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Natural disaster in Colombia
By Marie Courtais, 2018-06-14
One year ago, Mocoa, a town in southern Colombia, has been affected by a mudflow caused by excessive unusual rainfall. Mocoa is the regional capital of the Putumayo, province located at the Southern frontier with Ecuador. Situated where the Andean co [...]
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Environmental risks assessment
By Marie Courtais, 2018-05-25
At a time when climate change-induced environmental bads affect more and more people around the globe, the Global Risks Report 2018, recently edited by the World Economic Forum, makes a great emphasis on environmental risks and new geopolitical distu [...]
Image: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Journal Environmental Justice - Environmental Racism
By Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2018-05-22
The journal Environmental Justice (jEJ) is one of the most relevant pioneers in the field of Environmental Justice Research. The peer-review journal is published bimonthly, covering the impacts and environmental burdens that affect marginalized popul [...]
Image: © Artem Bali from Pexels
FREE ACCESS through May 13, 2018
By Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2018-04-25
Image: © UNFPII
By Marie Courtais, 2018-04-23
From the 16 to 27 April 2018, is taking place the seventeenth (17th) Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), meeting occurring once a year in the United Nations Headquarters of New York, where predominantly Indi [...]
Image: © Michael Nash (https://youtu.be/28MH3jZlucc)
By Marie Courtais, 2018-04-18
Essam El-Hinnawi first introduced the concept of environmental refugees in the international academic arena in 1985 with his eponym book. El-Hinnawi (1985: 4) defined environmental refugees as "those people who have been forced to leave their t [...]
Environmental Justice as a research theme
Theory Considerations on Environmental Justice as a research framework
By Götz Kaufmann, October 6, 2014
Environmental Justice contains several partial conceptions (Bolte, G., Bunge, C., Hornberg, C., Köckler, H., Mielck, 2012; cf. Maschewsky, 2001; Walker, 2009). Basically, it consists in the concepts of environmental goods, environmental bads, and environmental risks (Kaufmann, 2013a, p. 167).
There is a rough institutional understanding, recognized from the American and Canadian debates since the 1980s that refers strongly to environmental justice claims and claims of environmental racism (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008) , historically targeting the beginning of environmental justice struggles after the Love Channel incident (cf. Dobsen, 1998; T. H. Fletcher, 2003; T. Fletcher, 2002) and protests against illegal waste siting in Warren County (cf. R. D. Bullard, 1993; R. Bullard, 1993; Chavis & Lee, 1987). Environmental justice research examines not only marginalized racial or ethnic groups (native Americans, indigenous people, people of Afro-American or Aboriginal origin etc.), but also gender divides (Souza, 2008). Due to the history of the movement (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008), environmental justice research is ‘bottom-up’ – it focuses on the community level (Kameri-Mbote & Cullet, 1996) and an understanding of the ‘environment’ concept as a place where we “live, act and play” (Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008, p. viii). As for the justice conception, the concept deals with distributional, intergenerational, and procedural justice likewise.
The grassroots orientation of this research has established environmental justice research close to cultural studies but also close to studies on inequality, gender,
planning, economics, ethics, philosophy, sociology, and politics (among others). As a general research framework, environmental justice refers to environmental racism in terms of statistical likeliness to face negative impacts in the respective environment (Beck, 1986, among others).
It is important to distinguish two possible answers to the revealed unequal distribution of environmental goods and environmental burdens. One is called the Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) claim that came from the early days where Afro-American communities articulated the demand of replacement of waste sites that threaten their neighbourhood. The second one is more critical and asks for Not-In-Anyone’s-Backyard (NIABY) (cf. Maantay, 2001). According to the latter answer, the solution must include the concerns of society as a whole. Environmental justice adds community as an autonomous actor to environmental research and makes social justice concerns part of the environmental research field (Kameri-Mbote & Cullet, 1996).
Planning research has added the concept of polyrationality (Davy, 2008) to express differently perceived environments of housing communities. In sociology, environmental justice research is tied to the social construction of the environment concept. This leads here to the understanding that environmental issues only exist as an environmental problem when the affected community perceives them as such, or the ‘social nature’ concept (cf. Kaufmann, 2013b). Political science focuses on equal participation rights in the process of building public optinion (Maguire & Lind, 2003) whereas law and philosophy look at the different conceptions of justice (Rawls, 1972; Schmidtz, 2007). All these approaches equally define environmental justice as a vivid field of research and transdisciplinary activity.
The Environmental Justice Institute is founded to support the existing joint efforts from society and academia on the international level to frame the concept and to bring people from different backgrounds together.
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