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Scientific paper


Is there a Global Environmental Justice Movement?

Leah Temper, Daniela Del Bene, Joan Martinez‐Alier, Arnim Scheidel

Entry type:
Scientific paper

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International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)


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Keywords: Environmental justice, ecological distribution conflicts, collaborative research, activist knowledge, EJatlas, environmental racism, environmentalism of the poor, climate justice, statistical political ecology

Abstract: One of the causes of the increasing number of ecological distribution conflicts around the world is the changing metabolism of the economy in terms of growing flows of energy and materials. There are conflicts on resource extraction, transport, and waste disposal. Therefore, there are many local complaints, as shown in the Atlas of Environmental Justice (EJatlas) and other inventories. And not only complaints, there are also many successful examples of stopping projects and developing alternatives, testifying to the existence of a rural and urban global movement for environmental justice. Moreover, since the 1980s and 1990s, this movement developed a set of concepts and campaign slogans to describe and intervene in such conflicts. They include environmental racism, popular epidemiology, the environmentalism of the poor and the indigenous, biopiracy, tree plantations are not forests, the ecological debt, climate justice, food sovereignty, land grabbing, water justice, among other concepts. These terms were born from socio-environmental activism but sometimes they have been taken up also by academic political ecologists and ecological economists who, on their part, have contributed other concepts to the global environmental justice movement, e.g. ‘ecologically unequal exchange’ or the ‘ecological footprint’.

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