In my opinion, positive social change in the U.S. has recently progressed along three different but related themes: greater individual freedom, more recognition for universal human rights at home and abroad, and more recognition of the U.S.’s position as a role model for the rest of the world. In terms of environmental protection, these themes translate into more voice for the individual to influence pro-environmental policy (through both politics and the media), more attention to environmental justice at home and abroad (including protection from pollution and environmental harms), and hopefully a stronger leadership role in reducing national emissions (including taking a leadership role in shaping and ratifying agreements during the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks).
Define “better.” Generally speaking social change moves towards progress of some sort, but occasionally the result is fearmongering or something similar like we saw in the 1950s.
Normative shifts do influence both policy and law at the international level though, so there’s a decent chance of generating positive change.
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