Publication date:

07 March 2006

Length of book:

458 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739109120

The emerging environmental justice movement has created greater awareness among scholars that communities from all over the world suffer from similar environmental inequalities. This volume takes up the challenge of linking the focussed campaigns and insights from African American campaigns for environmental justice with the perspectives of this global group of environmentally marginalized groups. The editorial team has drawn on Washington's work, on Paul Rosier's study of Native American environmentalism, and on Heather Goodall's work with Indigenous Australians to seek out wider perspectives on the relationships between memories of injustice and demands for environmental justice in the global arena. This collection contributes to environmental historiography by providing "bottom up" environmental histories in a field which so far has mostly emphasized a "top down" perspective, in which the voices of those most heavily burdened by environmental degradation are often ignored. The essays here serve as a modest step in filling this lacuna in environmental history by providing the viewpoints of peoples and of indigenous communities which traditionally have been neglected while linking them to a global context of environmental activism and education.

Scholars of environmental justice, as much as the activists in their respective struggle, face challenges in working comparatively to locate the differences between local struggles as well as to celebrate their common ground. In this sense, the chapters in this book represent the opening up of spaces for future conversations rather than any simple ending to the discussion. The contributions, however, reflect growing awareness of that common ground and a rising need to employ linked experiences and strategies in combating environmental injustice on a global scale, in part by mimicking the technology and tools employed by global corporations that endanger the environmental integrity of a diverse set of homelands and ecologies.
This bold and broad-ranging book presents the pan-global phenomenon of environmental injustice from an historical perspective for the first time. In a volume of well-written and sophisticated analyses, expert authors explore the roots and effects of environmental inequity in societies as different as Finland, Zimbabwe, Australia, Martinique, Taiwan, and the United States. Covering a diversity of urban and rural communities in the developing and developed world, periphery and metropole, indigenous and academic voices are finely balanced. This ambitious collection is innovative in including wide variety and different scales of environmental impacts, including forestry, mining, housing and industrial development, water supply, the effects of pollution and much else. This thought-provoking and instructive book with its interesting mix of perspectives will have wide appeal.