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Environmental harm

Environmental harm: An eco-justice perspective

Rob White
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  • Book Info
    Environmental harm
    Book Description:

    This unique study of social harm offers a systematic and critical discussion of the nature of environmental harm from an eco-justice perspective, challenging conventional criminological definitions of environmental harm. The book evaluates three interconnected justice-related approaches to environmental harm: environmental justice (humans), ecological justice (the environment) and species justice (non-human animals). It provides a critical assessment of environmental harm by interrogating key concepts and exploring how activists and social movements engage in the pursuit of justice. It concludes by describing the tensions between the different approaches and the importance of developing an eco-justice framework that to some extent can reconcile these differences. Using empirical evidence built on theoretical foundations with examples and illustrations from many national contexts, ‘Environmental harm’ will be of interest to students and academics in criminology, sociology, law, geography, environmental studies, philosophy and social policy all over the world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0042-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables, figures and boxes
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. About the author
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Environmental harm is a highly contested concept. This is because much actual harm is perceived to be legitimate and lawful. This is achieved through a combination of embedding harmful practices into everyday activities (such as animal food production and clearfell-based forestry), pervasive propaganda efforts about the value of certain types of environmental and human exploitation (such as income generation and job opportunities), and political manoeuvring around and manipulation of legislation, regulations and rules that allow the destruction and degradation of the environment (such as exceptions that deny animal cruelty provisions being applied to farm animals). This conjunction of forces results...

  7. ONE Justice-based approaches to environmental harm
    (pp. 11-42)

    How we understand the relationships between humans, the environment and nonhuman species is crucial to defining and responding to environmental issues. Embedded within different interpretations of these (inter)relationships are particular notions of harm. These notions, in turn, are reflected in specific conceptions of victimisation including who or what is subjected to which kinds of harm.

    This chapter elaborates on the three approaches that singly and collectively contribute to and underpin an eco-justice perspective: environmental justice, ecological justice and species justice. Eco-justice is itself a complex notion that incorporates elements from all three justice approaches. Fundamentally, applying an eco-justice perspective involves...

  8. TWO Environmental justice and harm to humans
    (pp. 43-74)

    Analysis of environmental harm is premised on the idea that someone or something is indeed being harmed.Environmental justicerefers to the distribution of environments among peoples in terms of access to and use of specific natural resources in defined geographical areas, and the impacts of particular social practices and environmental hazards on specific human populations (for example, as defined on the basis of class, occupation, gender, age, ethnicity). In other words, humans are at the centre of analysis. The focus of analysis is on human health and well-being and how these are affected by particular types of production and...

  9. THREE Conservation, ecological justice and harm to nature
    (pp. 75-110)

    The notion ofecological justicerefers to the health and wellbeing of ‘nature’, that is comprised of specific eco-systems and plants and animals that together constitute the environment as a whole, and the intrinsic value of the natural environment. Analysis in this instance is directed at environmental harm that is directly linked to specific eco-systems.

    Global environmental harm is not new. For many centuries humans have done things to the environment that have fundamentally transformed local landscapes and regional biodiversities. From bringing plants and animals from the ‘homeland’ to new parts of the world, to polluting rivers and seas with...

  10. FOUR Species justice and harm to animals
    (pp. 111-144)

    The matter of animal rights and animal welfare is encapsulated in that work concerned withspecies justice(Benton, 1998; Beirne, 2007). In specific terms, concepts such as speciesism may be invoked. This refers to the practice of discriminating against nonhuman animals because they are perceived as inferior to the human species in much the same way that sexism and racism involve prejudice and discrimination against women and people of different colour to the discriminator (Munro, 2004). Animal rights supporters argue that there are two kinds of animals – human and nonhuman – and that both have rights and interests as...

  11. FIVE Toward eco-justice for all
    (pp. 145-176)

    A hallmark of a social harm approach is that it locates harm fundamentally within social structures. To put it succinctly, harm is the product of harmful societies (Pemberton, forthcoming). Not only is much harm embedded in normal everyday practices, rarely questioned at a conscious level, but it is preventable – alternative courses of action are possible. While the object of analysis is different, the study of nonhuman interests and needs (in contradistinction to the usual social harm approach) nonetheless shares these key propositions. As with the social harm approach, action to prevent and remedy harm ultimately must be directed at...

  12. References
    (pp. 177-196)
  13. Index
    (pp. 197-203)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 204-204)