Environmental justice

Social movement / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Environmental justice or eco-justice, is a social movement to address environmental injustice, which occurs when poor or marginalized communities are harmed by hazardous waste, resource extraction, and other land uses from which they do not benefit.[1] The movement has generated hundreds of studies showing that exposure to environmental harm is inequitably distributed.[2]

The movement began in the United States in the 1980s. It was heavily influenced by the American civil rights movement and focused on environmental racism within rich countries. The movement was later expanded to consider gender, international environmental injustice, and inequalities within marginised groups. As the movement achieved some success in rich countries, environmental burdens were shifted to the Global South (as for example through extractivism or the global waste trade). The movement for environmental justice has thus become more global, with some of its aims now being articulated by the United Nations. The movement overlaps with movements for Indigenous land rights and for the human right to a healthy environment.[3]

The goal of the environmental justice movement is to achieve agency for marginalised communities in making environmental decisions that affect their lives. The global environmental justice movement arises from local environmental conflicts in which environmental defenders frequently confront multi-national corporations in resource extraction or other industries. Local outcomes of these conflicts are increasingly influenced by trans-national environmental justice networks.[4][5]

Environmental justice scholars have produced a large interdisciplinary body of social science literature that includes contributions to political ecology, environmental law, and theories on justice and sustainability.[1][6]

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