Achieving environmental justice : applying civil rights strategies to environmental justice
MacWilliam, Devon Hudson.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. Environmental justice is both a distributive and participative issue. Distributive environmental justice involves fair allocation of environmental risks (like poor air quality, hazardous work environments, and toxic run-off) and resources (like clean water, lead-free playgrounds, and pollutant free air) where people live, work, and play, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, etc. Participative justice involves the meaningful inclusion of all stakeholders in the environmental decision making process, from needs identification to planning, building, maintenance, and enforcement, again regardless or race, ethnicity, national origin, etc.; This paper argues that the environmental justice movement has reached a tipping point, and that the issues of distributive and participative justice would greatly benefit from new and enforceable federal legislation protecting minority communities from disproportionate harm. Academic and scientific foundations have been laid for a new swell in enthusiasm for change, and local communities have asserted their voices into the decision-making process and fought for justice across the country. The current environmental approach at the local, state, and federal levels, however, has proven insufficient to counter the pervasive and often subtle and institutionalized environmental injustices.; The movement must adapt in order to ensure that real justice in environmental affairs for all commences. Environmental justice victims, leaders, and advocates can learn from the adaptive progress of the civil rights movement. Forced to develop new techniques when a traditional method, legal action, was threatened, civil right activists organized a movement based on community organizing and symbolic leaders. The example of adaptability is a good one for any movement, and the change agents developed in the civil rights movement compose a specific framework from which the environmental justice movement can learn.
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