Environmentalism as Catalyst for the Development of Civil Society in China

From the introduction to my essay:

This issue of the Journal of International Policy Solutions marks the second annual publication of the Ruth S. Adams Graduate Student Essay Competition Winner. The Ruth Adams Competition is a graduate student essay competition on the topic of international civil society. It asks students to explore the role of global civil society in impacting any national or international issue.

The competition honors Ruth S. Adams (1923-2005), a former visiting scholar at UCSD and the editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for more than a decade. Charismatic, deeply principled, and compassionate, Adams devoted her life to a wide array of nongovernmental organizations. She was the only woman in attendance at the very first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs in 1957, which was sponsored by Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and other preeminent scientists. She organized cooperative international scientific efforts on Third World development, arranged for the training and financing of international security scholars, and actively supported enhanced roles for women in international relations research. To further the goals to which she devoted her life, her friends, colleagues, and organizations who share in Ruth’s vision have created this essay competition.

This year’s winner, Joshua Wickerham, analyzes the response of Chinese civil society to environmental threats and the implications for political actors.


The goal of this paper is to determine how willing the principal actors in China’s economy are to bear the potential social and economic costs of sustainable development as a proxy for understanding the depth of the development of civil response to China’s environmental threats. The conclusions are based on trends, opinions, and actions of three main groups: the government, consumers, and corporate managers.

Click here to read the essay. (pdf format)


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