Environmental justice

Environmental justice as a political subject

In the US, environmental justice (EJ) is not just researched and discussed, but since the 1990s the focus of preventive activities, where procedures for consensual decisions and socially acceptable distributions of environmental "bads" have been tested.

Practical-political implementation of EJ needs at least

Such criteria may be relevant in Germany, too, for planning and decision-making (eg., consideration of socioeconomic characteristics of the population at the planned site in planning approvals) and procedural norms (e.g., information and participation rights of the population affected by severe environmental changes).

Until now, EJ is mostly ignored in Germany, for the following reasons:

Outside the US, the response to EJ is heterogeneous. In developing countries, environmental problems have for a long time been seen as a consequence of poverty and political discrimination, often without ethnical/racial discrimination, as usually implied in the US. Then, other present problems may be subsumed under EJ in a wider sense (environmentalism of the poor) - e.g., conflicts in Latin America, Southeast Asia, or Eastern Europe.

Accordingly, EJ has repeatedly been the topic of conferences outside the US in recent years - e.g., in Australia (1997), Mexico (2000), South Africa (2001, 2002), Kenia (2002), Cuba (2003) -, often in connection with globalization, sustainability, Agenda 21, etc. In Europe, EJ also increasingly becomes a topic - e.g., in 2003, at conferences in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain and United Kingdom.


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