A Guide to Environmental Justice Movements and the Language of Ecological Distribution Conflicts

Authored by: Joan Martinez-Alier

Routledge Handbook of Ecological Economics

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138931510
eBook ISBN: 9781315679747
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395102


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A global movement for environmental justice (EJ)—overlapping with gender, class, caste, ethnic and national struggles—is asserting itself to address the environmental crisis. The world social metabolism, the flows of energy and materials, is increasing [Chapter 11]. The economy uses more inputs and it produces more waste. The inputs often come from the “commodity extraction frontiers”, and the waste is dumped locally or internationally. Fossil fuel combustion releases carbon dioxide (CO2) which is deposited in the atmosphere increasing the greenhouse effect or finds its way to acidify the oceans. The economy is not circular; it is entropic (Haas et al., 2015) [see also Chapter 9]. Even renewable resources such as water from aquifers, timber, and fisheries are overexploited, the fertility of the soil is jeopardised and biodiversity is depleted. The growing and changing metabolism of industrial economies gives rise to ecological distribution conflicts [Chapters 4 and 15].

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