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As societies around the world are challenged to respond to ever growing environmental crises, it has become increasingly important for activists, policy makers, and environmental practitioners to understand the dynamic relationship between environmental movements and the state. In communist Eastern Europe, environmental activism fuelled the rise of democratic movements and the overthrow of totalitarianism. Yet, as this study of environmentalism in Slovakia shows, concern for the environment declined during the post-communist period, an ironic victim of its own earlier success.
In "Nature Protests", Edward Snajdr demonstrates how concerns about ecology generated a social movement that led to political dialogue about freedom, ethnicity, and power. He connects the role that green dissidents played in communism's collapse with the forces in Slovak society that replaced them. Through ethnographic interviews and archival materials, he explains why Slovakia's ecology movement, so strong under socialism, fell apart so rapidly despite the persistence of serious ecological maladies in the region. Synthesizing theory in anthropology and political ecology, he suggests that the fate of environmentalism in Slovakia marks the beginning of a global post-ecological age, where nature is culturally maginalized in new ways.