Tamara Steger


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Tamara Steger

  1. 1. Environmental Justice : some history and theory Tamara Steger Dept of Environmental Sciences and Policy Central European University Budapest, Hungary
  2. 2. Environmental Justice in the US <ul><li>Anti-toxics movement and Love Canal: primarily women who had no previous activism experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Warren County protests </li></ul><ul><li>Civil rights movement </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on health </li></ul>
  3. 3. Love Canal <ul><li>Originally a planned industrial model community by William T. Love. </li></ul><ul><li>Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation bought it in 1942 and dumped 22000 tons of mixed chemical waste into Love Canal. </li></ul><ul><li>Land sold to Niagara Falls school board in 1953 for one dollar.School erected in 1955, and suburban blue collar families moved into housing complex. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Love Canal Disaster <ul><li>Heavy rain and snowfall in 1975 </li></ul><ul><li>Hooker landfill subsides </li></ul><ul><li>421 different kinds of chemicals identified in water, soil, and air. </li></ul><ul><li>1978 the New York Department of Health Commissioner, Robert Whalen declares the area a health hazard and babies and pregnant mothers should immediately leave. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Love Canal: public meeting in 1978 <ul><li>See www.library.buffalo.edu </li></ul>
  6. 6. Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management, 1979 <ul><li>First application of civil rights law to siting of waste facility. </li></ul><ul><li>Protest involving m iddle income African American community in Houston. </li></ul>
  7. 7. North Carolina 1978: illegal dumping Warren County 1982 : PCB landfill siting protest <ul><li>Contractor for Ward Transformer Company didnt want to pay for EPA approved recycling. </li></ul><ul><li>Secretly d umped approximately 12,850 gallons of PCB- laden oil at night along rural highways . </li></ul><ul><li>State planned to bury 400,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Warren County . </li></ul><ul><li>500 arrests </li></ul>
  8. 8. Warren County <ul><li>Residents Block PCB Landfill Delivery Trucks, 1982. Photo by Jenny Labalme. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Waste, Race and Class <ul><li>3 of 4 hazardous waste landfills in Southern states in predominantly African American communities ( U.S. General Accounting Office (1983) study, Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation With Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities. ) </li></ul><ul><li>Race --NOT poverty, land values, or home ownership-- strongly correlated with location of facilities . ( Commission for Racial Justice (1987) to produce Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States ) </li></ul><ul><li>Poorer people are exposed to greater health hazards in their homes, and where they work and play than more affluent members of society (Bryant & Mohai, 1992; Bullard, 1994a) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Community coalition for environmental justice, Seattle, WA </li></ul>
  11. 11. Connecticut: www.environmental-justice.org
  12. 12. Factories in UK more likely located in poorer communities <ul><li>662 factories are found in areas with average household income of less than £15,000. </li></ul><ul><li>5 factories are found in areas with average household income above £30,000 </li></ul><ul><li>In London, over 90% of polluting factories are in areas with below average income </li></ul><ul><li>In the North East, over 80% of polluting factories are in areas with below average income. </li></ul><ul><li>More factories, higher poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>(See Friends of the Earth UK) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Environmental Justice in CEE <ul><li>Workshops bringing together human rights and environmental activists, academics, and lawyers. </li></ul><ul><li>Coalition for Environmental Justice </li></ul><ul><li>Case study report: access to water and waste treatment, flood risk, exposure to hazards. </li></ul><ul><li>Transatlantic Initiative for Environmental Justice: Coalition for EJ and US EJ activists </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative, small-scale projects </li></ul>
  14. 14. Struggles for environmental justice all over the world <ul><li>Struggles against dam issues in India and China </li></ul><ul><li>Mining issues in South America </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change justice issues in Africa </li></ul>
  15. 15. Evolution of Environmental Movement <ul><li>Social justice, civil rights, and environmental movements </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-globalization </li></ul><ul><li>Just Sustainability (see J. Agyeman’s work): white middle class environmental movement and environmental justice movement </li></ul><ul><li>Death of environmentalism? Need for coalition forming </li></ul>