Environmental protest very often appears in localised forms: grassroots opposition to ‘development’ projects that grows out of an intuitive sense that a particular project is inappropriate. Such locally based campaigns are almost always accused of selfish or reactionary ‘nimbyism’, simply because local groups only appear to be interested in the locality. It seems that the lack of a national organisation, paid staff, bureaucratic processes and an endless stream of policy verbiage somehow offends the Establishment: if you don’t speak their language and play their games, they won’t acknowledge your interest in the issue on your doorstep.
Nevertheless, there is great strength in grassroots organising and a locally based campaign. Irish academic and activist Mark Garavan has recently provided some wonderful insights into this strength by examining the (still ongoing) opposition to a major gas refinery project in North Mayo, north-west Ireland.