In the 21st century, some would expect that the role of government is to represent the will of the people. However, often times, the state is concerned with itself and not its’ citizens. This is particularly evident in the battle between economic growth and the environment. The government often times places immediate economic needs at the forefront of their policy decisions rather than looking at long term sustainable development as seen the World Commission on Environment and Development. Fortunately, NGOs and INGOS, have filled this void in representation to ensure that environmental concerns are recognized internationally.
The role of NGOs in promoting local interests and awareness of environmental issues is expressed by both Paul Wapner and Sanjeev Khagram. Khagram shows how local opposition against the construction of dams has turned in to a global movement made possible through INGOs. These organizations have linked communities from across the globe because of their shared common goal. No matter where one is in the world, the construction of large dams displaces communities, endangers indigenous populations, and causes environmental degradation. These common impacts have led to a unanimous agreement across the globe that has forced investors like the World Bank to reconsider its’ financial support of such projects. The role of Greenpeace in unifying communities across the globe is also discussed by Paul Wapner. Greenpeace promotes a transnational movement for sustainable development by creating universal images that are applicable to people from all across the world. By placing environmental issues literally in the face of individuals, it is impossible to ignore the damaging effects of things like whaling, the emission of cfcs, etc… INGOs are successful in creating common causes to fight for or against because they represent the collective concerns of the people so the government is forced to address them.