less stature than Greenpeace, are primarily interested not in championing environmental causes, but rather in serving as a vehicle for expressing dissent with broader governmental policies and in becoming conduits for western grants. Still, many new Russian NGOs are very vigorous advocates of greater attention to environmental concerns amidst the economic collapse in the country, and they certainly have carved out a permanent niche on the Russian landscape.
Some environmental NGOs in both countries are devoted to ensuring that decisions and policies taken by government, including the enforcement of environmental regulations, are in the best interests of the public. They use direct communications with governments, the power of the mass media, and the judicial system to achieve this goal. Others have assumed responsibilities not adequately handled by government agencies, such as packaging government information and data in a form that is understandable to both specialists and the public and in developing additional data relevant to governmental decisions. Others serve as rallying points for voices of the people or provide meeting grounds for polluters, the public, and government. Others direct their energies to education and training of both professionals and the public—offering courses, preparing educational literature, and generally supplementing activities of educational institutions by sharing experiences, developing new analytical techniques, and applying new methodological approaches. Still others serve as coordinating centers for governmental authorities and specialists from different regions of the country with common interests. Then there are hybrid organizations that assume several of these tasks and additional responsibilities as well.
The workshop addressed many environmental issues, with heavy reliance on case studies; and the discussions of immediate environmental problems placed the consideration of NGOs into a meaningful perspective. In the aggregate, NGOs are interested in all aspects of environmental protection. At the same time, several differences in the agendas of NGOs in Russia and the United States seemed apparent. Of course, the differences expressed at the workshop were somewhat influenced by the individual interests of the participants.
The Russian emphasis on protection of forests and on the impacts of large-area radioactive contamination was understandable. The economic crisis has led to a deterioration of the technical and administrative capabilities to control pollution with the result that particulate and other common pollutants are of greater concern in Russia than in the United States. Also, solid waste disposal is a serious problem in Russia, where segregation of wastes, recycling of wastes, and establishment of adequate landfills lag behind efforts in the United States.
The U.S. effort, on the other hand, has increasingly focused on human health impacts of pollution. Control of toxic effluents and emissions is a high priority with risk assessment being an area of intensive development. Also, the