chapter  4
Pages 27

Public awareness of environmental problems grew throughout the 1970s, and it focused not only on the potential destructive effects of nuclear power stations and chemical factories but also on the gra­ dual increase in the pollution of air, water and land. These and other themes formed the basis for the critique by the ecology movement of industrial society. Fears about the deterioration of the environment were shared by the population at large. Mayer-Tasch has pointed out that in surveys carried out in 1972 and 1973 around fifty per cent of the population felt that more effective measures should be introduced to protect the environment even if this endangered their own job. In the latter survey eighty per cent felt that effective measures should be introduced even if this had an adverse effect on the rate of economic growth.(1) This appears to re­ flect the discovery by Inglehart of a Tchange in values1 in the early seventies among the populations of Western democracies. In West Germany many people also expected the SPD-FDP Alliance to carry out reformist environmental and social policies. More­ over, as I have argued in previous chapters, the idea of defending nature against the excesses of modernity has held a great appeal both for post-war protest movements and for the inhabitants of Germany. The work of Dennis Meadows and many other authors on the 1 limits of growth1 provided T‘scientificT proof that the natural environment was under great threat.