Think globally, act locally :helping small towns to implement change

Peirce, Jane
Maich Gardner
Department of Environmental Studies
Continued environmental degradation threatens our very future. Environmentalists recognize that increasing populations and technological development are putting pressure on worldwide ecosystems to the point where some can foresee a complete collapse. Time is running out for us to implement solutions to environmental problems, and the best place to start is in our own back yards. We need to find a way to educate and activate at the grassroots level, so that each individual is living a lifestyle that protects rather than consumes and destroys our precious natural resources. Small towns are unique in character, and attempts to implement environmental protection initiatives can be tricky and ultimately disappointing. Because each small town is different, it is very difficult to develop standard rules or process for assuring a smooth acceptance of necessary environmental regulations at the very local level. In this paper, the use of change theory is proposed as a way to examine small-town government. Using the four frameworks of an organization, the human resource, political, symbolic, and the structural frames as lenses through which one regards an environmental change initiative, one can begin to understand the government and predict how the community might react to a particular strategy. By examining the town government in this systematic way and planning the presentation of the initiative to suit the character of the town, the chances for successful adoption of a change initiative can be improved.

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