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The concept and measurement of environmental justice

The concept and measurement of environmental justice

Chapter:
(p.15) TWO The concept and measurement of environmental justice
Source:
Achieving environmental justice
Author(s):
Karen Bell
Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447305941.003.0002

Individually and collectively, people around the world have opposed environmental injustice for hundreds of years. However, most commentators agree that the conceptualisation and use of the term ‘environmental justice’ first emerged in the 1980s, out of resistance to the siting of toxic facilities in black and other minority ethnic communities in the United States. Therefore, the term ‘environmental justice’ was originally applied to the socio-spatial distribution of pollution within national borders and, in particular, environmental racism in facility siting. It has since been taken up in other parts of the world and, over the past decade, the concept of environmental justice and its associated research methodologies have begun to be used in other countries around the globe. In the process of expanding its boundaries, environmental justice has become a somewhat contentious term. In general, it seems that activists have tended to promote a wider, and often more radical, use of the concept, applying it to more diverse contexts and issues, while policy makers and most academics have clung to a narrower definition. This chapter explores these debates.

Keywords:   intra-national environmental justice, inter-national environmental justice, inter-generational environmental justice, inter-species environmental justice, ecological footprint, Environmental Justice Indicator Framework, procedural justice, substantive justice, distributive justice, democracy

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