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Political, economic, and social reform in Lithuania : implications for the environment

Banks, Amanda J 1997 , 'Political, economic, and social reform in Lithuania : implications for the environment', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The thesis tests the hypothesis made elsewhere (Banks 1991, Kritkautsky
1995) that, on regaining independence, Lithuania had the capacity to create
an environmentally sustainable society based on historical connections
with the land and mass support for environmental issues during the
fight for independence from the Soviet Union. It is found that the priority
given to environmental issues on the Lithuanian political agenda has
declined since the restoration of independence. Regardless of the political
leanings of those in power, these goals have been replaced by immediate
economic and political concerns, hindering any possibility for the creation
of an environmentally progressive society.
The factors involved in the rise and fall of environmental issues and of
the Green movement in Lithuania are discussed, together with the
connection these have with secession from the USSR, and the pattern of
economic and social development that has followed. It is found that,
since the restoration of independence, environmental problems remain
and initial hopes of integrating environmental and economic policy have
failed. In looking at all the influences involved in resolving environmental
problems, the future of environmental policy in Lithuania is assessed. Two case studies are provided which highlight the interrelationship
between economics, ecological problems, political priorities, national
identity, and social conditions. Water pollution, particularly in the Baltic
Sea and the Nemunas River, is an environmental priority in Lithuania
but there are several obstacles to its improvement and it cannot be resolved
without international cooperation. Energy production has been one of
the most controversial issues in Lithuania, with debate initiated even
before secession. The continued operation of the Soviet-designed nuclear
power plant at Ignalina and the proposed construction of the
environmentally destructive and economically inefficient oil terminal at
Butinge demonstrate the relatively low priority given to environmental
issues and the primacy of economic and political considerations in an
atmosphere of strong national sentiment.
National identity and environmental concern had an influential role in
the fight to restore independence and this is examined within the context
of social movement theory. The theory of an increasing concern for economic issues is tested by discussing the connections between the
environment and economic systems (in theory and practice), the situation
in the USSR, CEE, Lithuania, and the EU and the negative implications
these have had for environmental policy in those countries.
An analysis of both internationally and domestically derived financing of
environmental projects is also presented which highlights the nuclear
and waste water treatment priority of programmes, identifies problems in
using fiscal measures, and questions the values of international donors.
The hypothesis is further tested by reviewing political developments, the
process of rebuilding democracy, and the various legal reforms necessary
for facilitating an open, sustainable society in which environmental issues
are a priority. It is found that while some positive developments have
occurred, such as legislative reform and some improvements in water
quality, the primacy of economic development will continue at the expense
of environmental protection.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Banks, Amanda J
Keywords: Environmental policy
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1997 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

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