Development of the envionmental movement
Influential persons and periods
|In 1972 Anthony Downs developed the so-called 'Issue-Attention Cycle' (IAC) model (fig. 1). This model shows the five phases of public attention to an environmental problem: the pre-problem stage, the alarmed-discovery stage, the stage of realizing costs of progress, the decline of public interest and the post-problem stage. |
Pre-problem stage – an unwanted environmental problem exists, but the public has not yet been notified of its existence. Experts and organizations are already discussing the problem.
Alarmed-discovery stage – the environmental problem receives media attention and is therefore noticed by the public. People start pressuring the government to solve the problem.
Stage of realizing costs of progress – the public now realizes that solving the problem will cost them money and the attention to the problem and possible solutions is increased. Actions include implementing (partial) solutions to the problem, such as new legislation.
Decline of public interest – the media will direct its attention to other topics and subsequently, public interest declines.
Post-problem phase – the solutions that have been implemented led to a certain degree of institutionalization, such as new legislation or new organizations.
The IAC model has led to a description of the development of the environmental movement in three periods of raised environmental consciousness in the 20th century: