Building the Next Ark: How NGOs Work to Protect Biodiversity / Edition 1

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Hanover / University Press of New England, Lebanon 2004 Softcover Revisiting New England: The New Regionalism Series. 276 pages. Softcover. Brand new book. ECOLOGY. A timely ... study of how NGOs are uniquely positioned to help prevent the greatest environmental crisis of all. A new ark is needed. With the extinction of perhaps 50, 000 species per year, we are at a critical juncture in history. Ominous storm clouds have gathered to threaten humanity's most basic resource of all, the diversity of life on earth. And the danger facing us&emdash; the possibility of losing forever hundreds of thousands of species with whom we share this planet&emdash; is magnified by the fact that this rapid decline of global biodiversity is too vast to be handled solely by states or their existing international institutions. Michael Gunter suggests that a fundamentally different route is needed to stem the ongoing extinction crisis. In an eye-opening appraisal of the current threat to global biodiversity, one that truly approache Read more Show Less

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Overview

A new ark is needed. With the extinction of perhaps 50,000 species per year, we are at a critical juncture in history. Ominous storm clouds have gathered to threaten humanity's most basic resource of all, the diversity of life on earth. And the danger facing us--the possibility of losing forever hundreds of thousands of species with whom we share this planet--is magnified by the fact that this rapid decline of global biodiversity is too vast to be handled solely by states or their existing international institutions. Michael Gunter suggests that a fundamentally different route is needed to stem the ongoing extinction crisis. In an eye-opening appraisal of the current threat to global biodiversity, one that truly approaches a deluge of biblical proportions, he concludes that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are the best and perhaps only actors situated to negotiate the powerful array of political and economic interests involved in species loss as well as species preservation.

Showing how NGOs fit into the landscape of international biodiversity protection and what makes them so effective, Gunter's innovative work demonstrates that NGOs provide invaluable assistance by fostering fundamental linkages between domestic and international, ecological and economic, and short- and long-term considerations. Such linkages are strategic. They defuse special-interest political agendas and open up avenues for discussing biodiversity issues worldwide. In short, they help build the next ark.

Gunter focuses on the symbiotic relationship between a handful of specific mainstream and participatory strategies employed by a diverse group of well-known environmental NGOs (Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, to name but a few). Determining which strategies work and which do not, this text offers a detailed prescription for how NGOs can improve their species protection efforts. It looks at how NGOs work within the system. It looks at how NGOs work with people. And it looks at how NGOs must work on themselves. While scholars have previously outlined the essential functions of NGOs, Building the Next Ark is the first to look at how their day-to-day operations translate into truly effective biodiversity protection.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Nola Theiss
Michael Gunter has written an academic study of the role of non-governmental agencies in protecting the environment and biodiversity. While many of the organizations he cites are familiar to the palest green environmentalist, such as The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund, their role beyond educating the public and advocating for stronger environmental legislation may not be fully understood. Gunter, a Ph.D. in political science with graduate work in Environmental Systems, looks at the issue of biodiversity protection from a transnational perspective and determines that NGOs have an important role to play through mainstream strategies such as buying land, funding research, encouraging grassroots activities, and linking national groups for international efforts. He also looks at ways NGOs can improve their effectiveness and can significantly impact national and international policies and linkages. Chapter 3, titled Working with People: Participatory Strategies, will probably be of most interest to students as it shows the importance of grassroots efforts and ways that the average citizen can be organized to "build the next ark." The book is full of charts and b/w photos and is written at a high level, requiring an understanding of policy and political issues. It concludes with extensive notes, a long bibliography and a thorough index. Suitable for advanced classes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584655909
  • Publisher: Dartmouth College Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL M. GUNTER, JR., holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and a graduate certificate in Environmental Systems from the University of Kentucky. He received his bachelor's degree with honors from Vanderbilt University. A former Eagle Scout, Gunter is currently an Assistant Professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables Preface Acknowledgments Why A New Ark is Needed The Transnational And Interdependent Nature of Biodiversity Protection Working within the System: Mainstream Strategies Working with People: Participatory Strategies Working on Themselves Improving Organizational Structure Epilogue: Building the Next Ark Appendixes Notes Bibliography Index
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