Environmental activists and academics alike are realizing that a sustainable society must be a just one. Environmental degradation is almost always linked to questions of human equality and quality of life. Throughout the world, those segments of the population that have the least political power and are the most marginalized are selectively victimized by environmental crises.
In the Guadalupe Dunes, 170 miles north of Los Angeles and 250 miles south of San Francisco, an oil spill persisted unattended for 38 years. Over the period 1990-1996, the national press devoted 504 stories to the Exxon Valdez accident and a mere nine to the Guadalupe spill—even though the latter is most likely the nation's largest recorded oil spill.
The products we purchase and use are assembled from a wide range of naturally occurring and manufactured materials. But too often we create hazards for the ecosystem and human health as we mine, process, distribute, use, and dispose of these materials. Until recently, most research has focused on the waste end of material cycles. This book argues that the safest and least costly point at which to avoid environmental damage is when materials are first designed and selected for use in industrial production.
In Environmentalism Unbound, Robert Gottlieb proposes a new strategy for social and environmental change that involves reframing and linking the movements for environmental justice and pollution prevention. According to Gottlieb, the environmental movement's narrow conception of environment has isolated it from vital issues of everyday life, such as workplace safety, healthy communities, and food security, that are often viewed separately as industrial, community, or agricultural concerns.
An expanding array of hazardous substances poses an increasing threat to public health. But what makes our society a toxic culture are the social arrangements that encourage and excuse the deterioration of human health and the environment. Elements of toxic culture include the unquestioned production of hazardous wastes, economic blight, substandard housing, chronic stress, exploitative working conditions, and dangerous technologies.
In this book, environmentalist and lawyer William Shutkin describes a new kind of environmental and social activism spreading across the nation, one that joins the pursuit of environmental quality with that of civic health and sustainable local economies. In the face of challenges posed by often corrosive market forces and widespread social disaffection, this civic environmentalism is creating nothing less than a new public discourse and dynamic social vision grounded in environmental action.
In Making Microchips, Jan Mazurek examines the environmental and economic implications of the computer microchip industry's exodus from California's Silicon Valley to New Mexico, Virginia, Ireland, and Taiwan. Globalization, economic restructuring, and changing manufacturing processes in this rapidly growing industry present difficult new questions for environmental policy. Mazurek challenges the assumptions of U.S. policies designed to promote the competitiveness of domestic microchip makers.
Universities can teach and demonstrate environmental principles and stewardship by taking action to understand and reduce the environmental impacts of their own activities. Greening the Ivory Tower, a motivational and how-to guide for staff, faculty, and students, offers detailed "greening" strategies for those who may have little experience with institutional change or with the latest environmentally friendly technologies.
In many areas of the world, environmental degradation in and around human settlements is undermining prospects for both socioeconomic justice and ecological sustainability. To explore the issues involved in this worldwide problem, Keith Pezzoli focuses on a dramatic instance of conflict that grew out of the unauthorized penetration of human settlements into the Ajusco greenbelt zone, a vital part of Mexico City's ecological reserve.
The problems recyclers face with wastepaper are connected to the issues addressed by forest advocates, as well as to the difficulties confronted by those involved with industrial pollution from the paper industry. In this richly detailed study, Maureen Smith shows how industrial and environmental analysis can be synthesized to clarify these complex problems and produce solutions.
Environmental justice as studied in a variety of disciplines is most often associated with redressing disproportionate exposure to pollution, contamination, and toxic sites. In Neighborhood as Refuge, Isabelle Anguelovski takes a broader view of environmental justice, examining wide-ranging comprehensive efforts at neighborhood environmental revitalization that include parks, urban agriculture, fresh food markets, playgrounds, housing, and waste management.