Proliferation of environmental groups in civil society

Public support for the environmental movement has been manifested by the establishment of nongovernmental organizations that emphasize various aspects of environmentalism. Some, like the Nature Conservancy, are engaged in the purchase of valuable environmental resources (mostly land and water), and others (e.g., Greenpeace) are engaged in political activism. Other key players include the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which play a role of information provision and policy support, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which is engaged in the implementation of conservation-related projects. A key activity of many environmental groups is educating consumers on the environmental implications of various goods and services offered in the marketplace and the mobilization of pressure from consumers on producers through their purchasing decisions.

Several studies have found that the demand for environmental quality is related to income. The demand for environmental services and goods varies across income groups, with higher income categories being more likely to focus on conservation, while for lower income groups the sustainable utilization of natural resources is a more pressing concern. In developing countries major environmental concerns are related to problems of water quality, waste management, and sanitation, particularly in urban areas, as well as the sustainable use of natural resources in the process of economic development. Countries with higher income levels are more concerned with natural resource preservation, such as the preservation of open space, and the protection of endangered species. In general, concerns about global environmental goods and services, such as biodiversity and climate change, have been driven by developed countries, although there is increasing awareness and concern of the importance of these issues among developing countries.

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