Sunday, September 9, 2007

Agyeman Chapter 1

Another piece to the puzzle in our holistic systems approach to sustainability is environmental justice. When discussing our goal to achieving a sustainable future, important social issues like race, class and poverty must be addressed if we are to be truly successful. Agyeman's book demonstrates how connected the two subjects are and why they must be connected when analyzing the issues and devising policies and plans.

I chose to blog about the books Introduction and Chapter 1 “Environmental Justice” because it begins to explore the important and growing relationship between Sustainability and Environmental Justice.

On page 5 of the Intro to the book, there is a quote from an employee of Greenpeace UK after she was asked if the employees of her organization represented a multicultural Britain. She said “No, that's not an issue for us. We are here to save the word.” The issue of inclusion as a required strategy for change did not even enter her head. This answer typifies a lot of environmental organizations who are made up of rich groups of people and tend to narrow their mission to one aspect of the environment.

“Just Sustainability” - to be successful in our pursuit of environmental sustainability, the goals of Environmental Justice groups can no longer be ignored. The author suggests that a new paradigm be created to combine together the goals of social justice and environmental stewardship to form a new effort called Just Sustainability with a new agenda. This would of course take a lot of cooperation amongst both groups and new agendas would have to be created. This is the challenge.

Key Concepts

Countries that have more dedication and concentration to social equity have more success in maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment.

The Environmental Justice movement should include all disadvantaged groups: poor, people of color, women, uneducated, because they suffer the effects of environmental pollution and problems disproportionately.

Environmental Justice principal states that all people have the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment....with an equal distribution of the environmental benefits.

In drawing up an action plan to achieving the goal of sustainable communities through the new paradigm of “Just Sustainability”, I felt overwhelmed. The issue becomes so much larger and much more complex. How can all these issues be addressed in a timely manner so that momentum for the cause does not get lost?

No comments: