Environmental Justice Research
Mapping environmental (in)justice: The Global Atlas of Environmental Justice
By Lisa Waegerle, 2015-08-12
On May 19, 2014, the global research project "Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade" (EJOLT) launched the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice with the central idea to link economic activities, companies and socio-environmental impacts as well as the worldwide struggles for environmental justice (EJOLT Blog 2014). The interactive Atlas integrates geo-spatial data and until now includes almost 1400 worldwide cases of environmental conflicts on all continents as well as resistance against these environmental injustices (Global Environmental Justice Atlas). Since March 2015, the Atlas has been re-launched and has a new box design and improved search and filter functions. You can now search and filter between 10 different categories, such as conflicts (nuclear, water, waste) or companies, for example Shell, Monsanto. Thus, the Atlas is a useful tool to understand which regions are involved, which sectors cause the conflict and where the polluter comes from. You can also create your own map, for example, about struggles against mining companies and share these maps with other people. New cards such as climate change commitments, fracking and mining conflicts in Latin America are planned (EJOLT Blog 2015).

The first time I got to know about the Atlas was at the Latin American Congress of Political Ecology here, which was held between October 21st, and 25th, 2014 in Santiago de Chile and was organized by the Department of Geography at the University of Chile. Joan Martínez-Alier, coordinator from the EU-founded project EJOLT, presented the Atlas. Martínez-Alier demonstrated that companies which provoke socio-environmental conflicts are mainly from the processing industries, private or from the government and their headquarters are almost always in European countries, the USA or Canada. Inferential, Martínez-Alier mentioned that those most affected by environmental conflicts are the marginalized sectors of the population such as the poor, women, minorities and indigenous peoples who depend more directly on natural resources for their livelihoods. Furthermore, these affected groups are more likely to be found in the countries of the global South, where much more activists face repression and are murdered because of their struggle for environmental justice.

Mapping these conflicts is a great value of the Atlas, says Martínez-Alier, and this requires the cooperation of activists and scientists. Both play an important role by mapping the conflicts and drawing attention to them, produce independent knowledge and make conflicts visible, thereby producing a better understanding of the struggles against environmental injustice.

The Atlas is a joint project and was created by different organizations on environmental justice, universities as well as independent employees around the world (EJOLT Blog 2014).
Click here for the link to the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice.

Global Environmental Justice Atlas.
EJOLT Blog (2015): Global Atlas of Environmental Justice re-launches website tracking ecological conflicts globally
EJOLT Blog (2014): Global Atlas of environmental conflicts launched in Brussels
The International Society for Ecological Economics (2014): Latin American Conference of Political Ecology
Image: © Tryfonov