Global Environmental Justice Issues

Thus far this chapter has concentrated on the environmental justice movement in the U.S. Now the focus will shift to examining environmental justice from a global perspective. During the 1980s and first part of the 1990s, the environmental justice movement was building strength and recognition in the U.S., moving from a local grassroots movement to a national issue. Now that environmental justice is well established as an issue of national importance, the U.S. EPA and scholars are addressing the issue from a global perspective.

One scholar, Schlosberg, [30] argues that achieving global environmental justice must involve three things: (1) equity in the distribution of risk; (2) recognition of the diversity of those impacted by environmental pollution; and (3) participation in the environmental policymaking process. The author notes in the U.S. the issue of distribution is consistently a key issue with environmental justice, but it is always linked with recognition and political participation. The same can be said for the global environmental justice movement. According to Schlosberg, the unequal distribution of environmental pollution on a global level is tied to the inequity of socio-economic and cultural status. These impacted communities are generally not politically connected. Schlosberg notes the recent actions by protesters against the most visible institutions of the new global economy—the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank—involve themes of environmental justice. When examining the issue of environmental justice from a global perspective Schlosberg states:

A singular focus on justice as distribution.is not only limited in theory, but it cannot encompass the broad and diverse demands for justice made by the global environmental justice movement. Demands for recognition of cultural identity and for full democratic rights are integral for justice as well. [30].

Schlosberg also indicates how the global environmental justice movement demonstrates unity without uniformity by highlighting the plurality of the movement towards a unified goal. This is similar to the development of the movement in the U.S.

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Responses

  • Carol
    Is global issues a local, national, or global one?
    8 years ago

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