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Environmental risk, health and justice: the protagonism of affected populations in the production of knowledge

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EJOLT collaborators Marcelo Firpo and Renan Finamore recently published an article entitled “Environmental risk, health and justice: the protagonism of affected populations in the production of knowledge” in a prestigious Brazilian Public Health journal: Ciência e Saúde Coletiva (Science and Collective Health).

The article discusses the role of populations affected by environmental injustice situations in the production of knowledge about environmental health stemming from inequalities and discrimination in the distribution of risks and benefits of economic development. Special attention is given to the epistemological and political limits to producing knowledge and alternatives that enable advances in building more just and sustainable societies. Based on a broader view of health, the limits of scientific approaches are called into question by acknowledging the importance of local knowledge, either to analyze environmental risks or their effects on health, including epidemiological studies. These limits are linked primarily to the concealment of conflicts and uncertainties, the lack of contextualization of exposure to risk and effects on health, as well as the difficulties of dialogue with the communities. The article also presents contributions and advances brought by environmental justice movements. The conclusion is that a constructivist, procedural and democratic perspective of confronting forms of knowledge and practices can guide the scientific production to the benefit of environmental justice.

The full text is available in Portuguese on: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/csc/v17n6/v17n6a13.pdf

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