Life environmentalism: A model developed under environmental degradation

Hiroyuki Torigoe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The life environmentalism model, which emphasizes the lives and livelihoods of local communities, was developed in Japan on the basis of intensive field research in the Lake Biwa district. There were two opposing schools of thought when the model was created in 1984. One school recognized the benefits of untouched nature, relied on ecology as a science and was supported by ecological movements. We label this model natural environmentalism (the eco-system model). The other school of thought maintained that the development of modern technology could resolve environmental problems and was strongly supported by the administrators of the Lake Biwa district. We have called this modern technocentrism. After critiquing both ideas we propose a life environmentalism model, which focuses on matters of ownership, community organization and residents' consciousness using the concepts of common possession, iibun (group views) and life consciousness. The model is effective in densely populated countries such as Japan and China but it may not be useful in areas with a low population density. The differences between the basic ideas of this model and the other two models, especially the eco-system model, may provide hints on suitable ways to preserve the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Japanese Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar


  • Community-based organization
  • Life environmentalism
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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