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US and global Environmental Justice (CfP March 15, 2017)
By Götz Kaufmann, 2017-01-01
The US presidential election in September 2016 is still puzzling civil society and the academic world. Criticism ranges from appreciation to dismissal and challenge. The political and societal constellation that led to both the nomination of Trump a [...]
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Free Environmental Justice Research
By Christoph Hess, 2016-11-23
The concept of energy justice emerged in recent years as a sub-category of environmental justice research. This is about time, since energy projects have been causes of environmental injustices and triggers for environmental movementes around the gl [...]
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Free Environmental Justice Research publications
By Götz Kaufmann, 2016-11-18
Once again, the journal Environmental Justice (jEJ) offers free access to five of its articles from a former issue.
The jEJ is under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, MSE, MPH, and senior Editor Kenneth Olde [...]
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Transdisciplinary Climate Change Action
By Christoph Clar, 2016-11-14
Donald Trump has chosen Myron Ebell to head the transition of the US Environmental Protection Agency EPA. Ebell is known as a leading climate skeptic who denies science in the name of profit. He is the chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition which fo [...]
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Environmental Justice in the USA
By Götz Kaufmann, 2016-11-14
11/9/16 shook the political landscape in the United States, and around the world, as Donald Trump became President-elect contradicting the election forecasts of liberal mainstream media. It was hard to believe how the voters decided for Trump consid [...]
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Environmental Justice Institute (on its own account)
By Götz Kaufmann, 2016-10-14
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.
Beck, U. (1986). Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne. Frankfurt am Main.
Bolte, G., Bunge, C., Hornberg, C., Köckler, H., Mielck, A. (2012). Umweltgerechtigkeit. Chancengleichheit bei Umwelt und Gesundheit: Konzepte, Datenlage und Handlungsperspektiven. (A. Mielck, Ed.) (1st ed.). Bern: Verlag Hans Huber.
Bullard, R. (1993). Anatomy of Environmental Racism and the Environmental Justice Movement. In Confronting Environmental Racism. Voices from the Grassroots (pp. 15–40). Cambridge: South End Press.
Bullard, R. D. (1993). Confronting Environmental Racism. Voices from the Grassroots. Cambridge.
Chavis, B., & Lee, C. (1987). Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States. A National Report on the Racial and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites (p. 86). New York. Retrieved from http://www.ucc.org/about-us/archives/pdfs/toxwrace87.pdf on 11/07/2015.
Davy, B. (2008). Plan it without a condom! Planning Theory, 7(3), 301–317. Retrieved from http://plt.sagepub.com/content/7/3/301.full.pdf+html on 11/07/2015.
Dobsen, A. (1998). Justice and the Environment, Conceptions of Environmental Sustainability and Theories of Distributive Justice. Oxford.
Fletcher, T. (2002). Neighbourhood change at Love Chanal. Contamination, evacuation, and resettlement. Land Use Policy, 19(4), 311–323.
Fletcher, T. H. (2003). From Love Canal to Environmental Justice. The Politics of Havardous Waste on the Canada-U.S. Border (p. 239).
Gosine, A., & Teelucksingh, C. (2008). Environmental Justice and Racism in Canada: An Introduction (p. 153). Toronto: Edmond Montgomery Publications Limited.
Kameri-Mbote, P., & Cullet, P. (1996). Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. Integrating Local Communities in Environmental Management (No. 1996-1) (p. 12). Retrieved from www.ielrc.org/content/w9601.pdf on 11/07/2015.
Kaufmann, G. F. (2013a). Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. With a case study in Brazil’s Amazon using Q Methodology (3rd ed., p. 424). Saarbrücken: Südwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften. Can be retrieved from Google Books (checked 11/07/2015).
Kaufmann, G. F. (2013b). From imaginary problem of “pollution” of a “clean” earth to the concept of “Social Nature.” In Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. With a case study in Brazil’s Amazon using Q Methodology (pp. 38–40). Saarbrücken: Südwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften. Can be retrieved from Google Books (checked 11/07/2015).
Maantay, J. (2001). Zoning, Equity, and Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 91(7), 1033–1041. Retrieved from http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.91.7.1033 on 11/07/2015.
Maguire, L. A., & Lind, E. A. (2003). Public participation in environmental decisions stakeholders, authorities and procedural justice. International Journal of Global Environmental, 3(2), 133–148.
Maschewsky, W. (2001). Umweltgerechtigkeit, Public Health und soziale Stadt. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag für Akademische Schriften.
Rawls, J. (1972). A Theory of Justice. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Schmidtz, D. (2007). Elements of Justice (p. 243). Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo, Mexico City.
Souza, A. (2008). The Gathering Momentum for Environmental Justice in Brazil. Environmental Justice, 1(4), 183–188.
Walker, G. (2009). Beyond Distribution and Proximity. Exploring the Multiple Spatialities of Environmental Justice. Antipode, 41(4), 614–636.