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Environmental Politics in the Middle East$
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Harry Verhoeven

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190916688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190916688.001.0001

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Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa

(p.27) 1 Environmental Activism in the Middle East and North Africa
Environmental Politics in the Middle East

Jeannie Sowers

Oxford University Press

Environmental activism has intensified across the Middle East and North Africa over the past few decades, focusing primarily on environmental issues that affect public health and livelihoods. While intrusive security states limit information and stifle civil society, expanding educational opportunities, growing cities, and new means of communication have enabled environmental activism. This includes small-scale, informal, and localized activism to demand access to natural resources and environmental services; the spread of environmental nongovernmental organizations; and the coordinated popular resistance campaign that includes direct action, media outreach, and lobbying. State elites and official media often portray environmental mobilization as a threat to national security and state integrity, but sometimes tolerate it as an informal enforcement mechanism to pressure polluting firms and nonresponsive officials. As elsewhere, state and corporate actors also increasingly deploy their own discourses and interventions, generally focused on technocratic solutions rather than questions of political economy and environmental justice.

Keywords:   Environmental activism, Pollution, Social protest, Urbanization, Environmental regulation, Environmental NGO’s

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