The link was not copied. Your current browser may not support copying via this button.
Link copied successfully
Environment and Sustainability
The growing Environment and Sustainability list is at the heart of our remit to publish quality scholarship that addresses global social challenges.
This list covers a broad spectrum of issues and focuses on the social justice dimensions of environmental sustainability, including in: climate change; environmental politics; developing sustainable economies; transport and sustainability; and environmentalist thought and ideology.
With the election of Narendra Modi as prime minister in 2014, opportunities for inward investment by global capital have flourished, generating resistance to its socio-environmental impact. Land grabs aimed at extracting minerals have seen the state backing transnational corporations against communities; Special Economic Zones and corridors for industrial development have multiplied with relaxed labour and environmental regulations, displacing communities and leaving those remaining fighting against pollution and contamination; the impacts of growth have led to urban gentrification and battles over diffuse pollution and access to space. Moreover, the funding of the non-profit sector has been inextricably linked to the global market through philanthrocapitalism by international Foundations and Corporate Social Responsibility, with widespread co-option into the neoliberal agenda. Environmental justice campaigners are faced with a significant challenge of supporting people’s movements at the grassroots whilst working for a coordinated opposition to its cause in post-colonial neoliberalism.
This chapter provides an introduction and theoretical overview of the book. It explores how the environment is a key battle ground and location for struggle, as economic decision making in the interests of capital accumulation lead to cost shifting onto the environments of those with least economic or political leverage. Building on the lasting legacies of colonialism and settler colonial relations, in the current stage of neoliberalism this environmental-economic dumping has become increasingly acute and systematic. Moreover, it has generated new waves of self-reflective community action and social movement processes in which community development plays a role. Such resistance draws on the rich yet conflicted theoretical resources which have developed through academic labour around analysing the social practices of community, development and environmental justice as well as the intellectual work of ordinary people engaged in material struggles to change the world from where they live and work and make community.
This chapter reflects on the processes of production of the book and the themes which have emerged across diverse contexts. Our commitment to the interface between activist knowledge and academic reflection has taken different forms and generated insights which are often excluded in academic publications. It has raised challenging questions about who speaks for whom, about voice, authorship, interests and justification. All contributors are facing the exploiting and fragmenting impacts of neoliberalism on communities, workers and the environment in different ways and resisting at the interface of community development and popular struggle. Both the impacts and resistance are mediated by settler colonialism, post colonialism, ethnic and gendered divisions, and traditional and new of structures of power and class struggle. Through reflecting on these struggles we are drawn back to the principles of community development in agency and solidarity and how these are continually reinvented in the struggles for environmental justice.
Palestine enjoys a privileged geographical location lying between three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. Palestine is a small area compared to many other countries, yet its environment contains a wide range of temperatures, rainfall, and topography. In addition, throughout history it has been the cradle several different civilizations, religions, and cultures. Land is central to the conflict between Palestinians and the Zionist movement. Actions taken by the Israeli occupiers have disrupted the delicate ecosystem and damaged the unique environment of Palestine in addition to harming the people, so many Palestinians have forgotten the importance of preserving their homeland. However, the successful preservation of the land is intertwined with the continuing struggle for justice by the Palestinian people. Without the consideration of the ecology of Palestine, the Palestinian people may never find true and lasting justice.
This chapter explores how the environment in Palestine has been a site of struggle for control between settler colonisers and Palestinians for over 100 years. It argues that the Zionist settler colonisation of Palestine may be understood as an ecological distribution conflict since the action of colonisers – from the British Mandate through the establishment of the state of Israel through to the military occupation of the remainder of the Palestinian territory – has been predicated on the expropriation of resources and the expulsion of the Palestinian population. Community development has been a component of the Palestinian popular struggle against settler colonisation. By exploring examples of community development, the chapter will analyse the context in which this has become integral to the popular struggle as well as threats that community development, especially in relation to environmental issues, has been used to normalise and legitimise the Zionist occupation.
Struggles for environmental justice involve communities mobilising against powerful forces which advocate ‘development’, driven increasingly by neoliberal imperatives. In doing so, communities face questions about their alliances with other groups, working with outsiders and issues of class, race, ethnicity, gender, worker/community and settler/indigenous relationships.
Written by a wide range of international scholars and activists, contributors explore these dynamics and the opportunities for agency and solidarity. They critique the practice of community development professionals, academics, trade union organisers, social movements and activists and inform those engaged in the pursuit of justice as community, development and environment interact.
This chapter is based on a number of international case studies of grassroots occupational and environmental health struggles that are attempting to link workplace, environment and community. Interviews with key people involved in each struggle, in combination with documented campaigns and our own experience as occupational and environmental health activists, have provided a picture of the changing patterns of work under neoliberalism, and the implications for community and workers’ struggle for environmental justice and occupational health. Themes include the erosion of the distinction between work and community and between the workplace and the environment; the increasing casualisation and precarity of work; downward pressure on working conditions; repression of trade unions and decline in union membership; deregulation of work, safety and environmental protection; and particular risks faced by women, young and migrant workers. Union and community organisers are employing diverse tactics in the face of these challenges.
Post-apartheid South Africa with all its initial promises to address injustice continues to be a highly unequal country with an economy consistent with neoliberal global capital and a presumption that the spoils of something termed economic ‘growth’ trickle down to those positioned at the bottom of the wealth and resource pyramid. groundWork, an environmental justice organisation, runs the Environmental Justice School (EJS) for activists to develop a strong and informed cadre of grassroots activists to contribute towards the mobilisation and transformation to a more just society. This chapter contextualises the school, describes its curriculum design and draws on the voices and reflections of participants and authors. Informed by Freirean and popular education principles, it is underpinned by a vision of a better world, beginning with the world the participants encounter presently.
Communities who happen to live where there is potential for big money to be made from mining the resources from under their feet, face a daunting set of challenges. Many people are saying ‘No’ to mining capital, and many communities are divided. We consider the thinking and praxis of militants from a number of areas in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) who are thinking resistance to a wave of real and prospective new coal mining initiatives. We conclude that this irruption of the “No” is simultaneously powerful and fragile. It is the assertion of the human life of the people against the forces of death. Provided the struggle that unfolds remains faithful to the fundamental ‘No’ that originated it, then it stops simply reproducing or modestly-reforming that world as-it-is, but instead marks out an emancipatory future of what could be.
The chapter follows the story of a small town, Laborov, Slovakia. The local environmental agenda has been evolving around two highly controversial issues: campaigns against a plan to build a coal burning power plant and waste management practices stigmatising local Roma community. The endeavour to prohibit the construction of the power plant can be on one hand considered an example of successful short-term popular mobilisation and community resistance to environmentally irresponsible big capital investment. On the other hand, the story cannot be fully understood without analysing ruling class collective interests as well as the context of local inter-ethnic relations. A constituting feature of local social order is Roma marginalisation and institutional discrimination where waste management plays an important role. Hidden beneath the surface are patterns of class and ethnic oppression - opening an important question of framing environmental justice which can be hardly pursued without achieving social justice.