Electronic citizenship and global social movements
First Monday

Electronic citizenship and global social movements by Liza Tsaliki

Abstract
Electronic citizenship and global social movements by Liza Tsaliki
This paper is an attempt at a more systematic study of the impact of new social movements on participatory politics and citizenship at a European level. It presents the empirical findings from my work on ecological NGOs and addresses the following questions:

  • In what ways is the Internet conducive to discursive democracy when used by grassroots organizations, and more specifically by environmental groups in Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and Greece?
  • What kind of information is offered on the Web sites of some environmental organizations in the five countries?
  • How is this related with the level of Internet development in these countries?

It concludes that ecological organizations use the Internet for publicity purposes and for diffusion of information mainly, while the dimensions of discursive, interactive communication and the establishment of 'nexuses of global action' are still underplayed.

Contents

Introduction
Why environment?
Global forces and environmentalism
NCTs in a national context: A bird's eye view of the level of Interent development in the countries under examination
Web site analysis of environmental organizations in Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece
Conclusions

 


 

++++++++++

Introduction

This paper is an attempt at a more systematic study of the impact of new social movements on participatory politics and citizenship at a European level and is part of a larger project on the development of digital citizenship in the European Union (Tsaliki, 2001a, 2001b). Through this project I wish to revisit ideas of democracy and citizenship and examine the role of the Internet as a mechanism for social and democratic change by looking at electronic governance, online political debates and environmental Netactivism in five European countries (Finland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain and Greece). The principal research questions raised involve the way in which the Internet may facilitate participation in politics and provide access to decision-making, and the extent to which it can provide a forum for democratic reason. These questions are addressed by examining what governments do online, what kind of information they offer to citizens, and what action they take to 'listen' to people and respond to their needs. I am also interested in the deliberative feature of the Internet by looking at the way individuals conduct conversations online. Finally, I investigate the way in which the Internet can become a forum for motivation to action and democratic reason by probing into environmental organisations. It is this latter dimension that I wish to take a closer look at in my present work.

The paper presents the empirical findings from my work on ecological NGOs. It will start by giving the reasons for the choice of the category Environment amongst new social movements. This will be followed by a discussion of the relationship between environmentalism and globalization. It will continue by offering a brief account of the level of Internet development in the countries under examination before it embarks on the website analysis of various environmental organizations in Finland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain and Greece. It will conclude with some thoughts about the web presence of the NGOs under inspection.

 

++++++++++

Why environment?

One of the reasons why this study focuses on environmental organizations is because ecological problems have been left out of the debate of citizenship for far too long (Steenbergen, 1994). However, environmental or ecological citizenship should be seen as an extension and a correction to the existing forms of Marshallian citizenship [1]. Furthermore, the ecological 'problematique' in global terms has only recently become an issue of concern. Many writers have stressed the significance of social movements in the extension of citizenship rights (Turner, 1986). The abolition of slavery, the 19th century labour movement, the 20th century women's, gay and civil rights movements have been paramount in the establishment of rights for blacks, workers, women and gays. Presently, though, environmentalism is the next social movement that will shape new forms of rights, and develop 'ecological citizenship'.

Another reason for the choice to study environmental NGOs is a stern belief in the notion that the Internet, with its potential for direct democracy, is well fitted for the promotion of environmentalism. The Green movement is attracted to the notion of direct democracy and has resisted the delegation of power to parliamentary representatives. There is also a tendency to view existing political structures (the parliament, governmental committees and so on) as part of the establishment. In this sense, there is an in-built fear within the Green movement that elected Green representatives would be seduced by the system, and their radicalism would be thereby compromised (Yearley, 1992).

Having said that, although the active role that social movement organizations play in moulding public concern is acknowledged, the symbiotic relationship Green pressure groups have with the media also needs to be taken into account. Environmentalism needs the media in order to make Green issues more widely known and motivate the largest audience possible. Enter the Internet. Cyberactivism has become the primary means to provide social movements with the tools of information and technology to organize, while also serving as a conduit to mobilize and coordinate opinions and action (as in the case of the 1999 Seattle anti-WTO movement and related anti-globalization protests). The use of the Internet by social actors creates a benchmark in social movement activity, as we experience the convergence of diverse movements into super movement spheres for the creation of universal social justice and rights charters, such as the Earth Charter and Charter99 for Global Democracy (Langman et al., 2000). This global interweaving is a sign of the materialization of a global sphere of movement activity. In fact, environmental protest is seen to allow the formation of "collective participation in nexuses of global action"c, where citizens can combine "cactive consumer society with direct democracy — on a world scale" [2]. Within this global nexus of responsibility, individuals — and not only their representatives — can participate in political decisions.

The role environmental NGOs can play within modern civil society becomes more pronounced once we take into account that a prerequisite for a well-functioning democracy is an actively participating citizenry. This means that citizens who have had access to all relevant information participate into collective decision-making through discussion and debate. Nevertheless, shrinking electoral participation, increasing dissatisfaction with politicians and parliaments, and decreasing levels of attachment to political parties have become clearly identifiable trends across Europe in the nineties. Such developments are cause for concern and raise hopes for the potential of the new social movements to strike a chord and mobilize the electorate towards political engagement and active participation.

Thus, in the light of the above, the Internet is seen as being able to bring together extra-parliamentary forces, citizens and the government in a round-the-globe alliance regarding environmental issues. The Internet can be an efficient and penetrating mass medium of motivation and shaping of public interest on ecological concerns, bypassing official narratives of information. Additionally, it creates a forum of international awareness not only of Green issues, but also of the pressure groups involved and the campaigning techniques they employ. In this respect, the Internet can play a crucial part in skilled campaigning and publicity.

 

++++++++++

Global forces and environmentalism

Globalization has many dimensions, but some of its most dramatic implications are in the sphere of the nation state, leading to a "new geography of power" across the world [3]. Global capital has made claims on national states, which in their turn have responded by producing new forms of legality that negotiate between national sovereignty and transnational corporate economic actors. The changing transnational forms of political action mean that issues of global governance, global citizenship and global civil society have now become of paramount importance (Sreberny, 1998).

What does it mean, though, to be a global citizen? Richard Falk suggests a number of ways through which the institution of citizenship can be extended beyond the traditional confines of the nation state, one of which concerns viewing global citizenship through the lens of environmentalism. In other words, the meaning of citizenship is re-envisioned as membership in the transnational ecological movement [4].

The environmental movement creates a sense of globality and forms of solidarity and identity that do not rest on appropriation of space. This global community of like-minded individuals sharing a common "socio-biological identity" [5] has intrinsically superseded the confines of the nation state as the problems and harms inflicted on the environment affect us all. Nevertheless, the Green movement at large comprises a complex network of organizations and lobby groups — others part of a decentralized mother organization like the Greenpeace, others emanating from national ecological bodies — which may well give the impression of a "cacophony of theory and practice" [6]. This apparent cacophony, although challenging the idea of a movement, is what precisely characterizes environmentalism as a decentralized, network-oriented, pervasive social movement.

This is important for a better understanding of how the Green movement functions, as, in recent years, the environmental agenda has shifted from focusing on discrete issues to adopting a holistic perspective (Princen and Finger, 1994). The adoption of ICT technology can — and in cases such as the Friends of the Earth has — played a pivotal role in enabling environmental organizations to respond effectively to the new agenda (Burt and Taylor, 2001). This is managed through the adoption of an integrated organizational response from campaigning organizations at the core of which lies effective knowledge transfer. ICTs enable individual local groups to share intelligence and expertise through the group network or other like-minded organizations, thus consolidating trends, and targeting recourses more effectively. Nevertheless, although this new way of knowledge management is conducive to new "ways of thinking" and "new ways of doing" [7] and should not be ignored, another feature needs to be identified: the overall low degree of electronic networking within the Green movement, as will be discussed, raises a cause for concern that the move from local issues to global consequences may be more often than not characterized by fragmented and segmented action at the local level rather than by holism. It may be, that is, that larger organizations with branches across various countries refer to one another on the Web, as will become evident in this research, however, their activities are not always or necessarily collaborative. In fact, the same organization can and does employ different strategies in different countries with varying effect — a point to which I will return. One thing that cannot be denied, nevertheless, is the fact that the withdrawal of the state worldwide from practicing regulatory functions with regard to multinational enterprises, particularly in relation to the environment, has led to a crisis in governance (Newell, 2000).

As a result of the erosion of national sovereignty by transnational processes associated with globalization, increased opportunities for subnational forms of governance have emerged. Contrary to the old social movements, new social movements (e.g., feminism, environmentalism, the peace movement, the human rights movement) have made democracy central to their political project, mainly through their ability to mobilise large segments of the population. A new "embryonic global public sphere" is opening up [8], providing a new arena that allows space and voice to social movements, non-state actors, global citizens, international organisations and states.

The spread of Internet use, particularly in Western countries, meant that the voice of the 'new' movements reached beyond the borders of the nation state and was heard by a global audience. In this way, globalization has opened new opportunities for participatory politics through an emerging global civil society that offers new opportunities for collective action. Furthermore, this new kind of participatory politics is conducive to what Habermas (1996) has seen as the locus of discursive democracy where the weight of democracy is put on its ability to generate communication. In fact, he continues, "there is a counterweight of emancipatory potential built into communication structures themselves" [9]. This means that grassroots political activists are in the position to employ the same tools of communication as transnational capital and cosmopolitan elites do in order to undermine the forces of "technocapitalism" [10].

Taking into account the above considerations, the main research questions in this paper are:

  • In what ways is the Internet conducive to discursive democracy when used by grassroots organizations, and more specifically by environmental groups in Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and Greece?
  • What kind of information is offered on the Web sites of some environmental organizations in the five countries?
  • How is this related with the level of Internet development in these countries?

 

++++++++++

NCTs in a national context: A bird's eye view of the level of Interent development in the countries under examination

Before going any further, it is worth presenting a quick overview of the Internet profile in the countries studied. This will provide an overall context for each national case study and will help contextualize the use of Internet technology by environmental groups.

Finland and the Netherlands are the most advanced countries in terms of Internet penetration with 42 and 39 Internet users per 100 inhabitants respectively (Table 1). The United Kingdom follows with 23 users per 100 inhabitants, while Greece is lagging behind with only seven users per 100 inhabitants. These statistics become more significant once the overall population data are taken into account. Hence, Spain's 10 Internet users per 100 inhabitants puts the country in the lowest rank among the five countries, and makes the case of Greece look more advanced in comparison.

In addition, if we look at the estimates of Internet penetration in companies, Finland comes across as the most technologically advanced of the five countries with an estimate of 95 percent, followed by the Netherlands and Britain. Greece, at 32 percent, may be showing the lower penetration rate, but this is relative since the Internet is a very recent affair in the country. Spain's 47 percent is another indication of the slow rate of Internet development in the country, particularly when compared to the Netherlands' 65 percent. This impression is accentuated further when the number of domestic Internet users is brought into account. Spain, has just over two million domestic users to show for out of an overall population of thirty nine millions, a figure than pales with insignificance when compared to the Finnish rate of 1,700,000 domestic users and the Dutch one of just over a million such users.

 

Table 1: Internet use (end 1999).
Data received from http://www.eu-esis.org/Basic/HomeBasic.htm, November 2001

 
Finland
Greece
United Kingdom
Netherlands
Spain
Population in 1999 5,159,600 10,533,000 59,247,000 15,761,200 39,394,300
           
Number of internet users 2,150,000 737,310 13,900,000 6,144,000 3,939,430
Number of Internet domestic users 1,700,000 nda 10,664,460 1,090,560 2,087,897
Number of Internet users per 100 inhabitants 42 7 23 39 10
Estimation of Internet penetration in companies 95% 32% 62% 65% 47%

 

As far as e-business activities are concerned, Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom demonstrate a turnaround above seven and a half million Euros per 100 inhabitants (Table 2). The U.K. has the most advanced e-commerce market generating four and a half million Euros. In Greece, the e-market shows a serious growth rate, while Spain paints again a very desolate picture with only 117 thousand Euros spending per 100 inhabitants and an e-commerce market of only 46 million Euros.

 

Table 2: e-commerce (end 1999).
Data received from http://www.eu-esis.org/Basic/HomeBasic.htm, November 2001

 
Finland
Greece
United Kingdom
Netherlands
Spain
e-commerce market (Euro Million) 412 121 4,581 1,195 46
e-commerce spending per 100 inhabitants (Euro) 7,983 1,145 7,732 7,585 117

 

Statistics in the number of PCs yield even more interesting results. In 1999, the United Kingdom appears to be the best-equipped with a total number of PCs per 100 inhabitants of 49, which is misleading (Table 3). It is only once the U.K. is compared with Finland that a more accurate picture is drawn. The total number of PCs per 100 inhabitants in Finland is 41.7, a truly interesting figure if we take into account the total Finnish population (just over five million people). This indicates the extent of technological advancement of the country. The overall number of PCs in the U.K. becomes relativized when its aggregate population is considered (fifty nine million people). Equally interesting is the Dutch picture, where the total number of PCs per 100 inhabitants is 35, while the total population is fifteen and a half million people. The Greek rate of 11 PCs per 100 inhabitants is modest, though looking hopeful to increase once all other data are taken into account. Spain, with only 15 computers every 100 people and a population of over 39 milllion, is ranked last in comparison to the other four.

A further point that deserves attention is the fact that in Finland and the Netherlands there is a fairly equal distribution of PCs at home and at the workplace. On the other hand, in Greece and the U.K. there is a marked difference between the number of computers used at home and at work in favour of the latter. Given that the robustness of the U.K.'s e-market is well-established, the higher ratio of business PCs in Greece indicates the emergence of the network society in the country.

 

Table 3: Personal computers (end 1999).
Data received from http://www.eu-esis.org/Basic/HomeBasic.htm, November 2001

 
Finland
Greece
United Kingdom
Netherlands
Spain
Total number of home PCs per 100 inhabitants 21 1 11 18 na
Total number of business PCs per 100 inhabitants 18 10 38 17 na
Total number of PCs per 100 inhabitants 42 11 49 35 15.2
Growth rate 1977-1999 (%) 17 38 4 9 13

 

Table 4 presents the extent to which the ICT sector is important in trade and in Research and Development in the countries under examination. The share of ICT in the total Finnish trade is 18 percent, a remarkable rate for such a small country, especially when it is compared with the 15 percent of the U.K. or Spain's 7 percent. Given the small size of the country, the Dutch share of ICT is equally high at 16 percent and well above the EU and OECD average shares. On the other hand, if we look at the share of R&D in information technologies within the total business sector, Greece scores a high 47 percent. At first glance, the Greek percentage indicates the importance the country ascribes to the ICT sector. However, this ratio has to take into account that Greece is not very strong in the field of Research and Development anyway (in the way the three Northern countries are) and focuses all its R&D activities in new technologies.

 

Table 4: Importance of ICT sector in trade and R&D spending (% in 1998) [11].
Data received from http://www.eu-esis.org/Basic/HomeBasic.htm, November 2001

 
Finland
Greece
United Kingdom
Netherlands
Spain
EU
Total OECD
share of ICT in total trade 18 8 15 16 7 11 12.8
share of ICT R&D in total business sector 51 47 22 20 21 23.6 34.6

 

What does this data tell us about the five countries? It becomes evident that there is a clear demarcation between North and South as far as the spread of new communication technologies are concerned, placing Finland, Britain and the Netherlands in the lead while leaving Spain and Greece in the rear. In fact, the rate of Internet and computer development in Finland and the Netherlands is often higher and more dynamic in relation to Britain's — once country size and population are taken into consideration. In this context, Greece makes another interesting reading as it demonstrates a very high rate of technological development in terms of NCTs. This leaves its other Southern Mediterranean counterpart at a disappointing state given the strength and vivacity of the Spanish economy, one of the strong players within the European Union. It will be interesting to see what conclusions can be drawn once the results of the Web site analysis of environmental organizations are considered bearing in mind the indicators above.

 

++++++++++

Web site analysis of environmental organizations in Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece

Research design

This analysis has concentrated on the Web sites of the national offices of international environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and Friends of the Earth. The rationale was to be able to compare the way the Internet is used as a device of collaborative action and awareness raising, and facilitates an active form of citizenship in the countries under examination. National environmental organizations have also been examined in order to see whether or not there is any difference between the two types of organizations regarding the use of the Internet. To the extent that that was possible, an effort was made to select national organizations with a large scope of activities and which concentrate on wide range of environmental issues. Sites were examined in the period from April to June 2001 — with the exception of the Dutch ones which were analyzed between December 2000-January 2001 — and reflect the state of the organizational Web page at that particular time. In each national case, organizations were examined on the basis of a standardized format (developed in the form of a spreadsheet) in order to facilitate the comparison of very diverse Web sites following some common features. These data can be found in Appendix 1. A description of the website of each environmental organization examined in all five countries is available in Appendix 2.

Overview of empirical findings

Finland
Greenpeace Finland
WWF (Finnish branch of the World Wildlife Fund)
FoE Finland
Dodo — living nature for the future
SLL (Finnish Association for Nature Conservation)
NOM (Finnish Swedish-Speaking Association for Nature Conservation)

Most environmental (as well as social) NGOs in Finland enjoy a high status and have become very influential within Finnish society. In fact, some of them can claim a highly institutional role. The state supports their work, which means that for many of them state funding represents most of their budget.

In terms of information provision, Finnish environmental organizations rate very high on the degree and user-friendliness of data offered.

Awareness-raising: All NGOs examined employed variety of techniques, such as informing people about themselves, their projects and initiatives, asking them to contribute (financially and otherwise), and motivating them to participate in discussion forums (especially Dodo, SLL and NOM).

Links: The majority provide links to their own branches both at local level and to other national and international environmental organizations. Greenpeace offers no links whatsoever apart from to links to its own branches. This is a conscious practice replicated in all the Greenpeace outlets examined so as to assert its independence from the state and other public agencies. Links to the Ministry of Environment, the European Union and similar international organizations are largely missing.

Language delivery: There is information partially offered in other languages, mainly English and Swedish. The only exception is the Finnish Swedish-Speaking Association for Nature Conservation (NOM) where the site is available solely in Swedish.

Interactivity/Deliberative communication: There is a difference between the national branches of international organizations and the national Finnish organizations. The latter are more willing to encourage and accommodate discussion forums. All of them provide facilities for feedback. Although a positive step, this is hardly sufficient.

The Netherlands
Greenpeace NL
WWF NL
The Mudflats Organization (Waddenvereniging)
Dutch Organization for Bird Protection (Vogelbescherming)
North Sea Foundation (Stichting de Noordzee)
Dutch Butterfly Organization (Vlinderstichting)

Information provision: The Dutch environmental Web pages are professionally-designed and user-friendly and offer information on the history of each NGO, its work and ongoing or past projects, on hot environmental issues and campaigns, on policy steps taken. Special attention is given to attracting children and young people.

Awareness-raising: Environmental NGOs make use of the following practices. They

  • call for the implementation of eco-friendly routines in the household (clean energy, non-GM food, etc.);
  • stress the importance of children's environmental education; and,
  • encourage contributions, support and volunteer work.

Links: Once again, Greenpeace offers no links except to the mother organization. The rest of the NGOs examined offer a wide variety of links to other ecological organizations at national and international level. A few of them provide links to the Ministry of the Environment, the European Union and to other policy makers.

Language delivery Takes place predominantly in Dutch with only two organizations offering some information in English.

Use of multimedia: This facility is generally underused, with only the WWF and the North Sea Foundation (Noordzee) making use of Webcams on their sites.

Interactivity: This is another instance where the ability of the Internet for deliberative communication is underplayed as only two organizations (Mudflats and Noordzee) provide such facilities. The rest exhaust their interactive potential with the provision of e-mail and feedback mechanisms.

Britain
Greenpeace UK
Friends of the Earth UK
World Wild Fund for Nature UK
Centre for Environmental Initiative
The Rainforest Foundation
Centre for Alternative Technology
Council for the Protection of Rural England

Information provision: There are differences between the various organizations as for example the Greenpeace and the FoE sites. There is input overload on the Greenpeace site, whereas the FoE page is easier to browse through. However, the overall impression is that the provision of zany and appropriate information will feed people's desire to change. Particular attention is also given to environmental education at community or school level.

Awareness raising: The British sites demonstrate a wide variety of sophisticated awareness-raising techniques such as

  • provision of information in a simple, easy-to-understand language
  • motivation towards active participation by giving reasons why this is required and by allowing people to join ongoing projects
  • practical advice as to how citizens can take responsibility for the environment at neighbourhood level
  • offering insight of the impact of alternative technologies
  • creating positive publicity on goals attained
  • advertizing privileges and perks of membership
  • organizing workshops and meetings
  • adverting job vacancies and opportunities for voluntary work
  • offering an A to Z to environmental fundraising.

Links: There are plenty of links on local, national and international level, though nothing referring to the Ministry of Environment or the EU.

Multimedia: There seems to be a more extensive and varied use of multimedia by British environmental NGOs. Games, even special games aimed at kids, a video library, and a Canon photo gallery are offered.

Interactivity: There is no opportunity for public discussion. Instead, the only means of communication is via e-mail and phone. In most cases feedback mechanisms are in place.

Interesting features: The WWF UK offers the opportunity to companies to collaborate with the NGO. In addition, the Centre for Alternative Technology allows interested parties to buy environmental-friendly products on its Web site.

Spain
Greenpeace
WWF/Adena
Ecologístas en acción
Amigos de la Tierra
Fundación Natura

The Web site analysis of the Spanish environmental NGOs demonstrates a predominance of information provision in relation to the facilitation of deliberative communication, something that applies to the international and national organizations in equal measure. Between the two international bodies, Greenpeace comes across as offering the most organized and comprehensive Web site. In terms of awareness-raising, all five organizations examined take an active interest, either by promoting the participation of different sections of the population — with particular emphasis given to children — or by trying to achieve collaboration between the actors involved, and secure financial contributions. Compared to the British, Dutch and Finnish awareness techniques, the Spanish environmental NGOs, nevertheless, appear to be lacking in sophistication and motivation. There are links available both at national and international levels, and even to the Ministry of Environment and relevant legislature, though not all organizations have a long list of links to exhibit. The use of multimedia facilities to help extend the reach of the environmentalists in Spain is also limited, with only limited animation or a photograph to show for in the best cases.

Language delivery: It appears that the environmental movement within Spain communicates only in Spanish (Castillano) and is not interested in attracting attention from the outside. There is only one case where information is offered in Catalán and English as well as in Castillano.

Finally, interactive communication is not very highly rated amongst environmental activists, otherwise more facilities for online deliberation would have been made available. While organizations seem to be happy to provide the public with an electronic contact address, no major steps have been taken so far to engage citizens in open and ongoing discussion and monitoring of environmental issues.

Interesting features: In Spain, similarly as in Britain, some environmental groups are promoting a collaborative policy with the corporate sector in order to enhance ecological sustainability.

Greece
WWF GR
EFAP (Greek Initiative against Hunting)
ARKTOUROS (Bear Protection Society)
EEPF (Greek Association for the protection of Nature)
GAWF (The Greek Animal Welfare Fund)
The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
Clean Up Greece (Ellada Katharh)

Greek environmental NGOs are heavier on information provision than on interactive communication. Even so, though, the provision of information is poor and restricted to a description of the objectives of each organization. Web pages have an amateurish look when compared to the 'funkier' British, Dutch and Finnish sites.

Various awareness-raising techniques are employed including: promotion of environmental education; organization of international conferences; volunteerism; animal adoption; merchandizing; suggestions for an eco-friendly behaviour; collaboration and campaigning with local actors.

Language delivery is mainly in Greek, although a number of NGOs are available only in English. The provision of links to either other environmental organizations or policy makers is largely absent. As far as interactivity is concerned, e-mail facilities are in place, though in most cases they go hand in hand with more traditional forms of communication such as phone numbers and postal addresses. Opportunities for feedback or discussion are non-existent. Links to other NGOs at local, national or international level as well as to the MoE, EU are also scarce.

Discussion of the Web presence of environmental NGOs

Hereby follow some points on the use of the Internet by environmental organizations on the basis of the Web site analysis conducted in this paper (in conjunction with Appendix 1):

A. Internet technology enables the transfer and sharing of intelligence, experience and expertise among various organizations and creates opportunities for collaboration within the Green movement. The majority of environmental NGOs across all five countries use the Internet to disseminate effectively knowledge about themselves, their mission and activities. The same applies with raising public awareness about major issues and mobilizing people into taking a more active and concerned stance towards the environment.

B. The interactive and deliberative potential of Internet technology in communicating a more activist ethos remains under-exploited and under-explored across the European Union. The Habermasian 'abstract publics' (1996) who visit environmental sites are still far from creating 'European-wide public spheres'. In reality, they are far more likely to constitute local public spheres. Additionally, the availability of a few discussion forums in a number of countries hardly guarantees that the public will engage in such discussions. And although it is nice to know that the facility is there, the fact remains that such rare opportunities for communicative interaction and participation target those members of the public who are already alert regarding ecological issues of global or local importance. The question of how to reach the wider, more apathetic audience still lingers on, though.

C. Equally important is the extent to which the society at large is open to environmentalism and lends a sensitive ear to Green issues. National contexts become relevant here. Britain, for example has a better profile to show because there is a critical mass of activists and everyday citizens who take an interest in the environment and are keen to do something about it. The voluntary sector has a long tradition in Britain, thus creating an overall positive context for the Green movement. Their efforts are generally supported by the British media, hence ecological issues have long been part of the public agenda. On the other hand, although the Green movement is gaining momentum in Greece, it will be a while before it becomes a top priority. The lack of a robust civil society in Greece accentuates the problem further since activism at the grassroots is under-developed. This becomes more pronounced by the low level of encouragement for new members and support demonstrated by the Greek organizations. This observation serves to reinforce the fact that some of the more successful examples usually cited [12], involve North American and Western European ecological agencies with a strong activist ethos and a long tradition, whereas the rest of the world is only now grasping the urgency of the issue. This is the result of the fact that the green movement was born out of nineteenth century ideas located in the industrializing West.

D. Truth be told, once the rates of Internet penetration at home, at work and in trade are taken into account, it easily transpires that the way environmental activists take advantage of the Internet's potential for information, communication and motivation is characterized by disparities across organizations and across countries and is generally under subscribed. I expected the more technologically and industrially advanced countries in Northern and Western Europe to exhibit a more effective, efficient Web presence as far as environmental NGOs were concerned, and to a certain degree this was proved correct. Hence, in terms of environmental Netactivism, Britain, Finland and the Netherlands come across as more elaborate and better organized. By contrast, in Spain and Greece the overall lower penetration of Internet technology, when compared to their Northern counterparts means that the environmental movement is still slow at exploring the possibilities of new technologies.

E. Only few organizations use multimedia facilities to enhance their online appeal in all five countries. Similarly, only few of them can increase their financial resources via commercial sponsoring and advertising. This is largely due to the fact that it is difficult to find a large number of companies willing to actively sponsor eco-friendly activities and practices –although there is evidence of a growing collaborative relationship between the corporate sector and certain environmental NGOs as seen in the case of Spain and Britain.

F. No major differences were found between the national branches of international organizations and the national ones in all countries examined, apart from the fact that the former were better-networked with like-minded organizations. However, the low level of links available to governmental and international environmental policy making and legislation across all case studies was disappointing.

 

++++++++++

Conclusions

What does the Web site analysis of environmental NGOs conducted in this paper say about the role of the Internet in the way democracy occurs? It appears that ecological organizations use the Internet for publicity purposes and for diffusion of information mainly, while the dimensions of discursive, interactive communication and the establishment of "nexuses of global action" are still underplayed. One of the main obstacles for the more efficient use of the Internet by environmental NGOs may be attributed to the lack of human and financial resources, and of technical expertise. In most cases, these organizations involve only a small number of people, working mainly on a voluntary basis. This may well mean that the Web presence of an NGO may depend entirely on the expertise of existing staff. In this respect, this points to the same direction as the research undertaken by Burt and Taylor (2001) whereby concern is voiced at the ability of voluntary organizations to attract and retain suitably qualified IT professionals (who usually demand higher salaries in the private sector). The disparities in the Web presence of various organizations across the five countries under inspection also point to the ambivalent relationship the Green movement enjoys with technology. Let us not forget, though, that environmentalism always had a controversial relationship with science and technology, ever since its emergence in the nineteenth century. However, it was mainly after the 1960s — when ecological ideas broke the confines of the Western intellectual elites and formed a mass movement facilitated by the development of the network society — that environmental discourse developed a deeper connection with science and technology. Despite its profound distrust of advanced technology, the Green movement relies on technology for gathering, analyzing, interpreting and diffusing scientific information (Castells, 1997).

Additionally, it would seem that the Internet is only one small part of the Green movement's strategic representation, more useful for intra- and inter-organizational collaboration and networking as well as networking amongst activists. The extent to which environmental NGOs can reach the wider public through the use of Internet technology will heavily rely on the level of Internet penetration and access in each national context, and the degree of national exposure to ecological problems as already discussed. New communication technologies are used in a way that complements and enhances already existing media techniques of issue promotion and awareness raising, rather than displacing them. After all, the Green movement has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the media for long. As Castells (1997) says, by creating events that call for media attention, the Greens are able to reach a much broader audience than their direct constituency. It is through this joint media representation that environmental issues become part of the public agenda. This subsequently leads to the mobilization at the grassroots as a result of a complex relationship between old and new media.

Various theorists have warned against the pitfalls of romanticizing about participatory politics in contemporary social movements. Nevertheless, the argument goes, this does not by any way mean that we must revert into a situation of 'anti-politics'. Instead, in the associational networks of civil society — in unions, parties, movements, interest groups and so on — the same people who have been "passive spectators who vote" make "many smaller decisions and shape to some degree the more distant determinations of state and economy" [13]. Similarly, any naēve optimism regarding the democratic achievements of the grassroots uses of the media are to be avoided, as is also a blunt dismissal of such optimism [14].

Although in principle I would have to agree with the above views, after completing the empirical research on the Web sites of various environmental organizations across Europe I need to review my standpoint. I embarked on this research hoping that I would be able to say that environmental NGOs, alongside international treaties, regional agreements and international law, are the perfect embodiment of the emerging regime of cosmopolitan democracy that David Held (1996) has conceived, allowing access to a variety of forms of political participation and promoting empowering rights. However, despite the importance attributed to the means of communication, and in this case the Internet, in reinforcing notions of democratic global citizenship, it seems that there is still a lot to be done before environmentalism can have fundamental transnational effects and before its messages are translated into political decision making (in this respect, the recent Kyoto agreement is only the beginning).

To what extent, then, can environmentalism, as one of the new social movements, contribute to the creation of a global civil society which will act as a constraint to global technocapitalism? The truth is that the establishment and development of a transnational — or in this case, a European-wide — public space by means of environmental Netactivism cannot wholly be dismissed. Nevertheless, there is a lot more to be accomplished before we can talk about global participatory politics. The extent to which the Internet can assist environmentalism to influence politics either 'defensively', that is by creating counterpublics, or 'offensively', that is by introducing issues to the larger society, will depend on the degree to which the national culture is sensitive to such issues. It will also depend on the degree of overall ICT development within a particular national context, as pointed out before. Let us not forget that

"computer technology is not an independent force working for the better or worse of democracy, but it is amplifying other political trends or reinforces existing institutions ... A comparison of different national contexts shows how specific political institutions and cultural trends shape various concepts of digital democracy" [15].

Hence, I do not argue that environmental organizations have not contributed towards "the enlargement of public space" [16]. I am, however, disappointed by the extent to this has materialized, since it seems that the environmental movement suffers from "ambivalence" [17] and shows an inability to struggle on the same scale and intensity by using the same technologies of communication as transnational capital.

On the other hand, perhaps we are all expecting too much of environmentalism, and some insight into the limitations of its impact should be useful. In order for environmental groups to act in the public interest and resume a role as international arbiters of green conduct they will have to rely on a broad-based appeal within society (Newell, 2000). Even in the case of more popular and well-known organizations, such as Greenpeace, their supporters usually represent a small fragment of the wider population which may not be so akin to environmental concerns. Furthermore, there are already few mechanisms for channeling supporters concerns into pressure groups, and this research has shown that the Internet is only one such means among many. If we add to this the importance of specific national contexts and the extent to which different societies react to environmental issues, the case becomes more complicated. To make matters worse, the existing structural inequalities that characterize the use and level of access of Internet technology (Adam and Green, 1998; Golding, 1996) as well as the differentiated level of technological development across countries, as discussed here, also need to be taken into consideration.

A final remark concerns suggestions for future research. A more robust and systematic research design is needed, one that will:

  1. Address the mobilization techniques of the Green movement.
  2. Make a comparison of the impact of Internet use in relation to the use of traditional media by environmental NGOs. This would illustrate further the differences and similarities between online and off-line tactics, and the extent to which they overlap and reiterate each other.
  3. Further study the defense strategies employed by the various national and international organizations across the five countries. Do, for example, organizations exercise 'liberal' (e.g. eco-consumerism, project collaboration with multinationals, codes of environmental conduct) or 'critical' (e.g. consumer boycott, exposure of corporate malpractice) environmental governance, and to what avail?
  4. Address differences amongst and within countries.
  5. Make comparisons across time.
  6. Combine findings from content analysis with those from interviews with representatives of social movements. End of article
  7.  

    About the Author

    Liza Tsaliki is the Director of the Department of International Collaborations at the Hellenic Culture Organization S.A., the institution running the Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004. She is also an IKY Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of Volos, Thessaly. She is working on a project on the use of telematics within larger and smaller cities.
    E-mail: etsaliki@hch.culture.gr

     

    Acknowledgments

    I thank Rita Uusalo and Taneli Mannikko from Turku University in Finland, Argyro Kagia and Maria Demestiha from the University of Athens, the students at the Universidad Autonoma in Barcelona, and Inge Verburg from the University of Nijmegen for their invaluable help in the Web site analysis of environmental NGOs.

    This paper is based on research done by the author while a Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Communications at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

     

    Notes

    1. A central figure within the classical theory of citizenship, T.H. Marshall, has defined citizenship in terms of the evolution of three types of entitlements, civil, political and social rights (1950). The first became naturalized in the eighteenth century, the second in the nineteenth, and the third in the twentieth century. Marshall envisaged citizenship in a passive form, whereby citizens were not required to participate actively in the management of social affairs. Later definitions of citizenship, however, have suggested that the passive acceptance of citizenship should be replaced by an active role which would include civic responsibilities (Rizman, 2000).

    2. Beck, 2000, p. 70.

    3. Sassen, 1996, p. 7.

    4. Falk, 1994, pp. 131-138.

    5. Castells, 1997, p. 127.

    6. Castells, 1997, p. 112.

    7. Burt and Taylor, 2001, p. 69.

    8. Devetak and Higgott, 1999, pp. 491-492.

    9. Habermas, 1996, p. 390.

    10. Kellner, 1999, p. 192.

    11. OECD, 1998, Measuring the ICT sector.

    12. Castells offers an interesting account of environmentalist groups at the cutting edge of NCTs as organizing and mobilizing tools, and particularly in the use of the Internet (1997: pp. 129-131).

    13. Walzer, 1991, p. 299.

    14. Calabrese, 1999, p. 273.

    15. Hagen, 2000, p. 56.

    16. Melucci, 1985, p. 815.

    17. Calabrese, 1999, p. 265.

     

    References

    A. Adam, A. and E. Green, 1998. "Gender, agency, location and the new information society," In: B. Loader (editor). Cyberspace divide: Equality, agency and policy in the information society. London: Routledge.

    U. Beck, 2000. What is globalization? Cambridge: Polity Press.

    E. Burt and J. Taylor, 2001. "When 'virtual' meets values: Insights from the voluntary sector," Information, Communication & Society, volume 4, number 1: pp. 54-74.

    A. Calabrese, 1999. "The welfare state, the information society, and the ambivalence of social movements," In: A. Calabrese and J.C. Burgelman (editors). Communication, citizenship and social policy: Rethinking the limits of the welfare state. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

    M. Castells, 1997. The power of identity. Oxford: Blackwell.

    R. Devetak and R. Higgot, 1999. "Justice unbound? Globalization, states and the transformation of the social bond," International Affairs, volume 75, number 3, p. 483-498.

    R. Falk, 1994. "The making of global citizenship," In: B. van Steenbergen (editor). The conditions of citizenship. London: Sage.

    P. Golding, 1996. "World wide wedge: Division and contradiction in the global information infrastructure," Monthly Review, volume 48, number 3, pp. 70-85.

    J. Habermas, 1996. Between facts and norms: Contributions to a discourse theory of law and democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    M. Hagen, 2000. "Digital democracy and political systems," In: K.L. Hacker and J. v. Dijk (editors). Digital democracy: Issues of theory and practice. Sage: London.

    D. Held, 1996. Models of democracy. Second edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    D. Kellner, 1999. "New technologies: Technocities and the prospects for democratization," In: J. Downey and J. McGuigan (editors). Technocities. London: Sage.

    L. Langman, D. Morris, J. Zalewski, E. Ignacio, and C. Davidson, 2000. "Globalization, domination and cyberactivism," Paper for Internet Research 1.0: The State of the Interdiscipline. First Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

    A. Melucci, 1985. "The symbolic challenge of contemporary movements," Social Research, volume 52, pp. 789-816.

    P. Newell, 2000. "Environmental NGOs and globalization," In: R. Cohen and S.M. Rai (editors). Global social movements. London: Athlone Press.

    S. Sassen, 1996. Losing control? Sovereignty in an age of globalization. New York: Columbia University Press.

    R. Sreberny, 1998. "Feminist internationalism: Imagining and building global civil society," In: D.K. Thussu (editor). Electronic empires. London: Arnold.

    B. van Steenbergen, 1994. "Towards a global ecological citizen," In: B. van Steenbergen (editor). The condition of citizenship. London: Sage.

    L. Tsaliki, 2001a. "Cyber democracy and the European public sphere," Paper presented at the international seminar on 'The need and possibility for a transnational public sphere: European experiences and challenges' (January), University of Tampere, Finland.

    L. Tsaliki, 2001b. "Globalization, democracy and civil society," Paper presented at the second MECCSA conference (January), Loughborough University.

    B.S. Turner, 1986. Citizenship and capitalism: The debate over reformism. London: Allen and Unwin.

    S. Yearley, 1992. "Environmental challenges," In: S. Hall, D. Held and T. McGrew (editors). Modernity and its futures. Cambridge: Polity Press in association with the Open University.

     

    Appendix 1: Web site analysis of environmental NGOs.

    United Kingdom              
    Provision of information and links              
      Greenpeace UK
    www.greenpeace.org.uk
    Friends of the Earth UK
    www.foe.co.uk
    World Wild Fund for Nature UK
    www.wwf-uk.org
    Centre for Environmental Initiative
    www.thecei.org.uk
    The Rainforest Foundation
    www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/rainhome.html
    Centre for Alternative Technology
    www.cat.org.uk
    Council for the Protection of Rural England
    www.cpre.org.uk
    Mission statement
    X*
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Foreign language delivery              
    Scope of activities
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Awareness raising/motivation for action
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Sponsors/advertising  
    X
    X
       
    X
     
    Publications/press releases
    X
    X
    X
     
    X
    X
    X
    Multimedia
    X
     
    X
       
    X
     
    Links to national environmental sites  
    X***
     
    X***
    X***
    X***
     
    Links to international environmental sites
    X**
    X
    X**
     
    X
    X
     
    Links to the Ministry of Environment/legislature              
    Links to EU and other international associations        
    X*****
       
    Media related links        
    X
       
                   
    Communication/interactivity:              
    E-mail
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Postal address, phone              
    Chat room/forum              
    Feedback form
    X
    X
    X
    X
         
    Possibility to join as member
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Possibility to contribute, donations
    X
    X
    X
    X****
    X
    X
    X

    * only for the Greenpeace Envir. Trust; not about the overall mission of the NGO
    ** links to own branches only
    *** links at local level also available
    **** appointments for meetings and workshops also in place
    ***** this is the only organization that sumbits proposals to the EC

     

    Finland            
    Provision of information and links            
      Greenpeace Finland
    www.greenpeace.se/fi/index.asp
    WWF (Finnish branch of the WWF)
    www.wwf.fi
    FoE Finland
    www.maanystavat.fi
    Dodo — living nature for the future
    www.dodo.org
    SLL (Finnish Association for Nature Conservation)
    www.sll.fi
    NOM (Finnish Swedish-Speaking Assoc. for Nature Conservation)
    www.naturochmiljo.fi
    Mission statement
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Foreign language delivery
    SW, DA, NO, E
    E
    E
    E, SW
    E, DW
    X***
    Scope of activities
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Awareness raising/motivation for action
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Sponsors/advertising    
    X
         
    Publications/press releases
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Multimedia            
    Links to national environmental sites  
    X
    X**
    X**
    X**
    X**
    Links to international environmental sites
    X*
    X
    X
     
    X
    X****
    Links to the Ministry of Environment/legislature        
    X
     
    Links to EU and other international associations        
    X
     
    Media related links        
    X
     
                 
    Communication/interactivity:            
    E-mail
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Postal address, phone            
    Chat room/forum      
    X
    X
     
    Feedback form
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Possibility to join as member
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Possibility to contribute, donations
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X

    * only to other Greenpeace orgs around the world
    ** links to own branches at local level are also available
    *** site available in Swedish only — no information available in Finnish
    **** links to Nordic NGOs

     

    Netherlands            
    Provision of information and links            
      Greenpeace NL
    www.greenpeace.nl
    WWF NL
    www.wwf.nl
    The Mudflats Organization (Waddenvereniging)
    www.waddenvereniging.nl
    Dutch Organization for Bird Protection (Vogelbescherming)
    www.vogelbescherming.nl
    North Sea Foundation (Stichting de Noordzee)
    www.noordzee.nl
    Dutch Butterfly Organization (Vlinderstichting)
    www.vlinderstichting.nl
    Mission statement
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Foreign language delivery        
    E
    E
    Scope of activities
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Awareness raising/motivation for action
    X
    X
    X
    X
     
    X
    Sponsors/advertising  
    X
    X
    X
     
    X
    Publications/press releases
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Multimedia  
    X
       
    X
     
    Links to national environmental sites  
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Links to international environmental sites
    X*
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Links to the Ministry of Environment/legislature  
    X
    X
     
    X
     
    Links to EU and other international associations  
    X
       
    X
     
    Media related links            
                 
    Communication/interactivity:            
    E-mail
    X
    X**
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Postal address, phone      
    X
    X
     
    Chat room/forum    
    X
     
    X
     
    Feedback form
    X
    X
         
    X
    Possibility to join as member
    X
     
    X
    X
     
    X
    Possibility to contribute, donations
    X
    X
    X
    X
     
    X

    * only to other Greenpeace orgs around the world
    ** plus e-cards, newsletter, FAQ

     

    Greece              
    Provision of information and links              
      WWF GR EFAP (Greek Initiative against Hunting) ARKTOUROS (Bear Protection Society) EEPF (Greek Association for the Protection of Nature) GAWF (Greek Animal Welfare Fund) The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece Clean Up Greece (Ellada Katharh)
    Mission statement
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Foreign language delivery  
    E
     
    E
    E
    E
    E
    Scope of activities
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Awareness raising/motivation for action
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Sponsors/advertising    
    X
         
    X
    Publications/press releases  
    X
     
    X
       
    X
    Multimedia              
    Links to national environmental sites              
    Links to international environmental sites
    X**
    X
             
    Links to the Ministry of Environment/legislature              
    Links to EU and other international associations  
    X
     
    X
         
    Media related links    
    X
           
                   
    Communication/interactivity:              
    E-mail
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Postal address, phone
    X
    X
    X
    X
     
    X
    X
    Chat room/forum              
    Feedback form              
    Possibility to join as member        
    X
    X
    X
    Possibility to contribute, donations
    X
         
    X
    X
     

    * all efforts to download the Web sites of Greenpeace GR and FoE GR were futile
    ** inks to WWF internationally are available

     

    Spain          
    Provision of information and links          
      Greenpeace
    www.Greenpeace.es
    WWF/Adena
    www.wwf.es
    Ecologistas en Acción
    www.ecologistasenaccion.org
    Amigos de la Tierra
    www.tierra.org
    Fundación Natura
    www.fundacionatura.org
    Mission statement
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Foreign language delivery      
    C and E
     
    Scope of activities
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Awareness raising/motivation for action
    X
    X
    X
    X
     
    Sponsors/advertising  
    X
     
    X
     
    Publications/press releases
    X
    X
    X
     
    X
    Multimedia
    X
         
    X
    Links to national environmental sites
    X
     
    X
     
    X
    Links to international environmental sites
    X*
    X
    X
     
    X
    Links to the Ministry of Environment/legislature
    X
     
    X
     
    X
    Links to EU and other international associations    
    X
     
    X
    Media related links          
             
    Communication/interactivity:          
    E-mail
    X
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Postal address, phone    
    X
    X
    X
    Chat room/forum    
    X
       
    Feedback form          
    Possibility to join as member
    X
    X
    X
       
    Possibility to contribute, donations
    X
     
    X
       

    * to Greenpeace international and Greenpeace United States

     

    Appendix 2: Description of organizations under review.

    Finland

    The size of the selected national organizations varies from 200 to 27,000 members. In addition to the central organization, all selected organizations have local associations and co-operate with other national and international organizations on environmental issues.

    Greenpeace Nordic

    Greenpeace was set up in Finland in 1989. In May 1998, Sweden, Norway and Finland formed 'Greenpeace Nordic' with headquarters in Stockholm. Denmark joined the Nordic co-operation later in March 1999. Greenpeace Nordic has approximately 100,000 members, 3,000 of which come from Finland. The Web site is updated both in the Finnish office in Helsinki and in the headquarters in Stockholm. Net pages in Finnish have been available since 1999.

    Because of the co-operation between the Nordic countries, the information offered via the Web is general. Having said that, Finnish national and local issues and projects are promoted. There are no links to other environmental organizations within Finland, a feature replicated across all sister branches. This is mainly due to the fact that Greenpeace sees itself as an independent worldwide organization, which takes interest in the larger picture. Its policy is to be pro-active, which can be noticed from its Web pages, especially compared to the WWF site. Most of the articles are about actions taken, followed by awareness-raising Web content.

    The Web site of Greenpeace Nordic is updated on a daily basis, and revolves around Finnish and international issues. When asked via e-mail about the way in which the Web pages work and the number of visitors they receive, Greenpeace Nordic replied two weeks later, apologizing for the delay. The site is user-friendly, fast, clear and gives an overall description of the organization and its projects.

    Language delivery is very efficient. There are articles available in all the Nordic languages as well as in English. As mentioned above, the main difference between the Greenpeace site and other ones is the degree of autonomy and self-containment. There are no links to other organizations (apart from Greenpeace branches worlwide that is), ministries, or the media.

    The Finnish branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Finland) describes itself as a politically and economically independent organization, which emphasizes its work to the concentration of seas and forests and to the retardation of the climate change.

    WWF International, the holding organization of WWF Finland, is the world's largest private nature conservation organization with 4.7 million supporters and a global network active in some 100 countries. Its mission is to protect nature and biological diversity.

    The Finnish branch of the World Wildlife Fund was founded in 1972 to fight the extinction of the white-tailed eagle. Today the conservation programs of WWF Finland focus on forests, the Baltic Sea, fresh water ecosystems, the Arctic and landscapes. Activities within these five programs include field projects, lobbying, information and awareness raising. WWF Finland is funding many projects in the neighboring areas in the Baltic and the St. Petersburg region and plays an important role in following up the international agreements and conventions signed and ratified by Finland.

    The Web pages of WWF Finland are very modern, visually attractive and are partly available in English. Beautiful photos and the cute panda logo follow the visitor everywhere. The site clearly targets the wider public, the idea being that anyone interested in the work of WWF Finland will find relevant information on its Web site and, hopefully, will become an active supporter by the end of their visit. There is information about national and international projects a special information section ('WWF Naturewatch') for schools and youth interested in environmental issues. Other information includes data about the organization itself, current campaigns and events, an up-to date event calendar, and press releases. There are various links to national eco-friendly associations, to WWF International as well as to other international environmental NGOs. In terms of interactive communication, there is possibility for feedback via e-mail and form to the organization and to project leaders.

    Dodo — living nature for the future

    Dodo was founded in July 1995. Dodo discusses environmental issues openly and brings together people from different fields to look for comprehensive views. Dodo is a flexible and pluralistic organization. Members have varied backgrounds and that is the source of strength when different experts, lay persons and enthusiastic young people combine their knowledge.

    The organization takes its name from a bird, which was one of the first species known to have become extinct. It started as a small organization and later added many new projects to its scope of activities. The layout of its Web pages is clear, and based more on text rather than on images. Regarding language delivery, almost all information is offered in English and Swedish.

    Dodo is interested in public participation and involvement, hence the inclusion of a public discussion forum on their Web site. Also included are links to discussion groups. Discussion topics are advertized on the opening page. The organization makes a point that it values discussions between different kinds of people and wishes to bring together their knowledge and concerns about the environment. However, it is one thing to provide a forum for public discussion. How many members of the public actually bother to participate is another.

    Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (Suomen luonnonsuojeluliitto, SLL)

    SLL is the largest non-governmental organization for environmental protection and nature conservation in Finland. It has approximately 27.000 individual members in 207 local nature conservation associations, organized in 15 regional districts. The SLL quickly acquired a highly institutional role in the Finnish society as a specialist in the environmental issues. Founded in 1938, their overall objective is to promote environmental protection and nature conservation nationally and internationally. This includes far-sighted use of natural resources, and environment-friendly production methods; conservation of indigenous nature, animals, plants, and valuable natural areas for future generations and ecologically sound ways of life.

    In order to pursue these objectives, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation promotes public awareness and environmental education. It publishes a monthly magazine called Suomen Luonto (Nature of Finland) and a newspaper for members that goes out ten times a year. It also publishes other kind of environmental material like books, brochures, leaflets, and calendars and organizes study courses, seminars, excursions, camps, public meetings and national and local campaigns in order to promote public awareness.

    The Association has taken a conservative approach to their Web site, not too hippie, not too modern, simply doing the job of providing information about them against a 'forest green' background. The contents of the Web site, however, compensate for its traditional image by being versatile and very user-friendly. The organization does not advertise itself very much on its own Web pages, but puts the emphasis on informing the people.

    They clearly target the wider public through their site. Anyone interested in environmental issues will find plenty of information and links to other environmental information on the pages. At the same time, the content is also informative to the members of the organization, who can find out about current events and campaigns. There is an event calendar, always up-to date, and press releases available in Finnish, English and German. The problem is that although there is plenty of information about the organization in English, it is impossible to find unless the visitor is fluent in Finnish (since one has to follow the Finnish links to find the English and German ones!).

    The site also provides a huge collection of links, for example to the youth organization of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (called Luonto-Liitto), where children and young people can find colourful pages with environmental information, many games and discussion forums. On the main page, links can also be found to the Nature Photo Agency, to the SLL-owned magazine Suomen Luonto (Nature of Finland) and to the production and marketing company Suomen luonnonsuojelun Tuki Oy (Support for Nature Conservation Ltd). The company finances, produces and distributes books, guides, nature posters, postcards and various nature-oriented articles to promote public awareness and raise funds for the work of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. There is a large collection of links to other Finnish and foreign environmental organizations, hobby organizations related to nature, and to all kinds of environmental information (the state of the environment, animals, energy, climate, forests, population etc…), to government and environmental legislation, international organizations (EU, UN) and the media. An interesting detail is also the link collection to peace organizations.

    The Finnish Swedish-speaking Association for Nature Conservation (Natur och Miljö, NOM) is the largest Swedish-speaking non-governmental organization for environmental protection and nature conservation in Finland. (In addition to Finnish, Swedish is the other official language in Finland.) The organization has members in 23 local nature conservation associations in Swedish-speaking Finland. It is the largest Swedish-speaking environmental organization in Finland, and plays an especially important role in the Swedish-speaking island of Åland and in other regions of the (mostly Swedish-speaking) archipelago. The organization focuses its interests on seas, forests and the archipelago.

    Its Web site is traditional and clear, and is available only in Swedish (instead of including Finnish as well) which is surprising. The provision of information on the background of the organization is very poor as nothing is available regarding its objectives and history. The Association seems also shy to advertize itself through its web site. NOM seems to be targeted mostly to its members, who can find information about current events and campaigns on the pages. There are links to other Finnish and Nordic environmental organizations, and the NOM magazine although the links are quite difficult to find (they are located under the title 'actual just now', in the middle of the press releases and other actual information). There is a link to the youth branch of the Finnish Swedish-speaking Association for Nature Conservation with plenty of environmental information and activities for children and young people.

    Friends of the Earth

    Friends of the Earth Finland is a membership organization and coalition of individual members, action groups, local FoE organizations and like-minded Finnish NGOs. It was founded in June 1996 in Turku. FoE Finland is a member of Friends of the Earth International, which has member organizations in more than 50 countries all over the World. The objective of the organization is to promote amongst other: the creation of democratic and ecologically sustainable society; locally-oriented economy; social, economical, political and intergenerational equality; protection of Earth from further destruction; preservation of World's ecological, cultural and ethnic diversity; co-operation of organizations and progressive groups.

    FoE Finland has a wide scope of activities and about 500 members. Compared to Greenpeace, the Web site of FoE Finland focuses mainly on local and national issues and projects. The site is not particularly user-friendly and takes time before the visitor can get hold of the information on offer. In terms of motivation for action and awareness raising, FoE only offer headlines on special topics, which means that the visitor has to address project leaders directly via e-mail in order to find out more. At first glance, the Web content seem to be targeted largely to FoE's members. Language delivery can be easily found, but information in English is quite narrow in scope.

    The Netherlands

    Greenpeace raises awareness of international environmental problems through non-violent action. Greenpeace Nederlands (www.greenpeace.nl) was founded in 1978 and grew very rapidly. Presently, there are almost 600.000 supporters of the organization, 80 full-time employees and 650 volunteers who support Greenpeace annually through various actions.

    Greenpeace Nederlands' Web site resembles other Greenpeace sites. It is user-friendly, with ample information on current issues and is constantly up-dated. Furthermore, there is a lot about the organization itself, its mission statement and history. Another important item on the site is the possibility to contribute to Greenpeace by becoming a volunteer, or a supporter. There is also an opportunity to apply for a vacancy on Greenpeace Nederlands, as well as a commercial outlet: visitors can buy t-shirts, postcards, and calendars online. The public can contact Greenpeace Nederlands via e-mail whereby questions or remarks about the organization can be raised. The form can be faxed or send by post. Online protest, for instance against Japanese whaling or genetically manipulated food, is also possible by signing a form. What is remarkable about the Dutch Greenpeace, is the fact that only one (external) link can be found, to the mother organization Greenpeace International.

    World Wild Fund

    The Web site of the Dutch WWF (Wereld Natuur Fonds) can be found on http://www.wwf.nl. It is extensive and seems similar to the Greenpeace.nl at first glance. There are WWF actualities, news, environment related projects, and possibilities to contribute and support the organization on national and regional level. Also included is a section for kids and vacancies. However, the Dutch WWF site, unlike Greenpeace, provides many links to other environmental Web sites, both national and international. Additionally, there are various tools available such as screensavers, e-cards, games and a photogallery for visitors to set as wallpaper on their desktop. World Wide Fund Netherlands is sponsored by a couple of support associations. All questions, suggestions and critical remarks are welcome under the link 'react'. Visitors can fill in a form and e-mail it to WWF Netherlands. A weekly electronic newsletter helps people stay in touch with the NGO.

    The Mudflats Organization (Waddenvereniging) was established in 1965 in order to promote and protect the mudflats — a part of the Dutch national heritage. There are approximately 120 volunteers and 46.000 supporters active in this organization. Waddenvereniging devotes itself to protect and preserve the Mudflats Sea (Waddenzee) in the north part of the Netherlands by fighting against political plans and activities which may pose a threat to the area.

    Waddenvereniging's Web site (www.waddenvereniging.nl) is extensive and professionally designed. There is information about the organization itself, its history, volunteers and employees, goals and policy. Also available is special information about the activities and campaigns of the organization on marine issues, a kids' site, an archive of press releases, the possibility to contribute in a mutflats related forum and to become a member or supporter of the waddenvereniging. The organization can be contacted by e-mail. There is an extensive variety of links to various environmental authorities and policy makers, to users of the Waddenzee, and to German and Danish mutflats NGOs.

    Dutch Organization for Bird Protection (Vogelbescherming)

    This organization was set up in 1899. The prior motive behind it was bird killing as a result of fashion; feathers or even whole birds were used as decoration on ladies' hats. Today, Vogelbescherming devotes itself to protect birds living in the wild. As birds are not bound by frontiers, international collaboration is very important, which is why Vogelbescherming is the Dutch partner in Birdlife International. The number of its members and supporters has come up to 108,000, who do not only represent adults, but children as well (there is an extensive and informative scheme of youth membership).

    The Web site of the Vogelbescherming (www.vogelbescherming.nl) is extended, full of information and comparable to the site of Waddenvereniging. Emphasis is given to the connection between Vogelbescherming and Birdlife International, and to promoting the history and goals of the organization. There is plenty of information about bird protection activities, protected bird areas, policy on bird protection and the organization's point of view concerning bird hunting. Vogelbescherming has a special information center where visitors can find all kinds of information about birds. Also available online is the possibility to contribute as a supporter or member in the NGO, and to contact them via e-mail. Finally, there are various links to other bird or nature-related associations, at national and international level.

    North Sea Foundation (Stichting de Noordzee)

    This foundation is a Dutch professional environmental organisation with 10 employees working towards the sustainable use of the North Sea. Stichting de Noordzee is a lobby organisation rather than an 'action group'. Its constructive approach enables it to influence the marine environmental policies of public administration. It can also influence user groups such as fisheries and shipping. Action is undertaken only if really necessary. The foundation's main issues include offshore wind turbines, shipping, fisheries and general awareness-raising. On national level, Stichting de Noordzee works intensively together with other environmental and water organizations, like Waddenvereniging. Internationally, it works closely with Seas at Risk and Friends of the Earth International.

    Its Web site (www.noordzee.nl) is user-friendly, and mainly informational. There is up-to-date information on all its projects in different categories: nature, navigation, construction, fishing, water and ocean floor. Within these sub-categories, various category-relevant links are available. Furthermore the site provides actual news and press releases. A free digital SEA MAIL comes out four times a year which provides an update of the various developments in the North Sea. Communication facilities involve email and postal addresses through which the public can volunteer information on marine issues. Finally, the Foundation arranges discussion forums on environment-related themes several times per year. Archives of former forums can be downloaded in order to offer more insight to visitors.

    Dutch Butterfly Conservation

    This organization was founded in 1983 as an offshoot from Wageningen Agricultural University. It aims at the conservation and restoration of butterflies and dragonflies in the Netherlands and Europe. Employees carry out research, provide consultancy and offer information and education. The Dutch Butterfly Conservation is an independent non-governmental organization, its income originating from donations, commissions, project subsidies, courses, lectures and merchandizing. The Dutch Butterfly Conservation has about 30 employees. Each year, several students come to Conservation to acquire working experience. Over 1,500 volunteers, spread over the whole country, participate in research projects, part of them organized in local branches. Furthermore, The Dutch Butterfly Conservation has almost 5,000 supporters whose donations help towards restoring and conserving butterflies and dragonflies. The supporters receive the journal Vlinders four times a year.

    The Web site of the Dutch Butterfly Conservation (www.vlinderstichting.nl) looks very professional and is available in English as well. It provides information about the organization, their research projects and consultancy services, education, and volunteers. Also available is information on merchandizing, membership and support, vacancies. The site provides a FAQ page, and invites visitors to actively contribute to the research into butterflies by sharing personal observations, butterfly countings and inventories with the organization. An e-mail address is offered for questions, reactions and comment. Finally the Web site provides links to sites of international butterfly conservation, moths, dragonflies and other related sites.

    United Kingdom

    Greenpeace UK consists of two bodies: Greenpeace Ltd. which deals with activism, public pressure, lobbying and finding solutions, and the Greenpeace Environmental Trust which is responsible for funding schemes of environmental education at international and national level. The Web site of the British branch of Greenpeace (www.greenpeace.org.uk) is daily updated with all the latest environmental news. Greenpeace is interested in mobilizing the public into participating in their activities, which is the reason why they are so good in providing links to their latest campaigns, projects and actions. Particular attention is given to future supporters of Greenpeace by offering links to the international branches of Greenpeace, information on how to support, donate and become a member online. Ample information is also given about the background of ongoing campaigns. Apart from providing the visitor with a multimedia facility for online environmental games, Greenpeace UK has also foreseen the possibility for public feedback regarding the design and user-friendliness of its web content. It is worth noting that, once again, there are no links or other references to similar NGOs, the media, public administrators and policy makers.

    Friends of the Earth

    The Web site of the British FoE is very user-friendly and functional, particularly with regard to the organizations's aims and activities (www.foe.co.uk). FoE see themselves as "the UK's most effective environment group" with the goal to "campaign hard on your behalf — to fight dangerous climate change, toxic pollution and untested genetically engineered foods". Through a special 'campaign express', interested parties can sign online and "receive free campaign packets in the post with simple things you can do to make your voice heard". The Web page is more oriented towards UK-related issues rather than international ones, hence the links page to all 219 local FoE branches across the U.K. A magazine is used to further promote environmental actions. Local citizens can find out more about activities undertaken in their constituency by filling in their post code or town name. FoE UK is also very well connected with other ecological NGOs both at national and international levels and with enterprises that follow eco-friendly practices. Contrary to Greenpeace UK, FoE offers an archive of press releases and the facility of a mailing list. Overall, this is a site easy to browse through, as opposed to the Greenpeace site which is characterized by information overload.

    World Wild Fund for Nature

    This is another instance of a well-structured and well-designed webpage, where its mission and strategies are clearly demarcated (www.wwf-uk.org). Navigating through the site is a hustle-free enterprise, with plenty of surprises that keep the visitor's interest unspoiled. The site focuses extensively on issues on animal welfare and includes an archive with the most important weekly news since 1996. A remarkable feature is the multimedia facility whereby specially-made video documentaries can be downloaded. Also available is a multimedia programme for children, a photogallery, and a video library. The organization takes active interest in providing educational programmes for schools, as well as information on fundraising (through the A to Z of fundraising). The site provides a mailing list, feedback and guest-book facilities.

    Centre for Environmental Initiative

    The CEI presents its mission and objectives and the ways in which these can be attained on a Web page where green is the dominant colour (www.thecei.org.uk). It states that "the CEI was born to promote a better awareness of environmental problems and the potential of resolving them with talks, presentations and scientific advice to organizations and educational institutions". It targets people interested in green lifestyles, community projects, A-level students and above, teachers, professionals and researchers. It does not get involved in in-depth analysis of environmental topics inasmuch as in giving practical advice as to how to be more environment-friendly. Although there is plenty of room for improvement, this is a good and satisfying Web presence.

    The Rainforest Foundation

    The Foundation (www.rainforestfoundation.org) is a British NGO that aims to protect tropical rainforests. Its mission is to support indigenous people in securing and managing the natural recourses in ways that do not harm their environment and do not compromise their future. This is one of the few organizations which submits proposals to the European Union through its Web site, without failing to provide information on the rainforest, its peoples and the reasons why they need protection. There are plenty of links to various ecological organizations, while the main ongoing project is the protection of a small tribe in Kenya. Particular emphasis is given on the ways to support, donate, and participate in current activities.

    Centre for Alternative Technology

    The Centre for Alternative Technology is not exactly a non-governmental organization, though it does demonstrate a strong presence in environmental protection and action. Its Web site is one of the most interesting and best-archived of those examined (www.cat.org.uk). It is very easy to navigate and offers plenty of useful information on the possibilities for action initiated by CAT. It is concerned with the search for globally sustainable and ecologically sound technologies and ways of life. The role of CAT is to explore and demonstrate a wide range of technological alternatives related to, among others, land use, energy conservation, waste management, and recycling. Through its resident community and work organization, CAT is also committed to the implementation of co-operative principles and best environmental practices.

    Council for the Protection of Rural England

    The CPRE is a national charity which helps people protect the countryside when under threat and enhance it when there is opportunity. It promotes the more sustainable use of land and other resources in town and countryside. Established in 1926, the CPRE has 43 country branches and 200 local groups backed by an influential head office in Westminster. It represents a powerful combination of effective local action and national campaigning through the use of established procedures and processes. Its Web site aims to communicate and promote the importance of environmental protection, and the protection of natural heritage. A special feature is the fact that the organization presents its various policies in detail and offers reasons that lead to them.

    Spain

    Greenpeace España

    The home page of Greenpeace España (www.greenpeace.es) presents the latest campaigns run by the organization on an international level (though most of these originate from North America), as well as details of other successful plights. Interestingly enough, Greenpeace has a separate home page for its offices in Barcelona. Information about the organization (its history, projects, offices etc.) can be found at a specially designated area on the Web site, Por dentro (From the inside). Information about the latest environmental developments can be found under the rubric Noticias (News). There are several links to various environmental issues such as biodiversity, disarmament, nuclear energy and toxics, atmospheric pollution, while the hyperlink Campañas gives a detailed report of various actions initiated by the organization. Special attention is given to the education of the younger generations, hence the link directing young visitors to a page designed for them. Also included is a Catalogue (Catálogo) through which various kinds of merchandizing is available online, like shirts. In addition, it is possible to become a member and make donations online, while Cyberactivistas offers the possibility to take active part in ongoing campaigns. The home page also includes a Web map (Mapa de la Web) and a search engine (Buscador) to facilitate navigation. Overall, Greenpeace España has an interesting though complicated Web presence.

    World Wild Fund/Adena

    The Spanish WWF (ww.wwf.es) has a much smaller Web site in comparison to Greenpeace. Its main page reports the latest news regarding the organization, though not in a detailed form. The various activities executed by the NGO (both present and past) are presented in a calendar form in the section Voluntariado, where it is also possible to join WWF as a member. The possibility to join the organization is also available via the link Socios where visitors can download and then submit the appropriate form. The organization pays much attention in raising public awareness regarding nature conservation at an international level and has therefore provided links to related addresses and general information in the section Conservación. In addition, the WWF is keen to attract the participation of academics and students. Visitors can purchase books on nature online via www.bol.com in Publicaciones (Publications). WWF is also adept in providing links to all its branches and local groups nationwide. Similar to Greenpeace Spain, the WWF has set up a Tienda (Shop) where shirts and various office consumables can be purchased. The downside, however, is that this is not an online facility. Instead, users have to download and fill in a coupon and then send it via surface mail.

    Ecologistas en Acción (www.ecologistasenaccion.org) is a public body comprising over three hundred ecological groups, responsible for the organization of awareness campaigns, as well as of public denunciations of activities that harm the environment. Its Web site is extremely comprehensive and includes: a section under the title Ecologistas en Acción which serves a corporate purpose. Various forms of collaboration and association with the federation are mentioned, as well as ways of taking part in different campaigns, doing voluntary work, and subscribing to the association. Merchandizing is also available on line via the link Tenderete. The Web site is keen in providing information about itself, hence a section on news related to the organization's activities and a calendar where important environmental events are noted, while a link under the name Direcciones provides the visitor with a list of various branches of the organization, and of the autonomous environmental associations that comprise it. Furthermore, there are plenty of links to other national and international organizations. Ecologistas can be contacted via their electronic address and is the only NGO of those examined that offers the possibility of conducting public debate in the section Opina (Opinion). An updated account of the number of Web visits is available in Visitas. The home page also offers a variety of visual information in the form of photographs and maps (a hydrological plan was available when this page was examined, as there was a map of animals on the brink of extinction across the Iberian peninsula). Other sections include information on Biotecnología and Cambio climático (Climatic change), an update on environmental issues coming from America, Australia and Portugal, the possibility to obtain more information on issues such as residues, uranium, etc., and news regarding ecological conferences worldwide. Once again, Ecologistas is the only NGO of those examined that includes access to environmental legislation. It is evident that this is a very detailed Web page, well-distributed and in order, where despite the wealth of information available, it is to navigate through with the help of a search engine.

    Amigos de la Tierra (Friends of the Earth)

    The home page of Amigos de la Tierra Spain can be found at www.tierra.org. The principal impression is that it is not as neatly organized as the page of Ecologistas and not as inclusive and rich. The organization provides information about its history and objectives, as well as its activities on diverse issues such as climatic change, residues, water supply, biodiversity, dessertification etc. Information about the various offices of the NGO and its international projects is also available. Amigos de la Tierra take environmental education seriously, hence a link devoted to such issues.In the section Quiosco (kiosk), visitors can find book titles on various ecological themes.

    Fundación Natura (Nature Foundation)

    The Nature Foundation (www.fundacionatura.org) is one of the first Spanish NGOs of its kind to have been set up in order to conserve biodiversity, and to protect, improve and restore ecosystems. Also, it is the only organization of those examined which has made a provision for language delivery in English and Catalán. Its Web site offers information on the history, objectives, financing, ways of participating of the organization, as well as its latest projects and activities, where premium position is occupied by a project on reforestation. With a touch of the mouse, the visitor can see those firms that take active interest and help the process of reforestation. The Web page provides a wide variety of links to other national and international projects and explains in great detail ways of financial and voluntary collaboration with the Foundation and of stimulating nature conservation. Once again, there is a list of enterprises which collaborate with the NGO on ongoing projects. It is possible to contact Fundación Natura via electronic e-mail. Overall, it has a well-informed and organized Web presence which serves as an instrument of communication with all associates.

    Greece

    One of the defining characteristics of the Greek case was the difficulty in finding a large enough number of environmental NGOs. Even among those finally found — a task that proved terribly time-consuming — the overall impression of their Web presence was that they looked amateurish and lacked imagination. To illustrate this deficiency further, during the time of the investigation it proved impossible to download the Web pages of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth GR. The sites are generally poor, and underdeveloped in terms of content, restricting themselves in describing their mission and offering very modest interactive facilities. There is a lot that can be done to mobilize the wider public towards active participation and direct action. Also under-represented is the area of link provision.

    World Wild Fund for Nature

    WWF GR was set up in 1990. At first sight, the Web site does not have very much to offer; it looks more like a leaflet that aspires to inform people about the various activities and projects initiated by the organization, albeit in a segmented way, and leaves the dimension of interactive communication largely under-developed. WWF is busy raising public awareness and support for the following: a campaign for the protection and conservation of the natural habitat throughout the 2004 Olympics in Athens; a survey for the protection of dolphins in Greece; a re-forestation project; the establishment of a national park at the lakes Prespes in North-West Epirus. The latter involves a trilateral agreement between Greece, Albania and FYROM. The provision of links is another unexploited area as the only one available is to the international office of the WWF.

    Greek Initiative against Hunting (Ellhniki Fysiolatrikh Antikynhgetikh Prwtoboylia, EFAP)

    EFAP was established in 1986 as a non-profit association. It is part of the European Federation against Hunting, of Europe for Animal Rights and of the European Coalition to end animal experiments. Its Web site is available in both Greek and English, and is the only Greek organization of those examined which offers links to other international environmental NGOs. Its activities involve environmental education with a special emphasis in the development of an ecological ethos, participation in and organization of international seminars and campaigns, general public awareness projects through collection of signatures, volunteering and much else. The interactive element is practically absent, as is the case in most Greek environmental Web sites.

    Arktouros (Bear Protection Society)

    Arktouros is fighting for the protection and conservation of wildlife and of populations under the threat of extinction, particularly the wild bear. It was established in 1992 as a non-profit organization and is funded jointly by the European Union, and the public sector. It employs groups of specialists who use radio-telemetry, geographical information systems, and on-the-spot evaluation methods in order to examine the land under protection. Arktouros also organizes projects against illegal hunting; participates in various protection schemes regarding the brown dancing bear (usually captured by gypsies and conditioned to dancing after 'practicing' on burning coal); initiates the protection and improvement of natural habitats. In most of these activities, Arktouros operates with the collaboration of the Ministry of Environment and the Forest Rangers. The organization takes its volunteering action very seriously as seen in the following key projects: voluntary work, including the European Voluntary Service, a project funded by the European Commission which allows young people between 18-25 years of age to offer their services in any member-state; public mobilization; awareness-raising at school level; fieldwork; bear adoption and sponsoring; merchandising. The organization demonstrates the most developed media profile among those examined, as it produces documentaries and short messages for the wide public in collaboration with the National Council of Radio and Television.

    Greek Association for the Protection of Nature (Ellhnikh Etairia Prostasias ths Fyshs, GAPN)

    This is an advocacy group, established in 1951 by academics, biologists, rangers, and other civil servants. Its main objective is nature protection and civic education regarding environmental issues. It is a member of various international environmental associations, and takes an active interest in mobilizing public participation, mainly through schemes of environmental education and campaigning for the Greek flora and fauna. GAPN also collaborates with various governmental departments and public services towards law amendments on environmental issues and the establishment of national parks and natural habitats.

    Greek Animal Welfare Fund

    This NGO was set up in 1959 by the British-born Eleanor Close who was moved by the state and numbers of stray animals in Greece. Its Web site is solely available in English. Therefore, the aim of the organization is to collect and take care of abandoned pets, as well as to attract donations and support from the wide public. It now funds 25 groups of animal protection while collaborating with the Veterinary School in Thessaloniki and various Agricultural Faculties. The GAWF is also involved in schemes of environmental education at school and community level, in offering consultancy services and practical advice, and in organizing campaigns for animal protection. It runs its own magazine, called Elpida (Hope), which is free to members and supporters. Overall, however, the level of information on offer is very poor, while the Web site at large is unimaginative and under-developed.

    Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece

    This is a specialized NGO, set up in 1983, with the main task to protect the loggerhead turtle in Greece. Its Web site is available in English. It has local branches in all the areas designated as the natural habitat of the species. The Society employs a number of ways of civic mobilization, such as art exhibitions, sponsoring of particular individuals, petitions for financial support, volunteering, a sea-life centre, presentations at schools, and 'The Turtle Briefcase' with audiovisual material on the sea turtles.

    Clean Up Greece (Ellada Katharh)

    Clean Up Greece is a non-profit organization which operates under the umbrella of the Municipality of Athens in collaboration with the United Nations and the 'Clean up the World' association. It aims to improve the environment by instigating a change in public attitudes and employs a wide range of means to this goal: it promotes volunteering, particularly among the young, and advertizes a new ecological consciousness through seminars, educational programmes and various activities; it collects statistical data regarding different segments of the population and the level of their environmental awareness; it contributes to the development of schemes of environmental vocational training in co-operation with local councils and the private sector; it also participates in actions funded by the European Union regarding the adoption of environmentally-friendly business practices.

     


    Editorial history

    Paper received 25 November 2002; accepted 1 February 2003.


    Contents Index

    Copyright ©2003, First Monday

    Copyright ©2003, Liza Tsaliki

    Electronic citizenship and global social movements by Liza Tsaliki
    First Monday, volume 8, number 2 (February 2003),
    URL: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_2/tsaliki/index.html





A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2017. ISSN 1396-0466.