Free Environmental Justice Research publications
Environmental Justice in the Americas and India
By Götz Kaufmann, 2016-10-08
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 populations all over the world. Interdisciplinary reports on communities, industry, academia, government, and nonprofit organizations are considered in its editions including human health and the environment, natural science, technology, land use and urban planning, public and environmental policy, environmental history, legal history as it pertains to environmental justice, environmental sociology, anthropology of environmental, health disparities, and grassroots activities.
The jEJ is under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, MSE, MPH, and senior Editor Kenneth Olden, PhD, ScD, LHD, among others. The jEJ grants free online access to the following research pubications through October 21, 2016. The regions covered in the list of articles are Ecuador and Chile, the United States, and India. Please find below title, author, abstract, and download link.
Water Justice and Food Sovereignty in Cotopaxi, Ecuador
author: Tristan Partridge
Cotopaxi province is home to some of the largest broccoli plantations in Ecuador, and this crop continues to be a focus of export efforts and agricultural policy in the country. These plantations tend to occupy the best land in the region, in areas that have fertile soil and are easy to irrigate-marginalizing smaller communities and perpetuating histories of dispossession. Industrial irrigation is facilitated by historic water rights that greatly limit the amount of water available to nearby indigenous and campesino farming communities. In response to these inequalities, some communities have mobilized and accessed external support enabling them to construct their own irrigation systems. Others, however, are without the facilities to do so and consequently continue to struggle with soil erosion and field desertification. This article documents unequal access to water in Cotopaxi's Alpamalag Valley and compares the experiences of two communities located close to the Selva Alegre broccoli plantation, including their collective responses to these environmental injustices. It outlines principles of "food sovereignty" as they appear in Ecuador's Constitution - including redistribution of productive resources such as land and water, promoting equity and solidarity among food producers and consumers, and impeding mo- nopolistic practices - and examines their potential for environmental justice concerns among rural populations, especially those who face entrenched relations of domination and intersecting inequalities.
Socio-Ecological Inequality and Water Crisis: Views of Indigenous Communities in the Alto Loa Area
authors: Mayarí Castillo Gallardo
This article analyzes the case of the Likan Antai/Atacama communities, located in the Alto Loa region in northern Chile. It presents recent data on the relation between the scenario of the water crisis, the liberal legal architecture on water rights/mining and poverty among these indigenous peoples, with particular emphasis on how these phenomena have been changing the articulation of their identities, strengthening their demands and strategies based on an increase in the importance of ethnic components in the last decades. For this, the notions of "socio-ecological inequality" and "environmental suffering" are used, the latter focused on the point of view of indigenous peoples in this conflict.
Metabolic Urbanism and Environmental Justice: The Water Conundrum in Bangalore, India
authors: Vishal K. Mehta, Rimi Goswami, Eric Kemp-Benedict, Sekhar Muddu, Deepak Malghan
Anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, and urban studies scholars have recorded the causes and consequences of inequities that underscore rapidly burgeoning cities in the global South. We argue here that such accounts of urbanism are incomplete without accounting for the inequities in metabolic flows of matter and energy that physically sustains the city. Using the example of domestic household water consumption patterns in Bangalore, we demonstrate how the city's hydrology is shaped by social, political, and economic variables. We present a simple coupled social-ecological framework that allows us to sketch the broad contours of this social hydrology of Bangalore. Our analysis provides evidence for why questions of environmental justice cannot be separated from questions of biophysical sustainability. We show that anthropogenic drivers of groundwater hydrology in Bangalore dominate background biophysical drivers. Unequal spatial distribution of piped water infrastructure is the principal driver of groundwater hydrology in Bangalore, leading us to hypothesize that all urban hydrology is social hydrology.
Weaknesses in Federal Drinking Water Regulations and Public Health Policies that Impede Lead Poisoning Prevention and Environmental Justice
authors: Adrienne Katner, Kelsey J. Pieper, Yanna Lambrinidou, Komal Brown, Chih-Yang Hu, Howard W. Mielke, Marc A. Edwards
The failure of the regulatory community to protect the residents of Flint, Michigan, from prolonged exposure to hazardous levels of lead in their drinking water has drawn public attention to long-acknowledged weaknesses in the implementation and oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). This rule defines the roles and responsibilities of water utilities in reducing consumer exposures to lead-in-water hazards. Despite this regulation, water-related lead poisoning cases have been documented in cities determined to be in regulatory compliance. This article presents preliminary results from an ongoing study that documents gaps and weaknesses in the rule and its implementation, oversight, and enforcement. We detail how the original intent of the LCR to protect public health has been undermined by inadequate lead-in- water monitoring and public education, as well as weak regulatory oversight and enforcement. We summarize how these issues contributed to the Flint debacle and are still being perpetuated today in other municipalities. Finally, we discuss how these factors may be thwarting the prevention of childhood lead poisoning in the United States, and contributing to disproportionate environmental burdens on low-income communities. This review is timely, in that it may prompt public involvement in the U.S. EPA's ongoing review and revision of the LCR.
Water, Human Rights, and Reproductive Justice: Implications for Women in Detroit and Monrovia
authors: Elizabeth A. Mosley, Cortney K. Bouse, Kelli Stidham Hall
Access to safe water and adequate living standards are recognized as basic health requisites and human rights worldwide. Nevertheless, socially marginalized women across the globe are currently facing threats to safe water access, which has dire implications for their health and that of their children. The City of Detroit, Michigan has recently shut off water services to over 50,000 residences, with low-income and racially marginalized women and their families disproportionately affected. The conditions for many Detroit residents are not unlike those in Monrovia, Liberia, where lack of access to safe water and substandard environments have contributed to the ongoing Ebola epidemic and subsequent maternal and infant mortality. Utilizing a comparative analytic approach rooted in postcolonial feminist theory and intersectionality, our commentary draws parallels between these two timely water, human rights, and reproductive justice crises in Detroit and Monrovia. We explore how public discourse and proposed solutions have failed to acknowledge the historical contexts and sociopolitical determinants of these crises, which have urgent and long-lasting implications for women's reproductive health and social justice worldwide.
Image: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.