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Encyclopedia > Environmental Justice

Environmental justice Environmental justice (EJ) is a holistic effort to analyze and overcome the power structures that have traditionally thwarted environmental reforms. Environmental justice proponents generally view the environment as encompassing "where we live, work, and play" (and sometimes "pray" or go to school are added); thus, the movement seeks to redress inequitable distributions of environmental burdens (pollution, industrial facilities, crime, etc) and access to environmental goods (nutritious food, clean air & water, parks, recreation, health care, education, transportation, safe jobs, etc.). Self-determination and participation in decision-making are key components of environmental justice. According to a compilation of thoughts by several notable EJ organizations, root causes of environmental injustices include: "institutionalized racism; the commodification of land, water, energy and air; unresponsive, unaccountable government policies and regulation; and lack of resources and power in affected communities" (Building Healthy Communities from the Ground Up [1]). Holism (from holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) is the idea that all the properties of a given system (biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc. ... Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action to bring about social or political change. ... A hierarchy (in Greek: , it is derived from -hieros, sacred, and -arkho, rule) is a system of ranking and organizing things or people, where each element of the system (except for the top element) is subordinate to a single other element. ... The Environmental Movement (a term that sometimes includes the conservation and green movements) is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement. ...

The theoretical framework of environmental justice is strongly linked to the environmental justice movement. At the beginning of the 1980s, environmental justice emerged as a concept in the United States. Pointing to a particular date or event that launched the Environmental Justice Movement is difficult, as the movement grew organically out of dozens, even hundreds, of local struggles and events and out of a variety of other social movements. The 1980s refers to the years of 1980 to 1989. ...

Participants of Central and Eastern European Workshop on Environmental Justice (Budapest, December 2003) defined environmental justice (and injustice) in the following way: Central Europe is the region lying between the variously and vaguely defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. ... Regions of Europe as delineated by the United Nations (UN definition of Eastern Europe marked salmon):  Northern Europe  Western Europe  Eastern Europe  Southern Europe Pre-1989 division between the West (grey) and Eastern Bloc (orange) superimposed on current national boundaries: Russia (dark orange), other countries of the former USSR (medium... See Budapest (band) for the British melancholic post-grunge band. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

"Environmental Justice:
A condition of environmental justice exists when environmental risks and hazards and investments and benefits are equally distributed with a lack of discrimination, whether direct or indirect, at any jurisdictional level; and when access to environmental investments, benefits, and natural resources are equally distributed; and when access to information, participation in decision making, and access to justice in environment-related matters are enjoyed by all."
"Environmental Injustice:
An environmental injustice exists when members of disadvantaged, ethnic, minority or other groups suffer disproportionately at the local, regional (sub-national), or national levels from environmental risks or hazards, and/or suffer disproportionately from violations of fundamental human rights as a result of environmental factors, and/or denied access to environmental investments, benefits, and/or natural resources, and/or are denied access to information; and/or participation in decision making; and/or access to justice in environment-related matters."


Criticisms and Responses

Traditionally the environmental movements have been concerned with purely ecological issues including wilderness preservation, endangered species, overpopulation, recycling, and energy consumption. The environmental justice movement is seen by some as an attempt to shift the focus of the environmental movement away from these issues toward more anthropocentric concerns such as racism, classism, and sexism since these forms of oppression lead to unequal burdens of environmental pollution being felt by people of color, women, and low-income people. However, some criticize the environmental justice movement as being a form of political correctness [citation needed], and some believe the increasing focus on environmental justice leads to environmental groups compromising environmental protection or even taking positions in opposition to environmental protection. Some critics of the movement suggest that environmental justice advocacy rests on an inadequate empirical foundation, especially regarding allegations of adverse health impacts on low-income and minority communities.[citation needed] However, it should be noted that the Principles of Environmental Justice adopted at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991 suggest that environmental justice is not solely concerned with anthropocentric issues since several principles stress the ecological interconnectedness of all species, including humans (see Principles of Environmental Justice) An environment is a complex of external factors that acts on a system and determines its course and form of existence. ... Wilderness is generally defined as a natural environment on Earth that has not been modified by human activity. ... The critically endangered Amur Tiger, a rare subspecies of tiger. ... Map of countries by population —showing the population of the China and India in the billions. ... The international recycling symbol. ... Anthropocentrism (Greek άνθρωπος, anthropos, human, κέντρον, kentron, center), or the human-centered principle, refers to the idea that humanity must always remain the central concern for humans. ... Manifestations Slavery · Racial profiling Hate speech · Hate crime Lynching · Gay bashing Genocide · Holocaust Ethnocide · Ethnic cleansing Pogrom · Race war Religious persecution Movements Discriminatory Aryanism · Neo-Nazism White/Black supremacy Hate groups · Kahanism Anti-discriminatory Abolitionism Womens/Universal suffrage Civil rights · Gay rights Childrens rights · Youth rights Groups NAACP... Classism (a term formed by analogy with racism) is any form of prejudice or oppression against people who are in, or who are perceived as being like those who are in, a lower social class (especially in the form of lower or higher socioeconomic status) within a class society. ... The sign of the headquarters of the National Association Opposed To Woman Suffrage Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the... Political correctness is the alteration of language to redress real or alleged injustices and discrimination or to avoid offense. ...

Health emphasis

Environmental justice focuses on the direct impact on living conditions of affected communities. These are primarily health concerns. It often focuses on environmental concerns on urban areas where people live, as opposed to wilderness areas. Corporate accountability is a major component of environmental justice.

See also

Environmental policy making or enforcement thereof that specifically and directly affects people of color, certain ethnic/racial groups, or native wild species in a negative manner. ... Rural Action is a non profit working in Appalachian Ohio promoting economic, social and environmental justice. ... // Alton, Rhode Island is a small township (about 250 residents) within the city of Richmond, RI [1]. It is located about one hour south of Providence, the states capital. ... Hunters Point or Bayview-Hunters Point is a neighborhood in the southeastern portion of San Francisco, California, zip code 94124. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Statement of Principles - Environmental Justice - Sierra Club (541 words)
Environmental justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.
Environmental justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
Environmental justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth's resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to insure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
  More results at FactBites »



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