Politics in Minutes (2016)

The Green movement

Inspired by books such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the Green or environmental movement originated in grassroots activism. From this emerged a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which have campaigned around various environmental issues, raising awareness and influencing organizations and policy. They include Friends of the Earth, which was launched in 1969 and today has 2 million activists in 73 countries, and Greenpeace, which emerged in 1971 and is known for its sometimes controversial dramatic direct actions. Because environmental issues are huge and often global, activists in the early days of the Green movement adopted the slogan ‘think globally, act locally’. As a result, local grassroots activism continues to play a significant role in Green politics, focusing on issues such as fracking, GM crops and road building. While Green activism is now worldwide, Green political parties have struggled to enter mainstream politics. Even so, in 2009 there were 46 Green MEPs in the European parliament, and the UK elected its first Green MP in 2010.