front cover of American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism
American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism
The Middle Place
Joni Adamson
University of Arizona Press, 2001
Although much contemporary American Indian literature examines the relationship between humans and the land, most Native authors do not set their work in the "pristine wilderness" celebrated by mainstream nature writers. Instead, they focus on settings such as reservations, open-pit mines, and contested borderlands. Drawing on her own teaching experience among Native Americans and on lessons learned from such recent scenes of confrontation as Chiapas and Black Mesa, Joni Adamson explores why what counts as "nature" is often very different for multicultural writers and activist groups than it is for mainstream environmentalists.

This powerful book is one of the first to examine the intersections between literature and the environment from the perspective of the oppressions of race, class, gender, and nature, and the first to review American Indian literature from the standpoint of environmental justice and ecocriticism. By examining such texts as Sherman Alexie's short stories and Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Almanac of the Dead, Adamson contends that these works, in addition to being literary, are examples of ecological criticism that expand Euro-American concepts of nature and place.

Adamson shows that when we begin exploring the differences that shape diverse cultural and literary representations of nature, we discover the challenge they present to mainstream American culture, environmentalism, and literature. By comparing the work of Native authors such as Simon Ortiz with that of environmental writers such as Edward Abbey, she reveals opportunities for more multicultural conceptions of nature and the environment.

More than a work of literary criticism, this is a book about the search to find ways to understand our cultural and historical differences and similarities in order to arrive at a better agreement of what the human role in nature is and should be. It exposes the blind spots in early ecocriticism and shows the possibilities for building common ground— a middle place— where writers, scholars, teachers, and environmentalists might come together to work for social and environmental change.

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Building Something Better
Environmental Crises and the Promise of Community Change
Stephanie A. Malin
Rutgers University Press, 2022
As the turmoil of interlinked crises unfolds across the world—from climate change to growing inequality to the rise of authoritarian governments—social scientists examine what is happening and why. Can communities devise alternatives to the systems that are doing so much harm to the planet and people?
Sociologists Stephanie A. Malin and Meghan Elizbeth Kallman offer a clear, accessible volume that demonstrates the ways that communities adapt in the face of crises and explains that sociology can help us understand how and why they do this challenging work. Tackling neoliberalism head-on, these communities are making big changes by crafting distributive and regenerative systems that depart from capitalist approaches. The vivid case studies presented range from activist water protectors to hemp farmers to renewable energy cooperatives led by Indigenous peoples and nations. Alongside these studies, Malin and Kallman present incisive critiques of colonialism, extractive capitalism, and neoliberalism, while demonstrating how sociology’s own disciplinary traditions have been complicit with those ideologies—and must expand beyond them.
Showing that it is possible to challenge social inequality and environmental degradation by refusing to continue business-as-usual, Building Something Better offers both a call to action and a dose of hope in a time of crises.

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Carbon Criminals, Climate Crimes
Ronald C. Kramer
Rutgers University Press, 2020
2020 Choice​ Outstanding Academic Title

Carbon Criminals, Climate Crimes analyzes the looming threats posed by climate change from a criminological perspective. It advances the field of green criminology through a examination of the criminal nature of catastrophic environmental harms resulting from the release of greenhouse gases. The book describes and explains what corporations in the fossil fuel industry, the U.S. government, and the international political community did, or failed to do, in relation to global warming. Carbon Criminals, Climate Crimes integrates research and theory from a wide variety of disciplines, to analyze four specific state-corporate climate crimes: continued extraction of fossil fuels and rising carbon emissions; political omission (failure) related to the mitigation of these emissions; socially organized climate change denial; and climate crimes of empire, which include militaristic forms of adaptation to climate disruption. The final chapter reviews policies that could mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to a warming world, and achieve climate justice.

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Challenging the Chip
Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry
edited by Ted Smith, David A. Sonnenfeld and David Naguib Pellow, foreword by Jim Hightower
Temple University Press, 2006
From Silicon Valley in California to Silicon Glen in Scotland, from Silicon Island in Taiwan to Silicon Paddy in China, the social, economic, and ecological effects of the international electronics industry are widespread. The production of electronic and computer components contaminates air, land, and water around the globe. As this eye-opening book reveals, the people who suffer the consequences are largely poor, female, immigrant, and minority. Challenging the Chip is the first comprehensive examination of the impacts of electronics manufacturing on workers and local environments across the planet. Contributors to this pioneering volume include many of the world's most articulate, passionate and progressive visionaries, scholars and advocates. Here they not only document the unsustainable and often devastating practices of the global electronics industry but also chronicle creative ways in which activists, government agencies, and others have attempted to reform the industry—through resistance, persuasion, and regulation.

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Climate Change and U.S. Cities
Urban Systems, Sectors, and Prospects for Action
Edited by William Solecki and Cynthia Rosenzweig
Island Press, 2021
Approximately 80% of the U.S. population now lives in urban metropolitan areas, and this number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. At the same time, the built infrastructure sustaining these populations has become increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Stresses to existing systems, such as buildings, energy, transportation, water, and sanitation are growing. If the status quo continues, these systems will be unable to support a high quality of life for urban residents over the next decades, a vulnerability exacerbated by climate change impacts. Understanding this dilemma and identifying a path forward is particularly important as cities are becoming leading agents of climate action.

Prepared as a follow-up to the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA), Climate Change and U.S. Cities documents the current understanding of existing and future climate risk for U.S. cities, urban systems, and the residents that depend on them. Beginning with an examination of the existing science since 2012, chapters develop connections between existing and emerging climate risk, adaptation planning, and the role of networks and organizations in facilitating climate action in cities. From studies revealing disaster vulnerability among low-income populations to the development of key indicators for tracking climate change, this is an essential, foundational analysis. Importantly, the assessment puts a critical emphasis on the cross-cutting factors of economics, equity, and governance.

Urban stakeholders and decision makers will come away with a full picture of existing climate risks and a set of conclusions and recommendations for action. Many cities in the United States still have not yet planned for climate change and the costs of inaction are great. With bold analysis, Climate Change and U.S. Cities reveals the need for action and the tools that cities must harness to effect decisive, meaningful change.

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Crucible For Survival
Environmental Security and Justice in the Indian Ocean Region
Doyle, Timothy
Rutgers University Press, 2008
In this collection, Timothy Doyle and Melissa Risely bring together an international group of environmentalists, political scientists, and international relations scholars to address key issues vital to determining the human and environmental security of the Indian Ocean Region. Addressing topics that include agrifood production systems, the geopolitics of water resources along the Mekong River basin, oil production, transportation, waste disposal, and climate change, the contributors highlight the importance of regional collaboration and offer policy and management strategies for cooperative, multinational problem solving.

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Defending the Environment
Civil Society Strategies to Enforce International Environmental Law
Linda A. Malone and Scott Pasternack
Island Press, 2006

Defending the Environment provides the means for nongovernmental organizations, community groups, and individuals to bring environmental and public health problems to the attention of international courts, tribunals, and commissions, or to their domestic counterparts. It suggests specific strategies and provides detailed information for taking action. This revised and updated edition also contains new case studies of the application of those strategies that has occurred in recent years.

Each chapter provides a description of the institutional mechanisms that can potentially receive, review, and remedy the alleged violation, along with a set of guidelines that explain how the reader can employ a particular strategy, and an example that indicates the effectiveness of a given strategy. In addition, the book offers an appendix that lists individuals and organizations who can assist with the various strategies described.

Defending the Environment represents the first concise, comprehensive guide to international environmental law and institutions that offers readers hands-on strategies for addressing environmental and public health problems.


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Diversifying Power
Why We Need Antiracist, Feminist Leadership on Climate and Energy
Jennie C. Stephens, foreword by Ted Landsmark
Island Press, 2020
The climate crisis is a crisis of leadership. For too long too many leaders have prioritized corporate profits over the public good, exacerbating climate vulnerabilities while reinforcing economic and racial injustice. Transformation to a just, sustainable renewable-based society requires leaders who connect social justice to climate and energy.

During the Trump era, connections among white supremacy; environmental destruction; and fossil fuel dependence have become more conspicuous. Many of the same leadership deficiencies that shaped the inadequate response in the United States to the coronavirus pandemic have also thwarted the US response to the climate crisis.  The inadequate and ineffective framing of climate change as a narrow, isolated, discrete problem to be “solved” by technical solutions is failing. The dominance of technocratic, white, male perspectives on climate and energy has inhibited investments in social change and social innovations. With new leadership and diverse voices, we can strengthen climate resilience, reduce racial and economic inequities, and promote social justice.

In Diversifying Power, energy expert Jennie Stephens argues that the key to effectively addressing the climate crisis is diversifying leadership so that antiracist, feminist priorities are central.  All politics is now climate politics, so all policies, from housing to health, now have to integrate climate resilience and renewable energy. 

Stephens takes a closer look at climate and energy leadership related to job creation and economic justice, health and nutrition, housing and transportation. She looks at why we need to resist by investing in bold diverse leadership to curb the “the polluter elite.” We need to reclaim and restructure climate and energy systems so policies are explicitly linked to social, economic, and racial justice. 

Inspirational stories of diverse leaders who integrate antiracist, feminist values to build momentum for structural transformative change are woven throughout the book, along with Stephens’ experience as a woman working on climate and energy. The shift from a divided, unequal, extractive, and oppressive society to a just, sustainable, regenerative, and healthy future has already begun.

But structural change needs more bold and ambitious leaders at all levels, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with the Green New Deal, or the Secwepemc women of the Tiny House Warriors resisting the Trans Mountain pipeline. 

Diversifying Power offers hope and optimism. Stephens shows how the biggest challenges facing society are linked and anyone can get involved to leverage the power of collective action. By highlighting the creative individuals and organizations making change happen, she provides inspiration and encourages transformative action on climate and energy justice.

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Ecological Borderlands
Body, Nature, and Spirit in Chicana Feminism
Christina Holmes
University of Illinois Press, 2016
Environmental practices among Mexican American woman have spurred a reconsideration of ecofeminism among Chicana feminists. Christina Holmes examines ecological themes across the arts, Chicana activism, and direct action groups to reveal how Chicanas can craft alternative models for ecofeminist processes. Holmes revisits key debates to analyze issues surrounding embodiment, women's connections to nature, and spirituality's role in ecofeminist philosophy and practice. By doing so, she challenges Chicanas to escape the narrow frameworks of the past in favor of an inclusive model of environmental feminism that alleviates Western biases. Holmes uses readings of theory, elaborations of ecological narratives in Chicana cultural productions, histories of human and environmental rights struggles in the Southwest, and a description of an activist exemplar to underscore the importance of living with decolonializing feminist commitment in body, nature, and spirit.

front cover of Ecopopulism
Toxic Waste and the Movement for Environmental Justice
Andrew Szasz
University of Minnesota Press, 1994
"This slim but well-documented book raises far more questions than it answers, which, in and of itself, is of course a noteworthy contribution. Szasz has called attention to specific aspects of the hazardous waste movement that have been heretofore overlooked, and he thereby provides us with a wealth of new questions to address and answer." Ethics, Place and Environment "Szasz does a commendable job of linking the crucial issues of class, race and gender-issues that are often either ignored or downplayed-to the environment. Szasz compellingly argues that toxic victims are usually poor or working class. EcoPopulism is recommended not only for those concerned with the environment and social movements, but also for those interested in public policy and political economy. A fascinating account of a powerful grassroots movement still in progress." Boston Book Review "Andrew Szasz has written a very strong book of interest both to the academic and to the environmental activist. This is a fine little book that deserves a wide readership." Political Studies "EcoPopulism is a stimulating book because is assesses the transformation of the environmental movement in recent years and broadens our understanding of social activism." Journal of American History "Andrew Szasz has provided us a detailed insight of a movement which may very well continue to have a great impact on world politics." Canadian Field-Naturalist "It is precisely due to the transdisciplinarity of both the toxics movement and Szasz's study of it that the book is appropriate for so many people. EcoPopulism is recommended not only for those concerned with the environment and social movements, but would also be relevant and worthwhile for those interested in media analysis and current events as well as public policy and political economy." Journal of Political Ecology "Szasz's forte is analyzing the political dynamics surrounding a major technology movement. This is a valuable supplementary text for graduate courses in social movements, environmental sociology, political sociology, and related fields." Contemporary Sociology "The book is a highly readable and timely addition to the rapidly growing literature on environmental politics and activism. A valuable contribution to the literature on environmental history and politics. The book will be of significant interest to environmental geographers, historians, and sociologists." Economic Geography "The book is a considerable achievement of scholarship and inspiration." Sociology "In providing a rich review of critical issues, Szasz argues that while policy experts, government officials and industry spokesperson were all trying desperately to find ways to neutralize the now powerful local movements, lawmakers were responding to public concerns by increasing the federal laws governing hazardous waste." Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management Moment by moment the evidence mounts that unchecked modern industry is bringing us ever closer to environmental disaster. How can we move away from the brink of extinction, toward a human society the earth can bear? In the thriving popular politics of hazardous waste, Andrew Szasz finds an answer, a scenario for taking the most pressing environmental issues out of the academy and the boardroom and turning them into everyone's business. This book reconstructs the growth of a powerful movement around the question of toxic waste. Szasz follows the issue as it moves from the world of "official" policymaking in Washington, onto the nation's television screens and into popular consciousness, and then into America's neighborhoods, spurring the formation of thousands of local, community-based groups. He shows how, in less than a decade, a rich infrastructure of more permanent social organizations emerged from this movement, expanding its focus to include issues like municipal waste, military toxics, and pesticides. In the growth of this movement, we witness the birth of a radical environmental populism. Here Szasz identifies the force that pushed environmental policy away from the traditional approach, pollution removal, toward the superior logic of pollution prevention. He discusses the conflicting official responses to the movement's evolution, revealing that, despite initial resistance, lawmakers eventually sought to appease popular discontent by strengthening toxic waste laws. In its success, Szasz suggests, this movement may even prove to be the vehicle for reinvigorating progressive politics in the United States. Winner of the 1994-1995 Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award Andrew Szasz is associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Edges of Exposure
Toxicology and the Problem of Capacity in Postcolonial Senegal
Noémi Tousignant
Duke University Press, 2018
In the industrialized nations of the global North, well-funded agencies like the CDC attend to citizens' health, monitoring and treating for toxic poisons like lead. How do the under-resourced nations of the global South meet such challenges? In Edges of Exposure, Noémi Tousignant traces the work of toxicologists in Senegal as they have sought to warn of and remediate the presence of heavy metals and other poisons in their communities. Situating recent toxic scandals within histories of science and regulation in postcolonial Africa, Tousignant shows how decolonization and structural adjustment have impacted toxicity and toxicology research. Ultimately, as Tousignant reveals, scientists' capacity to conduct research—as determined by material working conditions, levels of public investment, and their creative but not always successful efforts to make visible the harm of toxic poisons—affects their ability to keep equipment, labs, projects, and careers going.

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Environment, Power, and Justice
Southern African Histories
Graeme Wynn
Ohio University Press, 2022

Spanning the colonial, postcolonial, and postapartheid eras, these historical and locally specific case studies analyze and engage vernacular, activist, and scholarly efforts to mitigate social-environmental inequity.

This book highlights the ways poor and vulnerable people in South Africa, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe have mobilized against the structural and political forces that deny them a healthy and sustainable environment. Spanning the colonial, postcolonial, and postapartheid eras, these studies engage vernacular, activist, and scholarly efforts to mitigate social-environmental inequity. Some chapters track the genealogies of contemporary activism, while others introduce positions, actors, and thinkers not previously identified with environmental justice. Addressing health, economic opportunity, agricultural policy, and food security, the chapters in this book explore a range of issues and ways of thinking about harm to people and their ecologies.

Because environmental justice is often understood as a contemporary phenomenon framed around North American examples, these fresh case studies will enrich both southern African history and global environmental studies. Environment, Power, and Justice expands conceptions of environmental justice and reveals discourses and dynamics that advance both scholarship and social change.


  • Christopher Conz
  • Marc Epprecht
  • Mary Galvin
  • Sarah Ives
  • Admire Mseba
  • Muchaparara Musemwa
  • Matthew A. Schnurr
  • Cherryl Walker

front cover of Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles
Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles
Race, Class and the Environment
David E. Camacho, ed.
Duke University Press, 1998
In the United States, few issues are more socially divisive than the location of hazardous waste facilities and other environmentally harmful enterprises. Do the negative impacts of such polluters fall disproportionately on African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans? Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles discusses how political, economic, social, and cultural factors contribute to local government officials’ consistent location of hazardous and toxic waste facilities in low-income neighborhoods and how, as a result, low-income groups suffer disproportionately from the regressive impacts of environmental policy.
David E. Camacho’s collection of essays examines the value-laden choices behind the public policy that determines placement of commercial environmental hazards, points to the underrepresentation of people of color in the policymaking process, and discusses the lack of public advocates representing low-income neighborhoods and communities. This book combines empirical evidence and case studies—from the failure to provide basic services to the “colonias” in El Paso County, Texas, to the race for water in Nevada—and covers in great detail the environmental dangers posed to minority communities, including the largely unexamined communities of Native Americans. The contributors call for cooperation between national environmental interest groups and local grassroots activism, more effective incentives and disincentives for polluters, and the adoption by policymakers of an alternative, rather than privileged, perspective that is more sensitive to the causes and consequences of environmental inequities.
Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles is a unique collection for those interested in the environment, public policy, and civil rights as well as for students and scholars of political science, race and ethnicity, and urban and regional planning.

Contributors. C. Richard Bath, Kate A. Berry, John G. Bretting, David E. Camacho, Jeanne Nienaber Clarke, Andrea K. Gerlak, Peter I. Longo, Diane-Michele Prindeville, Linda Robyn, Stephen Sandweiss, Janet M. Tanski, Mary M. Timney, Roberto E. Villarreal, Harvey L. White


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Environmental Justice in South Africa
David A. McDonald
Ohio University Press, 2002
Environmental Justice in South Africa provides a systematic overview of the first ten years of postapartheid environmental politics. Written by leading activists and academics in the field, this edited collection offers the first critical perspective of environmental justice theory and practice in South Africa. Accessible and wide-ranging in its coverage, the book offers a benchmark analysis of the environmental justice movement today as well as an assessment of where it may be headed in the future.

Beginning with a history of the environmental justice movement in the country, the book explores a range of conceptual and practical questions: How does environmental justice relate to issues of marginalization and poverty in South Africa? What are the links between environmental justice and other schools of environmental thought? Is the legal system an appropriate tool for addressing environmental equity? How do race, class, and gender intersect in the South African environmental context?

The second half of the book is a more concrete exploration of environmental (in)justice in the country. These chapters are interspersed with real-life stories of struggles by workers and communities for environmental change. The book is an invaluable resource for South African and international audiences interested in the growing, and increasingly global, environmental justice movement.

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Environmental Justice
Issues, Policies, and Solutions
Edited by Bunyan Bryant
Island Press, 1995

In Environmental Justice, leading thinkers of the environmental justice movement take a direct look at the failure of "top down" public policy to effectively deal with issues of environmental equity.

The book provides a startling look at pressing social and environmental problems and charts a course for future action. Among the topics considered are: the history of the social justice movement the role of the professional in working with community groups methods of dealing with environmental problems at the international level participatory national policy for environmental education, energy, industrial development, and housing and sustainable development.

Contributors include Robert Bullard, Deeohn Ferris, Tom B.K. Goldtooth, David Hahn-Baker, Beverly Wright, Ivette Perfecto, Patrick West, and others.


front cover of The Environmental Justice Reader
The Environmental Justice Reader
Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy
Edited by Joni Adamson, Mei Mei Evans, and Rachel Stein
University of Arizona Press, 2002
From the First National People of Color Congress on Environmental Leadership to WTO street protests of the new millennium, environmental justice activists have challenged the mainstream movement by linking social inequalities to the uneven distribution of environmental dangers. Grassroots movements in poor communities and communities of color strive to protect neighborhoods and worksites from environmental degradation and struggle to gain equal access to the natural resources that sustain their cultures.

This book examines environmental justice in its social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions in both local and global contexts, with special attention paid to intersections of race, gender, and class inequality. The first book to link political studies, literary analysis, and teaching strategies, it offers a multivocal approach that combines perspectives from organizations such as the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice and the International Indigenous Treaty Council with the insights of such notable scholars as Devon Peña, Giovanna Di Chiro, and Valerie Kuletz, and also includes a range of newer voices in the field.

This collection approaches environmental justice concerns from diverse geographical, ethnic, and disciplinary perspectives, always viewing environmental issues as integral to problems of social inequality and oppression. It offers new case studies of native Alaskans' protests over radiation poisoning; Hispanos' struggles to protect their land and water rights; Pacific Islanders' resistance to nuclear weapons testing and nuclear waste storage; and the efforts of women employees of maquiladoras to obtain safer living and working environments along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The selections also include cultural analyses of environmental justice arts, such as community art and greening projects in inner-city Baltimore, and literary analyses of writers such as Jimmy Santiago Baca, Linda Hogan, Barbara Neely, Nez Perce orators, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Karen Yamashita—artists who address issues such as toxicity and cancer, lead poisoning of urban African American communities, and Native American struggles to remove dams and save salmon. The book closes with a section of essays that offer models to teachers hoping to incorporate these issues and texts into their classrooms. By combining this array of perspectives, this book makes the field of environmental justice more accessible to scholars, students, and concerned readers.



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The Environmental Justice
William O. Douglass and American Conservation
Adam M. Sowards
Oregon State University Press, 2009

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Every Day We Live Is the Future
Surviving in a City of Disasters
By Douglas Haynes
University of Texas Press, 2017

When she was only nine, Dayani Baldelomar left her Nicaraguan village with nothing more than a change of clothes. She was among tens of thousands of rural migrants to Managua in the 1980s and 1990s. After years of homelessness, Dayani landed in a shantytown called The Widows, squeezed between a drainage ditch and putrid Lake Managua. Her neighbor, Yadira Castellón, also migrated from the mountains. Driven by hope for a better future for their children, Dayani, Yadira, and their husbands invent jobs in Managua’s spreading markets and dumps, joining the planet’s burgeoning informal economy. But a swelling tide of family crises and environmental calamities threaten to break their toehold in the city.

Dayani’s and Yadira’s struggles reveal one of the world’s biggest challenges: by 2050, almost one-third of all people will likely live in slums without basic services, vulnerable to disasters caused by the convergence of climate change and breakneck urbanization. To tell their stories, Douglas Haynes followed Dayani’s and Yadira’s families for five years, learning firsthand how their lives in the city are a tightrope walk between new opportunities and chronic insecurity. Every Day We Live Is the Future is a gripping, unforgettable account of two women’s herculean efforts to persevere and educate their children. It sounds a powerful call for understanding the growing risks to new urbanites, how to help them prosper, and why their lives matter for us all.


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From Enron to Evo
Pipeline Politics, Global Environmentalism, and Indigenous Rights in Bolivia
Derrick Hindery; Foreword by Susanna B. Hecht
University of Arizona Press, 2013
Throughout the Americas, a boom in oil, gas, and mining development has pushed the extractive frontier deeper into Indigenous territories. Centering on a long-term study of Enron and Shell’s Cuiabá pipeline, From Enron to Evo traces the struggles of Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples for self-determination over their lives and territories. In his analysis of their response to this encroaching development, author Derrick Hindery also sheds light on surprising similarities between neoliberal reform and the policies of the nation’s first Indigenous president, Evo Morales.

Drawing upon extensive interviews and document analysis, Hindery argues that many of the structural conditions created by neoliberal policies—including partial privatization of the oil and gas sector—still persist under Morales. Tactics employed by both Morales and his neoliberal predecessors utilize the rhetoric of environmental protection and Indigenous rights to justify oil, gas, mining, and road development in Indigenous territories and sensitive ecoregions.

Indigenous peoples, while mindful of gains made during Morales’s tenure, are increasingly dissatisfied with the administration’s development model, particularly when it infringes upon their right to self-determination. From Enron to Evo demonstrates their dynamic and pragmatic strategies to cope with development and adversity, while also advancing their own aims.

Offering a critique of both free-market piracy and the dilemmas of resource nationalism, this is a groundbreaking book for scholars, policy-makers, and advocates concerned with Indigenous politics, social movements, environmental justice, and resistance in an era of expanding resource development.

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From Environmental Loss to Resistance
Infrastructure and the Struggle for Justice in North America
Michael Loadenthal
University of Massachusetts Press, 2020
North Americans have reached a socioenvironmental tipping point where social transformation has become necessary to secure a stable and desirable future. As hurricanes destroy coastal areas that once hosted schools and homes, petroleum refineries choke nearby communities and their parks, and pipeline construction threatens water rights for indigenous peoples, communities are left to determine how to best manage and mitigate environmental loss.

In this new collection, a range of contributors—among them researchers, practitioners, organizers, and activists—explore the ways in which people counter or cope with feelings of despair, leverage action for positive change, and formulate pathways to achieve environmental justice goals. These essays pay particular attention to issues of race, class, economic liberalization, and geography; place contemporary environmental struggles in a critical context that emphasizes justice, connection, and reconciliation; and raise important questions about the challenges and responses that concern those pursuing environmental justice.

Contributors include the volume editors, Carol J. Adams, Randall Amster, Jan Inglis, Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, Zoë Roller, and Michael Truscello.

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From the Ground Up
Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities
Alison Sant
Island Press, 2022
For decades, American cities have experimented with ways to remake themselves in response to climate change. These efforts, often driven by grassroots activism, offer valuable lessons for transforming the places we live. In From the Ground Up: Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities, design expert Alison Sant focuses on the unique ways in which US cities are working to mitigate and adapt to climate change while creating equitable and livable communities. She shows how, from the ground up, we are raising the bar to make cities places in which we don’t just survive, but where all people have the opportunity to thrive.

The efforts discussed in the book demonstrate how urban experimentation and community-based development are informing long-term solutions.  Sant shows how US cities are reclaiming their streets from cars, restoring watersheds, growing forests, and adapting shorelines to improve people’s lives while addressing our changing climate. The best examples of this work bring together the energy of community activists, the organization of advocacy groups, the power of city government, and the reach of federal environmental policy.

Sant presents 12 case studies, drawn from research and over 90 interviews with people who are working in these communities to make a difference. For example, advocacy groups in Washington, DC are expanding the urban tree canopy and offering job training in the growing sector of urban forestry. In New York, transit agencies are working to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians while shortening commutes. In San Francisco, community activists are creating shoreline parks while addressing historic environmental injustice.

From the Ground Up is a call to action. When we make the places we live more climate resilient, we need to acknowledge and address the history of social and racial injustice. Advocates, non-profit organizations, community-based groups, and government officials will find examples of how to build alliances to support and embolden this vision together. Together we can build cities that will be resilient to the challenges ahead.

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From Workshop to Waste Magnet
Environmental Inequality in the Philadelphia Region
Sicotte, Diane
Rutgers University Press, 2016
Like many industrialized regions, the Philadelphia metro area contains pockets of environmental degradation: neighborhoods littered with abandoned waste sites, polluting factories, and smoke-belching incinerators. However, other neighborhoods within and around the city are relatively pristine. This eye-opening book reveals that such environmental inequalities did not occur by chance, but were instead the result of specific policy decisions that served to exacerbate endemic classism and racism. 
From Workshop to Waste Magnet presents Philadelphia’s environmental history as a bracing case study in mismanagement and injustice. Sociologist Diane Sicotte digs deep into the city’s past as a titan of American manufacturing to trace how only a few communities came to host nearly all of the area’s polluting and waste disposal land uses. By examining the complex interactions among economic decline, federal regulations, local politics, and shifting ethnic demographics, she not only dissects what went wrong in Philadelphia but also identifies lessons for environmental justice activism today. 
Sicotte’s research tallies both the environmental and social costs of industrial pollution, exposing the devastation that occurs when mass quantities of society’s wastes mix with toxic levels of systemic racism and economic inequality. From Workshop to Waste Magnet is a compelling read for anyone concerned with the health of America’s cities and the people who live in them. 

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The Garden of God
Pope Benedict XVI
Catholic University of America Press, 2014
This book gathers together the audiences, addresses, letters, and homilies of Benedict on a wide-ranging set of topics that deal with the world about us. The major themes and connections he explores are creation and the natural world; the environment, science, and technology; and hunger, poverty, and the earth's resources.

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Humanity's Last Stand
Confronting Global Catastrophe
Mark Schuller
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Are we as a species headed towards extinction? As our economic system renders our planet increasingly inhospitable to human life, powerful individuals fight over limited resources, and racist reaction to migration strains the social fabric of many countries. How can we retain our humanity in the midst of these life-and-death struggles?
Humanity’s Last Stand dares to ask these big questions, exploring the interconnections between climate change, global capitalism, xenophobia, and white supremacy. As it unearths how capitalism was born from plantation slavery and the slaughter of Indigenous people, it also invites us to imagine life after capitalism. The book teaches its readers how to cultivate an anthropological imagination, a mindset that remains attentive to local differences even as it identifies global patterns of inequality and racism.
Surveying the struggles of disenfranchised peoples around the globe from frontline communities affected by climate change, to #BlackLivesMatter activists, to Indigenous water protectors, to migrant communities facing increasing hostility, anthropologist Mark Schuller argues that we must develop radical empathy in order to move beyond simply identifying as “allies” and start acting as “accomplices.” Bringing together the insights of anthropologists and activists from many cultures, this timely study shows us how to stand together and work toward a more inclusive vision of humanity before it’s too late.

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Indigenous Environmental Justice
Edited by Karen Jarratt-Snider and Marianne O. Nielsen
University of Arizona Press, 2020
This volume clearly distinguishes Indigenous environmental justice (IEJ) from the broader idea of environmental justice (EJ) while offering detailed examples from recent history of environmental injustices that have occurred in Indian Country. With connections to traditional homelands being at the heart of Native identity, environmental justice is of heightened importance to Indigenous communities. Not only do irresponsible and exploitative environmental policies harm the physical and financial health of Indigenous communities, they also cause spiritual harm by destroying land held in a place of exceptional reverence for Indigenous peoples.

With focused essays on important topics such as the uranium mining on Navajo and Hopi lands, the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, environmental cleanup efforts in Alaska, and many other pertinent examples, this volume offers a timely view of the environmental devastation that occurs in Indian Country. It also serves to emphasize the importance of self-determination and sovereignty in victories of Indigenous environmental justice.

The book explores the ongoing effects of colonization and emphasizes Native American tribes as governments rather than ethnic minorities. Combining elements of legal issues, human rights issues, and sovereignty issues, Indigenous Environmental Justice creates a clear example of community resilience in the face of corporate greed and state indifference.

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Just Transitions
Social Justice in the Shift Towards a Low-Carbon World
Edouard Morena
Pluto Press, 2019
In the field of 'climate change', no terrain goes uncontested. The terminological tug of war between activists and corporations, scientists and governments, has seen radical notions of 'sustainability' emptied of urgency and subordinated to the interests of capital. 'Just Transition' is the latest such battleground, and the conceptual keystone of the post-COP21 climate policy world. But what does it really mean?

Just Transition emerged as a framework developed within the trade union movement to encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers' and frontline communities' jobs and livelihoods as economies shift to sustainable production. Just Transitions draws on a range of perspectives from the global North and South to interrogate the overlaps, synergies and tensions between various understandings of the Just Transition approach. As the concept is entering the mainstream, has it lost its radical edge, and if so, can it be recovered?

Written by academics and activists from around the globe, this unique edited collection is the first book entirely devoted to Just Transition.

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Justice and Natural Resources
Concepts, Strategies, and Applications
Edited by Kathryn M. Mutz, Gary C. Bryner, and Douglas S. Kenney; Foreword by Gerald Torres
Island Press, 2001

Just over two decades ago, research findings that environmentally hazardous facilities were more likely to be sited near poor and minority communities gave rise to the environmental justice movement. Yet inequitable distribution of the burdens of industrial facilities and pollution is only half of the problem; poor and minority communities are often denied the benefits of natural resources and can suffer disproportionate harm from decisions about their management and use.

Justice and Natural Resources is the first book devoted to exploring the concept of environmental justice in the realm of natural resources. Contributors consider how decisions about the management and use of natural resources can exacerbate social injustice and the problems of disadvantaged communities. Looking at issues that are predominantly rural and western -- many of them involving Indian reservations, public lands, and resource development activities -- it offers a new and more expansive view of environmental justice.

The book begins by delineating the key conceptual dimensions of environmental justice in the natural resource arena. Following the conceptual chapters are contributions that examine the application of environmental justice in natural resource decision-making. Chapters examine:

  • how natural resource management can affect a range of stakeholders quite differently, distributing benefits to some and burdens to others
  • the potential for using civil rights laws to address damage to natural and cultural resources
  • the unique status of Native American environmental justice claims
  • parallels between domestic and international environmental justice
  • how authority under existing environmental law can be used by Federal regulators and communities to address a broad spectrum of environmental justice concerns
Justice and Natural Resources offers a concise overview of the field of environmental justice and a set of frameworks for understanding it. It expands the previously urban and industrial scope of the movement to include distribution of the burdens and access to the benefits of natural resources, broadening environmental justice to a truly nationwide concern.

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Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign
Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz
Temple University Press, 2013
Written symbols, religious objects, oral traditions, and body language have long been integrated into the Kongo system of graphic writing of the Bakongo people in Central Africa as well as their Cuban descendants. The comprehensive Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign provides a significant overview of the social, religious, and historical contexts in which the Kongo kingdom developed and spread to the Caribbean.

Author Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz, a practitioner of the Palo Monte devotional arts, illustrates with graphics and rock art how the Bakongo’s ideographic and pictographic signs are used to organize daily life, enable interactions between humans and the natural and spiritual worlds, and preserve and transmit cosmological and cosmogonical belief systems.

Exploring cultural diffusion and exchange, collective memory and identity, Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign artfully brings together analyses of the complex interconnections among Kongo traditions of religion, philosophy and visual/gestural communication on both sides of the African Atlantic world.

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Laotian Daughters
Working toward Community, Belonging, and Environmental Justice
Bindi V. Shah
Temple University Press, 2011

Laotian Daughters focuses on second-generation environmental justice activists in Richmond, California. Bindi Shah's pathbreaking book charts these young women's efforts to improve the degraded conditions in their community and explores the ways their activism and political practices resist the negative stereotypes of race, class, and gender associated with their ethnic group.

Using ethnographic observations, interviews, focus groups, and archival data on their participation in Asian Youth Advocates—a youth leadership development project—Shah analyzes the teenagers' mobilization for social rights, cross-race relations, and negotiations of gender and inter-generational relations. She also addresses issues of ethnic youth, and immigration and citizenship and how these shape national identities.

Shah ultimately finds that citizenship as a social practice is not just an adult experience, and that ethnicity is an ongoing force in the political and social identities of second-generation Laotians.


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Latinx Environmentalisms
Place, Justice, and the Decolonial
Sarah D. Wald
Temple University Press, 2019

The whiteness of mainstream environmentalism often fails to account for the richness and variety of Latinx environmental thought. Building on insights of environmental justice scholarship as well as critical race and ethnic studies, the editors and contributors to Latinx Environmentalisms map the ways Latinx cultural texts integrate environmental concerns with questions of social and political justice. 

Original interviews with creative writers, including Cherríe Moraga, Helena María Viramontes, and Héctor Tobar, as well as new essays by noted scholars of Latinx literature and culture, show how Latinx authors and cultural producers express environmental concerns in their work. These chapters, which focus on film, visual art, and literature—and engage in fields such as disability studies, animal studies, and queer studies—emphasize the role of racial capitalism in shaping human relationships to the more-than-human world and reveal a vibrant tradition of Latinx decolonial environmentalism.

Latinx Environmentalisms accounts for the ways Latinx cultures are environmental, but often do not assume the mantle of “environmentalism.”


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Mountains of Injustice
Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia
Michele Morrone
Ohio University Press, 2011

Research in environmental justice reveals that low-income and minority neighborhoods in our nation’s cities are often the preferred sites for landfills, power plants, and polluting factories. Those who live in these sacrifice zones are forced to shoulder the burden of harmful environmental effects so that others can prosper. Mountains of Injustice broadens the discussion from the city to the country by focusing on the legacy of disproportionate environmental health impacts on communities in the Appalachian region, where the costs of cheap energy and cheap goods are actually quite high.

Through compelling stories and interviews with people who are fighting for environmental justice, Mountains of Injustice contributes to the ongoing debate over how to equitably distribute the long-term environmental costs and consequences of economic development.

Laura Allen, Brian Black, Geoffrey L. Buckley, Donald Edward Davis, Wren Kruse, Nancy Irwin Maxwell, Chad Montrie, Michele Morrone, Kathryn Newfont, John Nolt, Jedediah S. Purdy, and Stephen J. Scanlan.


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Natural Assets
Democratizing Ownership Of Nature
Edited by James K. Boyce and Barry G. Shelley
Island Press, 2003

Low-income communities frequently suffer from a lack of access to, or lack of control over, the natural resources that surround them. In many cases, their local environment has been degraded by years of resource extraction and pollution by distant corporations or government agencies. In such settings, initiatives that build natural assets in the hands of the poor can play an important role in poverty-fighting efforts.

Natural Assets explores a range of strategies for expanding the quantity and enhancing the quality of natural assets in the hands of low-income individuals and communities. The book:

• examines the social construction of rights to natural resources and the environment
• describes efforts to curtail pollution of the air, land, and water and to reclaim resources that have been appropriated and abused by polluters
• considers sustainable agricultural practices that not only maintain but actually increase the stock of natural capital
• explores strategies to promote sustainable forest management while reducing rural poverty
• examines the prospects for building natural assets in urban areas
Drawing on evidence from across the United States, the authors demonstrate that safeguarding the environment and improving the well-being of the poor can be mutually reinforcing goals.

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The Nature of Hope
Grassroots Organizing, Environmental Justice, and Political Change
Char Miller
University Press of Colorado, 2018
The Nature of Hope focuses on the dynamics of environmental activism at the local level, examining the environmental and political cultures that emerge in the context of conflict. The book considers how ordinary people have coalesced to demand environmental justice and highlights the powerful role of intersectionality in shaping the on-the-ground dynamics of popular protest and social change.
Through lively and accessible storytelling, The Nature of Hope reveals unsung and unstinting efforts to protect the physical environment and human health in the face of continuing economic growth and development and the failure of state and federal governments to deal adequately with the resulting degradation of air, water, and soils. In an age of environmental crisis, apathy, and deep-seated cynicism, these efforts suggest the dynamic power of a “politics of hope” to offer compelling models of resistance, regeneration, and resilience. The contributors frame their chapters around the drive for greater democracy and improved human and ecological health and demonstrate that local activism is essential to the preservation of democracy and the protection of the environment. The book also brings to light new styles of leadership and new structures for activist organizations, complicating assumptions about the environmental movement in the United States that have focused on particular leaders, agencies, thematic orientations, and human perceptions of nature.
The critical implications that emerge from these stories about ecological activism are crucial to understanding the essential role that protecting the environment plays in sustaining the health of civil society. The Nature of Hope will be crucial reading for scholars interested in environmentalism and the mechanics of social movements and will engage historians, geographers, political scientists, grassroots activists, humanists, and social scientists alike.

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New Perspectives on Environmental Justice
Gender, Sexuality, and Activism
Stein, Rachel
Rutgers University Press, 2004

Women make up the vast majority of activists and organizers of grassroots movements fighting against environmental ills that threaten poor and people of color communities. New Perspectives on Environmental Justice is the first collection of essays that pays tribute to the enormous contributions women have made in these endeavors.

The writers offer varied examples of environmental justice issues such as children's environmental health campaigns, cancer research, AIDS/HIV activism, the Environmental Genome Project, and popular culture, among many others. Each one focuses on gender and sexuality as crucial factors in women's or gay men's activism and applies environmental justice principles to related struggles for sexual justice. The contributors represent a wide variety of activist and scholarly perspectives including law, environmental studies, sociology, political science, history, medical anthropology, American studies, English, African and African American studies, women's studies, and gay and lesbian studies, offering multiple vantage points on gender, sexuality, and activism.

Feminist/womanist impulses shape and sustain environmental justice movements around the world, making an understanding of gender roles and differences crucial for the success of these efforts.


front cover of A People’s Green New Deal
A People’s Green New Deal
Max Ajl
Pluto Press, 2021

'Hands-down the best book yet on the Green New Deal' - Jason Hickel

The idea of a Green New Deal was launched into popular consciousness by US Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018. It has become a watchword in the current era of global climate crisis. But what - and for whom - is the Green New Deal?

In this concise and urgent book, Max Ajl provides an overview of the various mainstream Green New Deals. Critically engaging with their proponents, ideological underpinnings and limitations, he goes on to sketch out a radical alternative: a 'People's Green New Deal' committed to decommodification, working-class power, anti-imperialism and agro-ecology.

Ajl diagnoses the roots of the current socio-ecological crisis as emerging from a world-system dominated by the logics of capitalism and imperialism. Resolving this crisis, he argues, requires nothing less than an infrastructural and agricultural transformation in the Global North, and the industrial convergence between North and South. As the climate crisis deepens and the literature on the subject grows, A People's Green New Deal contributes a distinctive perspective to the debate.


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Petrochemical Planet
Multiscalar Battles of Industrial Transformation
Alice Mah
Duke University Press, 2023
In Petrochemical Planet Alice Mah examines the changing nature of the petrochemical industry as it faces the existential threats of climate change and environmental activism. Drawing on research from high-level industry meetings, petrochemical plant tours, and polluted communities, Mah juxtaposes the petrochemical industry’s destructive corporate worldviews with environmental justice struggles in the United States, China, and Europe. She argues that amid intensifying public pressures, a profound planetary industrial transformation is underway that is challenging the reigning age of plastics and fossil fuels. This challenge comes from what Mah calls multiscalar activism—a form of collective resistance that spans local, regional, national, and planetary sites and scales and addresses the interconnected issues of environmental justice, climate, pollution, health, extraction, land rights, workers’ rights, systemic racism, and toxic colonialism. Reflecting on the obstacles and openings for critical interventions in the petrochemical industry, Mah offers important insights into the possibilities for resistance and for developing alternatives to the reliance on fossil fuels.

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Pollution Is Colonialism
Max Liboiron
Duke University Press, 2021
In Pollution Is Colonialism Max Liboiron presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as practices that can align with or against colonialism. They point out that even when researchers are working toward benevolent goals, environmental science and activism are often premised on a colonial worldview and access to land. Focusing on plastic pollution, the book models an anticolonial scientific practice aligned with Indigenous, particularly Métis, concepts of land, ethics, and relations. Liboiron draws on their work in the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR)—an anticolonial science laboratory in Newfoundland, Canada—to illuminate how pollution is not a symptom of capitalism but a violent enactment of colonial land relations that claim access to Indigenous land. Liboiron's creative, lively, and passionate text refuses theories of pollution that make Indigenous land available for settler and colonial goals. In this way, their methodology demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible but is currently being practiced in ways that enact more ethical modes of being in the world.

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Power Politics
Environmental Activism in South Los Angeles
Brodkin, Karen
Rutgers University Press, 2009
In the late 1990s, when California's deregulation of the production and sale of electric power created massive energy shortages, a group of environmental justice activists blocked construction of a power plant in their working-class Mexican and Central American neighborhoods. Why did they choose this battle? And how did the largely high school student activists come to prevail in the face of statewide political opinion?

Power Politics is a rich and readable study of a grassroots campaign where longtime labor and environmental allies found themselves on opposite sides of a conflict that pitted good jobs against good air. Karen Brodkin analyzes how those issues came to be opposed and in doing so unpacks the racial and class dynamics that shape Americans' grasp of labor and environmental issues. Power Politics' activists stood at the forefront of a movement that is building broad-based environmental coalitions and placing social justice at the heart of a new and robust vision.


front cover of The Promise of Multispecies Justice
The Promise of Multispecies Justice
Sophie Chao, Karin Bolender, and Eben Kirksey, editors
Duke University Press, 2022
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America, Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia’s Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come.

Contributors. Karin Bolender, Sophie Chao, M. L. Clark, Radhika Govindrajan, Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar, Noriko Ishiyama, Eben Kirksey, Elizabeth Lara, Jia Hui Lee, Kristina Lyons, Michael Marder, Alyssa Paredes, Craig Santos Perez, Kim TallBear

front cover of Reckoning with Harm
Reckoning with Harm
The Toxic Relations of Oil in Amazonia
Amelia Fiske
University of Texas Press, 2023

An ethnography of the Ecuadorian Amazon that demonstrates the need for a relational, place-based, contingent understanding of harm and toxicity.

Reckoning with Harm is a striking ethnographic analysis of the harm resulting from oil extraction. Covering fifty years of settler colonization and industrial transformation of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Amelia Fiske interrogates the relations of harm. She moves between forest-courtrooms and oily waste pits, farms and toxic tours, to explore both the ways in which harm from oil is entangled with daily life and the tensions surrounding efforts to verify and redress it in practice. Attempts to address harm from the oil industry in Ecuador have been consistently confounded by narrow, technocratic understandings of evidence, toxicity, and responsibility. Building on collaborators’ work to contest state and oil company insistence that harm is controlled and principally chemical in nature, Fiske shows that it is necessary to refigure harm as relational in order to reckon with unremediated contamination of the past while pushing for broad forms of accountability in the present. She theorizes that harm is both a relationship and an animating feature of relationships in this place, a contingent understanding that is needed to contemplate what comes next when living in a toxic world.


front cover of Reconciliation in a Michigan Watershed
Reconciliation in a Michigan Watershed
Restoring Ken-O-Sha
Gail Gunst Heffner
Michigan State University Press, 2024
Like many American urban waterways, Ken-O-Sha has been in decline for nearly two hundred years. Once life-supporting, the waterway now known as Plaster Creek is life-threatening. In this provocative book, scholars and environmentalists Gail Gunst Heffner and David P. Warners explore the watershed’s ecological, social, spiritual, and economic history to determine what caused the damage, and describe more recent efforts to repair it. Heffner and Warners provide insight into the concept of reconciliation ecology, as enacted through their group, Plaster Creek Stewards,who together with community partners refuse to accept the status quo of a contaminated creek unfit for children’s play, severely reduced biological diversity, and environmental injustices. Their work reveals that reconciliation ecology needs to focus not only on repairing damaged human–nature relationships, but also on the relationships between people groups, including Indigenous North Americans and the descendants of European colonizers.

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Residual Governance
How South Africa Foretells Planetary Futures
Gabrielle Hecht
Duke University Press, 2023
In Residual Governance, Gabrielle Hecht dives into the wastes of gold and uranium mining in South Africa to explore how communities, experts, and artists fight for infrastructural and environmental justice. Hecht outlines how mining in South Africa is a prime example of what she theorizes as residual governance—the governance of waste and discard, governance that is purposefully inefficient, and governance that treats people and places as waste and wastelands. She centers the voices of people who resist residual governance and the harms of toxic mining waste to highlight how mining’s centrality to South African history reveals the links between race, capitalism, the state, and the environment. In this way, Hecht shows how the history of mining in South Africa and the resistance to residual governance and environmental degradation is a planetary story: the underlying logic of residual governance lies at the heart of contemporary global racial capitalism and is a major accelerant of the Anthropocene.

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Revenant Ecologies
Defying the Violence of Extinction and Conservation
Audra Mitchell
University of Minnesota Press, 2024

Engaging a broad spectrum of ecological thought to articulate the ethical scale of global extinction

As global rates of plant and animal extinctions mount, anxieties about the future of the earth’s ecosystems are fueling ever more ambitious efforts at conservation, which draw on Western scientific principles to manage species and biodiversity. In Revenant Ecologies, Audra Mitchell argues that these responses not only ignore but also magnify powerful forms of structural violence like colonialism, racism, genocide, extractivism, ableism, and heteronormativity, ultimately contributing to the destruction of unique life forms and ecosystems.


Critiquing the Western discourse of global extinction and biodiversity through the lens of diverse Indigenous philosophies and other marginalized knowledge systems, Revenant Ecologies promotes new ways of articulating the ethical enormity of global extinction. Mitchell offers an ambitious framework—(bio)plurality—that focuses on nurturing unique, irreplaceable worlds, relations, and ecosystems, aiming to transform global ecological–political relations, including through processes of land return and critically confronting discourses on “human extinction.”


Highlighting the deep violence that underpins ideas of “extinction,” “conservation,” and “biodiversity,” Revenant Ecologies fuses political ecology, global ethics, and violence studies to offer concrete, practical alternatives. It also foregrounds the ways that multi-life-form worlds are actively defying the forms of violence that drive extinction—and that shape global efforts to manage it.



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front cover of Rock | Water | Life
Rock | Water | Life
Ecology and Humanities for a Decolonial South Africa
Lesley Green
Duke University Press, 2020
In Rock | Water | Life Lesley Green examines the interwoven realities of inequality, racism, colonialism, and environmental destruction in South Africa, calling for environmental research and governance to transition to an ecopolitical approach that could address South Africa's history of racial oppression and environmental exploitation. Green analyzes conflicting accounts of nature in environmental sciences that claim neutrality amid ongoing struggles for land restitution and environmental justice. Offering in-depth studies of environmental conflict in contemporary South Africa, Green addresses the history of contested water access in Cape Town; struggles over natural gas fracking in the Karoo; debates about decolonizing science; the potential for a politics of soil in the call for land restitution; urban baboon management; and the consequences of sending sewage to urban oceans.

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The Solutions are Already Here
Strategies of Ecological Revolution from Below
Peter Gelderloos
Pluto Press, 2022
Are alternative energies and Green New Deals enough to deliver environmental justice? Peter Gelderloos argues that international governmental responses to the climate emergency are structurally incapable of solving the crisis. But there is hope.

Across the world, grassroots networks of local communities are working to realize their visions of an alternative revolutionary response to planetary destruction, often pitted against the new megaprojects promoted by greenwashed alternative energy infrastructures and the neocolonialist, technocratic policies that are the forerunners of the Green New Deal.

Gelderloos interviews food sovereignty activists in Venezuela, Indigenous communities reforesting their lands in Brazil and anarchists fighting biofuel plantations in Indonesia, looking at the battles that have cancelled airports, stopped pipelines, and helped the most marginalized to fight borders and environmental racism, to transform their cities, to win a dignified survival.

front cover of Standing Our Ground
Standing Our Ground
Women, Environmental Justice, and the Fight to End Mountaintop Removal
Joyce M. Barry
Ohio University Press, 2012

Standing Our Ground: Women, Environmental Justice, and the Fight to End Mountaintop Removal examines women’s efforts to end mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia. Mountaintop removal coal mining, which involves demolishing the tops of hills and mountains to provide access to coal seams, is one of the most significant environmental threats in Appalachia, where it is most commonly practiced.

The Appalachian women featured in Barry’s book have firsthand experience with the negative impacts of Big Coal in West Virginia. Through their work in organizations such as the Coal River Mountain Watch and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, they fight to save their mountain communities by promoting the development of alternative energy resources. Barry’s engaging and original work reveals how women’s tireless organizing efforts have made mountaintop removal a global political and environmental issue and laid the groundwork for a robust environmental justice movement in central Appalachia.


front cover of To Love the Wind and the Rain
To Love the Wind and the Rain
African Americans and Environmental History
Dianne D. Glave
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005
“To Love the Wind and the Rain” is a groundbreaking and vivid analysis of the relationship between African Americans and the environment in U.S. history. It focuses on three major themes: African Americans in the rural environment, African Americans in the urban and suburban environments, and African Americans and the notion of environmental justice.  Meticulously researched, the essays cover subjects including slavery, hunting, gardening, religion, the turpentine industry, outdoor recreation, women, and politics. “To Love the Wind and the Rain” will serve as an excellent foundation for future studies in African American environmental history.

front cover of Toxic Tourism
Toxic Tourism
Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel, and Environmental Justice
Phaedra C. Pezzullo
University of Alabama Press, 2009
Winner of the:
2010 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award, sponsored by National Communication Association
2007 James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, sponsored by National Communication Association
2007 Best Book of the Year for Critical and Cultural Studies, sponsored by National Communication Association
2007 Christine L. Oravec Research Award, sponsored by Environmental Communications Division of the National Communication Association

The first book length study of the environmental justice movement, tourism, and the links between race, class, and waste
Tourism is at once both a beloved pastime and a denigrated form of popular culture. Romanticized for its promise of pleasure, tourism is also potentially toxic, enabling the deadly exploitation of the cultures and environments visited. For many decades, the environmental justice movement has offered “toxic tours,” non-commercial trips intended to highlight people and locales polluted by poisonous chemicals. Out of these efforts and their popular reception, a new understanding of democratic participation in environmental decision-making has begun to arise. Phaedra C. Pezzullo examines these tours as a tactic of resistance and for their potential in reducing the cultural and physical distance between hosts and visitors.
Pezzullo begins by establishing the ambiguous roles tourism and the toxic have played in the U.S. cultural imagination since the mid-20th century in a range of spheres, including Hollywood films, women’s magazines, comic books, and scholarly writings. Next, drawing on participant observation, interviews, documentaries, and secondary accounts in popular media, she identifies and examines a range of tourist performances enabled by toxic tours. Extended illustrations of the racial, class, and gender politics involved include Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” California’s San Francisco Bay Area, and the Mexican border town of Matamoros. Weaving together social critiques of tourism and community responses to toxic chemicals, this critical, rhetorical, and cultural analysis brings into focus the tragedy of ongoing patterns of toxification and our assumptions about travel, democracy, and pollution.

front cover of Transforming Environmentalism
Transforming Environmentalism
Warren County, PCBs, and the Origins of Environmental Justice
McGurty, Eileen
Rutgers University Press, 2006
Contemporary public policy circles are quick to acknowledge that environmental factors contribute to ill health and pose a particular threat to poor and minority communities. But public officials rarely examined the distribution of environmental hazards such as polluted air and contaminated water. In the 1980s, as toxic waste facilities proliferated, the environmental justice movement demanded that impoverished communities no longer be burdened by excessive environmental risks.    
In Transforming Environmentalism, Eileen McGurty explores a moment central to the emergence of the environmental justice movement. In 1978, residents of predominantly African American Warren County, North Carolina, were horrified to learn that the state planned to build a landfill in their county to hold forty thousand cubic yards of soil that was contaminated with PCBs from illegal dumping. They responded to the state's plans with a four-year resistance, ending in a month of protests with over 500 arrests from civil disobedience and disruptive actions.McGurty traces the evolving approaches that residents took to contest "environmental racism" in their community and shows how activism in Warren County spurred greater political debate and became a model for communities across the nation. Transforming Environmentalism explores how the specific circumstances of the Warren County events shaped the formation of the environmental justice movement and influenced contemporary environmentalism.

front cover of Unsustainable Inequalities
Unsustainable Inequalities
Lucas Chancel
Harvard University Press, 2020

A Financial Times Best Book of the Year

A hardheaded book that confronts and outlines possible solutions to a seemingly intractable problem: that helping the poor often hurts the environment, and vice versa.

Can we fight poverty and inequality while protecting the environment? The challenges are obvious. To rise out of poverty is to consume more resources, almost by definition. And many measures to combat pollution lead to job losses and higher prices that mainly hurt the poor. In Unsustainable Inequalities, economist Lucas Chancel confronts these difficulties head-on, arguing that the goals of social justice and a greener world can be compatible, but that progress requires substantial changes in public policy.

Chancel begins by reviewing the problems. Human actions have put the natural world under unprecedented pressure. The poor are least to blame but suffer the most—forced to live with pollutants that the polluters themselves pay to avoid. But Chancel shows that policy pioneers worldwide are charting a way forward. Building on their success, governments and other large-scale organizations must start by doing much more simply to measure and map environmental inequalities. We need to break down the walls between traditional social policy and environmental protection—making sure, for example, that the poor benefit most from carbon taxes. And we need much better coordination between the center, where policies are set, and local authorities on the front lines of deprivation and contamination.

A rare work that combines the quantitative skills of an economist with the argumentative rigor of a philosopher, Unsustainable Inequalities shows that there is still hope for solving even seemingly intractable social problems.


front cover of Working on Earth
Working on Earth
Class and Environmental Justice
Christina Robertson
University of Nevada Press, 2015
This collection of essays examines the relationship between environmental injustice and the exploitation of working-class people. Twelve scholars from the fields of environmental humanities and the humanistic social sciences explore connections between the current and unprecedented rise of environmental degradation, economic inequality, and widespread social injustice in the United States and Canada.

The authors challenge prevailing cultural narratives that separate ecological and human health from the impacts of modern industrial capitalism. Essay themes range from how human survival is linked to nature to how the use and abuse of nature benefit the wealthy elite at the expense of working-class people and the working poor as well as how climate change will affect cultures deeply rooted in the land.

Ultimately, Working on Earth calls for a working-class ecology as an integral part of achieving just and sustainable human development.

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