Every year, nations and corporations in the "global North" produce millions of tons of toxic waste. Too often this hazardous material—linked to high rates of illness and death and widespread ecosystem damage—is exported to poor communities of color around the world. In Resisting Global Toxics, David Naguib Pellow examines this practice and charts the emergence of transnational environmental justice movements to challenge and reverse it. Pellow argues that waste dumping across national boundaries from rich to poor communities is a form of transnational environmental inequality that reflects North/South divisions in a globalized world, and that it must be theorized in the context of race, class, nation, and environment.
Building on environmental justice studies, environmental sociology, social movement theory, and race theory, and drawing on his own research, interviews, and participant observations, Pellow investigates the phenomenon of global environmental inequality and considers the work of activists, organizations, and networks resisting it. He traces the transnational waste trade from its beginnings in the 1980s to the present day, examining global garbage dumping, the toxic pesticides that are the legacy of the Green Revolution in agriculture, and today's scourge of dumping and remanufacturing high tech and electronics products. The rise of the transnational environmental movements described in Resisting Global Toxics charts a pragmatic path toward environmental justice, human rights, and sustainability.
About the Author
David Naguib Pellow is Don A. Martindale Endowed Chair in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Among his books are the award-winning Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago (MIT Press, 2002) and Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (coedited with Robert Brulle; MIT Press, 2005.)
"This is the book many of us have been waiting for. While linking the global South and North, and drawing from a deep well of activist, academic, legal, and regulatory literatures, Pellow interrogates the unequal and deeply racialized relations embedded in the trading and dumping of hazardous wastes in poor communities and communities of color. Through critical advocacy research, he also charts the increasing sophistication of the resistance, namely the emerging transnational environmental justice movement networks, who are using a rights-based discourse to mobilize across national borders, and along racial, cultural, and class lines."
—Julian Agyeman, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
"David Pellow has written a book that brings together a sophisticatedunderstanding of the global economic system and the evolvingtransnational environmental justice movement. His study treats race andclass seriously and non-reductively. Anyone who wants to understand theforces that are shaping our understanding of environmentalism shouldturn to this book."
—Gerald Torres, Co-author, The Miner's Canary, Bryant Smith Chair,University of Texas Law School
"Resisting Global Toxics provides a path breaking synthesis of theintersection of health, environment, and justice impacts ofindustrialization in the era of globalization. The book provides a richblend of theoretical and activist perspectives and highlights the role ofNGOs that are working to fill in the gaps in the absence of effective globalgovernance. By drawing on his research and participation with grass rootsgroups, David Pellow is able to document a compelling and grounded form ofglobal citizenship through the prism of race and class consciousness. Heshows how local and transnational groups around the world are strategicallyaddressing the full life-cycle impacts of globalization—from hazardousproduction through hazardous waste disposal. As he says, 'Transnationalenvironmental justice offenses require transnational responses.' This bookprovides authentic and compelling examples of such responses that are makingreal impacts."
—Ted Smith, founder and Senior Strategist, Silicon Valley ToxicsCoalition; Coordinator of International Campaign for Responsible Technology
Finalist, 2007 C. Wright Mills Award given by the Society for the Study of Social Problems.