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New activism and communication in Australian risk society : a case study of the Otway Ranges Environment Network
journal contributionposted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kristin DemetriousKristin Demetrious
This paper overviews a case study of environmental grassroots activism in Victoria, Australia, between 1995 and 2003. The Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN) is significant for its successful communication campaign to change forest practices and policy decision-making in the Otway Ranges, and for its intervention in a long-standing and exclusive relationship between government and the timber industry. This paper describes and analyses pivotal parts of the OREN campaign: firstly, the group's strategy to boycott paper and pulp manufacture Kimberly-Clark Australia; and secondly, its decision to participate in the West Victoria Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) process to negotiate the future of Otway forest. Informed by the empirical research and the works of social theorists Ulrich Beck and Jurgen Habermas, this paper outlines a strategic approach to communication that is effective, fair and sustainable, and that can be applied by other non-profits - especially those that operate in politically volatile environments with a grassroots agenda.