chapter  1
15 Pages

A Brief on Environmental Justice

WithJohn Byrne, Cecilia Martinez, Leigh Glover

Contemporary usage of the term 'environmental justice' arose from resistance movements organized to expose the socially unequal environmental risks and effects of industrialization. Learning from the environmental justice debate, the discourse of political economy is presently searching for an appropriate understanding of national and global structures of ecological injustice. The chapter reviews the evolution of the discourse on environmental justice in international political economy. The exchange of ideas on sources of environmental injustice prompted new questions that opened fresh avenues of inquiry into political economy. Conceptually, environmental justice has its roots in theories of social and political power and social movements. The priority placed on race, gender, and culture as explanations of environmental damage distinguish this movement from the more traditional political economy critiques of capitalism. Established environmental organizations became prominent in environmental justice issues and were particularly important in highlighting international themes.