One of the primary objectives of EJOLT is to compile and make available a ‘Map of Environmental Injustice’. This map will consist on an online unique database of resource extraction and disposal conflicts hosted on the project website, geographically referenced (mapped with GIS), and linked with social metabolism and socio- environmental indicators.
It will allow increased understanding of what the determinants of conflicts are and how material demands and policies create potential hot spots for future conflicts.
Our goal is to make visible the voices fighting for environmental justice and to bring attention to threatened communities that are often rendered powerless by institutions and ignored by the media.
The aim of the Map is to provide information to activists, scholars, researchers and the general public and also to act as a coordinating tool, source of information and resource library for local groups and EJOs fighting their own environmental justice struggles.
Finally, the map aims to investigate, understand and disseminate the causes and consequences of conflicts generated by the exploitation of natural resources, the generation of wastes and the degradation and commodification/privatization of environmental goods. The map will do this by revealing the spatiality of trade/production and consumption processes and through the visualization the connections between producers and consumers and between sources of sinks of resources, materials and energy. Through this we hope to dispel consumer blindness and suggest policy recommendations and consumption changes that will lead to more sustainable and ecological systems of production and exchange.
What are we Mapping?
In this project we map what we call Environmental Justice or Ecological Distribution conflicts — conflicts that highlight the distributive & structural impacts of economic activities on the health and environment of specific populations. The effects may be economic, health impacts, economic, socio-cultural or environmental. Most of our cases focus on cases where the communities mobilize in some way against the negative perceived effects and struggle for environmental justice , but visible mobilization in repressive regimes is not always possible, and impacts are often latent.
Definitions of Ecological Conflicts for the purposes of the database:
— Ecological distribution conﬂicts refer to struggles over the burdens of pollution or over the sacriﬁces made to extract resources, and they arise from inequalities of income and power Sometimes the local actors claim redistributions, leading to conﬂicts, which are often part of, or lead to larger gender, class, caste and ethnic struggles In this line, the concept of “environmental justice” is important. It was born in the United States and it has gained growing acceptance in extractive industries, water use and waste disposal conﬂicts all over the word. Environmental justice not only refers to the distribution of costs and beneﬁts but it also addresses participation and recognition claims.
From: Social Metabolism, Ecological Distribution Conﬂicts, and Valuation Languages, Joan Martinez-Alier, Giorgos Kallis, Sandra Veuthey, Mariana Walter, Leah Temper. Ecological Economics (2010).
The cases we map come from the activist knowledge of our partner EJOs and a wide network of EJOs around the world.
In the EJOLT project, we work in several main thematic areas: Nuclear, Ore & building materials extraction, Waste Management, Biomass, Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice and Energy conflicts, but the database will also include other issues such as water, transportation, infrastructure and biodiversity. The end result will be an atlas of ecological distribution conflicts across the world – A series of maps based on the activist inventories. We will have maps both by thematic areas (gold mining maps, shrimpfarm maps) and across themes by country and region.
For example, the nuclear Work Package traces the nuclear chain – from uranium being extracted in Namibia or Malawi, to being fed into the power-plants of our European partner countries, and then perhaps ending up washing on a beach near Somalia.