Outdoor Education - Development of interest groups and methods used to
Development of interest groups and methods used to influence decisions
Online activism: a new method of taking action on urgent issues.
An interest group  attempts to influence the making or implementing or
administering of government decisions. Interest groups range in size and
issues. There are large world wide groups that have core charters, but work
within local communities helping with issues that come under the core
values of the group, these include Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society and
The World Wide Fund for Nature. However, most interest groups are
single-issue groups which either seek to benefit the interest of their
members (trade unions, pilots, cattlemen) and/or have public-spirited
motives (environment groups, Amnesty International). Interest groups are
formed voluntarily and do not include government bodies (even though
government bodies sometimes act like interest groups). These interest
groups use a variety of different methods to influence the decisions of the
government and commercial companies. Methods include:
* direct action  - picketing,  strikes,  blockades , marches,
demonstrations,  protest, boycotts,  go slow and bans
* political strikes - not used to improve working conditions but to
protest against political decisions
* lobbying  - can be conducted directly by interest groups, or by
employing professional lobbyists who have access to government ministers
* petitions and letters
* use of media  - usually only wealthy groups can afford paid
advertising. Editorials and reports tend to be more sympathetic to groups
representing commercial interests.
It is interesting to see that as the wave of green euphoria recedes, the
thrill of electoral success gives way to harsh political reality. It often
seems that as individuals there is little we can do to help, beyond making
our own impact on the natural world as benign as possible. Twenty years ago
people concerned for the environment came together in the face of the old
threats, and used their collective strength to mount effective opposition.
Many of the organisations they formed still survive.
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