Society is changing at a rapid pace. In light of this, a number of issues must be understood. Environmental issues have assumed relevancy on political agendas because civil society, now more wellversed in environmental issues, has demanded a more active role in public decision-making. Citizens now have a greater awareness of the environment and a greater sense of the earth's limited ability to support life. For instance, during the last thirty years, Portugal has radically changed from a rural society, centered around traditional values, to late industrialization and chaotic urbanization, both of which have caused dramatic concern over the environment. When Portugal joined the EU in 1986, new environmental requirements came into force, while at the same time substantial cohesion funds were pouring into the country. The dramatic changes that took place after Portugal entered the EU forced environmental interest groups towards greater intervention. On one hand, the new environmental requirements and the possibility of appealing to higher levels of decision-making (e.g., the European court) gave interest groups a new context in which to operate and more opportunities to intervene at the environmental level. On the other hand, the cohesion funds that entered the country and the large-scale development projects that ensued (e.g., bridges, highways) brought a new dimension in terms of threats to the environment.