ローカルな環境運動と地域との関わり : 霞ヶ浦の環境に関わる住民・市民運動を事例として
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Relationships between Local Environmental Movements and the Region : A Case Study of Lake Kasumigaura
regional environmental problems
Kasumigaura Citizens' Association
This paper tries to clarify the relationships between local environmental movements and the region based on a case study of Lake Kasumigaura and its surrounding area. Data were collected mainly through interviews with the leaders of citizens' groups in the Kasumigaura area. In addition, newsletters and restricted documents of these groups were important information sources used to trace their activities intermittently over a period of about twenty years.
After the 6th International Conference on the Conservation of Lakes in Tsuchiura and Tsukuba cities, environmental movements concerned with Lake Kasumigaura split into two groups, one led by the Kasumigaura Citizens' Association and the other by the Asaza Fund (and the Citizens for Improvement of Lakes Kasumigaura and Kitaura) (hereinafter KCA and AF, respectively). Despite the split, the movements have become more active and their management scales have expanded since this conference.
KCA was established by uniting nature conservation society members with people from economic circles. This group aims to restore the lake to its former cleanliness so that all residents can swim or play in it. Thus, it performs water quality surveys and conducts environmental education campaigns. AF aims to restore the rich ecosystem of the lake and organizes a nature restoration project supported by many school children, city residents, fishermen, and farmers.
This paper presents five points about the relationships between the local environmental movements and the Kasumigaura region.
(1) Involvement in eutrophication control: The environmental movements in this area began to counter eutrophication of the lake. They acted as pressure groups to demand regulation against eutrophication, as surveillance monitors of the environmental administration, and propagators of environmental lifestyles in cooperation with local governments.
(2) Opposition to water resource development of Lake Kasumigaura : Protests against development projects have not succeeded in this area, but there have recently been signs of change. For example, the water level operation of the lake was suspended because of an AF protest. This case shows that the citizens' groups are gaining greater leverage.
(3) Citizens' participation in nature restoration projects : In some regards, the movements are changing from anti-establishment ones into cooperative ones. In particular, citizen participation is becoming popular in nature restoration projects. The citizen's groups enhance this effect.
(4) Design and coordination of new regional sustainable businesses : Citizens' groups are contributing to creating some new businesses concerned with sustainable resource use. These provide an opportunity for collaboration with various stakeholders.
(5) Contribution to raise residents' environmental consciousness : Each group advertises future visions of the lake as goals. Discussion between the groups and local governments are reported in the media and many residents know the environmental issues related to Lake Kasumigaura. This direct or indirect information may affect the residents' environmental consciousness in the long term.
Although these are results obtained from a case study of Lake Kasumigaura and its surrounding area, they can be understood as general characteristics of environmental movements. An environmental citizens' group plays various roles between residents and the local government in order to accomplish the group's aim. For example, concerned with environmental pollution or development problems, a group protests against the national or local government as a representative of the residents. On the other hand, the same group appeals to the residents to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in collaboration with the local government. A citizens' group constructs environmental problems socially and carries weight in environmental policy making, creatively choosing its position between the residents and the local government.