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Environmental justice . Eurig Scandrett Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. Environmental justice is a social movement. Robert D. Bullard (1990) Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and environmental quality 4000 community groups fighting against local toxic hazards in USA

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Environmental justice l.jpg

Environmental justice

Eurig Scandrett

Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh


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Environmental justice is a social movement

  • Robert D. Bullard (1990) Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and environmental quality

  • 4000 community groups fighting against local toxic hazards in USA

  • 1992 People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit

  • United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice report

  • ‘Environmental Racism’


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US policy response

  • Executive Order 12898

    Federal actions to address environmental injustice in minority populations

    • each federal agency shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission …

  • National Environmental Justice Advisory Council

    • federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice … [to] the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on matters related to environmental justice.


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USA

  • Many community-based campaigns

  • Mobilised with reference to the civil rights movement

  • Research by academics and NGOs within and close to movement

  • Ambiguous relationship with ‘big 10’ environmental NGOs

  • Policy response


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UK

  • Some community-based groups not mobilised as movement

  • Research by committed academics and NGOs

  • Campaigning led by NGOs, with ambiguous relationship with traditional concerns

  • Policy response


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UK Evidence

  • Of 11,400 tonnes of carcinogenic chemicals emitted to the air from large factories in England in 1999, 82 per cent were from factories located in the most deprived 20 per cent of local authority wards.

    • (Friends of the Earth 2001)

  • People in the most deprived 10% of areas in England experience the worst air quality, and 41% higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide from transport and industry than the average

    • (Walker et al, 2003)

  • For industrial pollution, derelict land and water quality there is a strong relationship with deprivation [in Scotland]. People in the most deprived areas are far more likely to be living near to these sources of potential negative environmental impact that people in less deprived areas

    • (SNIFFER / Fairburn et al 2005)


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Scotland policy

  • 2002 Jack McConnell

    • “the biggest challenge for the early 21st century is to combine economic progress with social and environmental justice” (Edinburgh, February)

    • “we now put our commitment to Sustainable Development in the context of environmental justice for the first time… the greatest environmental injustices are between the developed and the developing world” (Johannesburg, August)

  • Scottish Executive 2003 (partnership agreement)

    • “We want a Scotland that delivers sustainable development; that puts environmental concerns at the heart of public policy and secures environmental justice for all of Scotland’s communities”

  • But “done little … to promote EJ” (W. Maschewsky, unpublished)

    • “’embedded’ political approach, ‘smuggling’ EJ into existing programs – like non-controversial sustainable development – with little or no demand on altering targets, priorities and finding-schemes”


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UK policy

  • 'We should never lose sight of the fact the it is the poor who suffer the most pollution‘

    • John Prescott, UK Deputy Prime Minster, Feb 2000 ESRC (2002)

  • The Local Environment Act 2005 (England)

    • Cleaner neighbourhoods

  • Human Rights Act 1998

  • Aarhus Convention.

  • The Sustainable Development Strategy

    • Environmental Equality - indicator for quality of life standards


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Popular education approach – agents for environmental justice

Community activists throughout Scotland

Community ‘agents’ – urban, rural, BME, TU

Support for campaigns + Cert HE

Validate existing skills + add value

Campaigning equal to study in rigour

Popular education methodology

negotiated curriculum

dialogical methods

partial

link to policy change

assessments relevant to campaigns

the Guardian award 2003



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Environmentalism of the poor justiceJoan Martinez-Alier 2002

  • ‘The third current of environmentalism points out that economic growth unfortunately means increased environmental impacts and it emphasises geographical displacement of sources and sinks. Thus the industrial countries are dependent on imports from the south for a growing part of their requirements of raw materials or consumption goods, so that the oil and gas frontier, the aluminium frontier, the copper frontier, the eucalyptus and palm oil frontiers, the shrimp frontier, the gold frontier, the transgenic soybeans frontier … are advancing into new territories. This creates impacts which … have already been felt disproportionately by some social groups that often complain and resist.’


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Environmentalism of the poor justiceJoan Martinez-Alier 2002


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Issues for environmental justice justice

  • No environmental justice movement

  • Policy ‘embedded’ and weak

  • Some progess in community participation

  • Drift towards ‘environments of the poor’ rather than ‘environmentalism of the poor’

    • Soft issues and neighbourhood renewal vs.

    • External economic effects

  • International context


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