within traditional political arenas, commerce and society itself. Within Britain there are many different political groups that have a presence online and utilise CMC, including for example members of the far right, human rights advocates, religious groups and environmental activists. This book examines the relationship between the strategies of environmental activist movements in Britain and their use of CMC. It explores how environmental activists negotiate the tensions and embrace the opportunities of CMC, and analyses the consequences of their actions for the forms and processes of environmental politics. It serves as a disjuncture from some broader critiques of the implications of CMC for society as a whole, concentrating on unpacking what CMC means for activists engaged in social change. Within this broad aim there are three specific objectives. It first evaluates how CMC provides opportunities for political expression and mobilization. Second, the book examines whether CMC use has different implications for established environmental lobbying organisations than it does for the non-hierarchical fluid networks of direct action groups. Third, it elucidates the influence of CMC on campaign strategies and consequently on business, government and regulatory responses to environmental activism.