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Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy$
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James Meadowcroft and Daniel J. Fiorino

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036580

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036580.001.0001

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Environmental Justice: Making Policy, One Skirmish at a Time

Environmental Justice: Making Policy, One Skirmish at a Time

(p.233) 10 Environmental Justice: Making Policy, One Skirmish at a Time
Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy

Karen Baehler

The MIT Press

Environmental justice refers to both a concept and a social movement that originally spun off from the American civil rights establishment in the 1980s. The core idea focuses on the now well-established fact that members of vulnerable population groups tend to experience disproportionately higher levels of exposure to environmental hazards, less access to green amenities, and fewer opportunities to have their environmental concerns heard and remedied compared to their wealthier and whiter counterparts. Environmental justice terminology is deeply embedded in contemporary environmental discourse and governance in multiple countries, but its ability to alleviate real instances of environmental mal-distribution has been strongest at the local level thanks to the concept’s power to mobilize diverse networks of activists around local causes.

Keywords:   environmental justice, environmental equity, environmental rights, just sustainability, green equity, sustainable development, civil rights

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