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Journal: Environmental Justice
By Götz Kaufmann, 2017-07-07
The journal Environmental Justice grants free access to the following articles now through July 21, 2017. It is one of the most relevant pioneers in the field of Environmental Justice Research. The peer-review journal is published bimonthly, co [...]
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Climate Justice conference (CfA due to August 7, 2017
By Jonathan Pickering, 2017-06-20
A multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward will be held on 8-9 February 2018 in Hobart, Australia. Full details of the Conference themes are on the [...]
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US withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord
By Götz Kaufmann, 2017-06-16
In reponse to the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the Environmental Justice Institute (EJI) has started its interview series "Academic Responses" interviewing Dr Jonathan Pickering from University of Canberra. Jonathan is part of t [...]
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Global Climate Change (Call for Participation)
By Guido Blattmann, 2017-06-15
The withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord by the United States on June 1, 2017 has echoed in responses in the different branches of society. Leaders and the news media around the world have answered with support and despite to this decisi [...]

Environmental Justice and Trumpism in the world
By Götz Kaufmann, 2017-06-06
Since President Trump was elected, media and politicians around the world have been in hesitation and doubt how far the new White House will go. On June 1, 2017, the President of the United States (POTUS) has announced the withdrawal from Paris Clim [...]
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E-learning - production of knowledge
The Environmental Justice Institute has produced a learning video, a so called e-lecture, as contribution to the global production of knowledge on the topic of climate justice. The idea was to provide a brief and cosistent overview of recent fac [...]
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 on 11/07/2015.
Davy, B. (2008). Plan it without a condom! Planning Theory, 7(3), 301–317. Retrieved from 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 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 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.