Sunday, September 9, 2007

Intro and Chap 1--- Confusing arguments for an inappropriately generalized topic


It seems as if environmental perspectives often clash with those that are sustainable. There is interestingly enough a difference in both geographical and historical origin of these perspectives. Agyeman seems to be most interested in how these both work together rather than their differences. At the root of environmental justice and sustainability there exists a grey spot where they collide “theoretically, conceptually and practically”. It is these similarities that must be focused on in order to achieve anything in these areas which is where the EJP and NEP come into play. These paradigms are the basis for JSP which is a progressive idea that helps span each perspective making the goals of Sustainable, Environmental Justice possible.

I think that the book goes about discussing these paradigms the wrong way as it builds barriers to the new minds that approach this field. Instead of labeling the perspectives as these confusing acronyms, Agyeman should have simplified it all and described what the goals of sustainability advocates and environmental justice advocates are. Each party has specified interest sets which do not necessarily coincide with the generalized perspective portrayed. The JSP sounds like the most viable solution, but is going to end up being like politics’ “Green” party which no one really knows what they stand for. Fence sitters can only last for so long concerning hot-headed issues like this one.

Chapter 1:

Environmental justice’s first official exhibit of protest was in Warren County, NC after the government wanted to dump toxic, PCB infested soil in towns with a large minority population. There was a large protest and many were jailed. This set a precedent for years after this happened in 1984 as EJ now constantly deals with situations such as this one. Now, governmental agencies are getting involved in a more scientific way by trying to map out EJ communities and prevent issues such as the Warren County problem.

I believe the way people, as portrayed by Agyeman, go about dealing with EJ is from too much of a macro perspective. In order to work with this it must be dealt from within. For an agency to try and target EJ areas is not the smallest of tasks, to begin with. Even if these areas could all be identified, they each would need to be dealt with differently. A more micro perspective would be a better way at going about this. If EJ could be seen as more of a grassroots movement, more support would definitely be given.

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