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Justice must be our overriding imperative-All communities are interconnected, beyond just constructed boundaries. Damage in one sows seeds of destruction in another. In return, we reap wars, environmental destruction, and inevitable extinction. Intellectual and political expediency is flypaper to progress. Making energy justice our intellectual strategy is key to incorporating these communities into decision making while laying the foundation for a sustainable politics
Bryant 95

(Bunyan Bryant, Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and an adjunct professor in the Center for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan, 1995, Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies, and Solutions, p. 209-212)

Although the post-World War II economy was designed when environmental consideration was not a problem, today this is no longer the case; we must be concerned enough about environmental protection to make it a part of our economic design. Today, temporal and spatial relations of pollution have drastically changed within the last 100 years or so. A hundred years ago we polluted a small spatial area and it took the earth a short time to heal itself. Today we pollute large areas of the earth – as evidenced by the international problems of acid rain, the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, nuclear meltdowns, and the difficulties in the safe storage of spent fuels from nuclear power plants. Perhaps we have embarked upon an era of pollution so toxic and persistent that it will take the earth in some areas thousands of years to heal itself. To curtail environmental pollutants, we must build new institutions to prevent widespread destruction from pollutants that know no geopolitical boundaries. We need to do this because pollutants are not respectful of international boundaries; it does little good if one country practices sound environmental protection while its neighbors fail to do so. Countries of the world are intricately linked together in ways not clear 50 years ago; they find themselves victims of environmental destruction even though the causes of that destruction originated in another part of the world. Acid rain, global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, nuclear accidents like the one at Chernobyl, make all countries vulnerable to environmental destruction. The cooperative relations forged after World War II are now obsolete. New cooperative relations need to be agreed upon – cooperative relations that show that pollution prevention and species preservation are inseparably linked to economic development and survival of planet earth. Economic development is linked to pollution prevention even though the market fails to include the true cost of pollution in its pricing of products and services; it fails to place a value on the destruction of plant and animal species. To date, most industrialized nations, the high polluters, have had an incentive to pollute because they did not incur the cost of producing goods and services in a nonpolluting manner. The world will have to pay for the true cost of production and to practice prudent stewardship of our natural resources if we are to sustain ourselves on this planet. We cannot expect Third World countries to participate in debt-for-nature swaps as a means for saving the rainforest or as a means for the reduction of greenhouse gases, while a considerable amount of such gases come from industrial nations and from fossil fuel consumption. Like disease, population growth is politically, economically, and structurally determined. Due to inadequate income maintenance programs and social security, families in developing countries are more apt to have large families not only to ensure the survival of children within the first five years, but to work the fields and care for the elderly. As development increases, so do education, health, and birth control. In his chapter, Buttel states that ecological development and substantial debt forgiveness would be more significant in alleviating Third World environmental degradation (or population problems) than ratification of any UNCED biodiversity or forest conventions. Because population control programs fail to address the structural characteristics of poverty, such programs for developing countries have been for the most part dismal failures. Growth and development along ecological lines have a better chance of controlling population growth in developing countries than the best population control programs to date. Although population control is important, we often focus a considerable amount of our attention on population problems of developing countries. Yet there are more people per square mile in Western Europe than in most developing countries. “During his/her lifetime an American child causes 35 times the environmental damage of an Indian child and 280 times that of a Haitian child (Boggs, 1993: 1). The addiction to consumerism of highly industrialized countries has to be seen as a major culprit, and thus must be balanced against the benefits of population control in Third World countries. Worldwide environmental protection is only one part of the complex problems we face today. We cannot ignore world poverty; it is intricately linked to environmental protection. If this is the case, then how do we deal with world poverty? How do we bring about lasting peace in the world? Clearly we can no longer afford a South Africa as it was once organized, or ethnic cleansing by Serbian nationalists. These types of conflicts bankrupt us morally and destroy our connectedness with one another as a world community. Yet, we may be headed on a course where the politically induced famine, poverty, and chaos of Somalia today will become commonplace and world peace more difficult, particularly if the European Common Market, Japan, and the United States trade primarily among themselves, leaving Third World countries to fend for themselves. Growing poverty will lead only to more world disequilibrium to wars and famine – as countries become more aggressive and cross international borders for resources to ward off widespread hunger and rampant unemployment. To tackle these problems requires a quantum leap in global cooperation and commitment of the highest magnitude; it requires development of an international tax, levied through

the United nations or some other international body, so that the world community can become more involved in helping to deal with issues of environmental protection, poverty, and peace. Since the market system has been bold and flexible enough to meet changing conditions, so too must public institutions. They must, indeed, be able to respond to the rapid changes that reverberate throughout the world. If they fail to change, then we will surely meet the fate of the dinosaur. The Soviet Union gave up a system that was unworkable in exchange for another one. Although it has not been easy, individual countries of the former Soviet Union have the potential of reemerging looking very different and stronger. Or they could emerge looking very different and weaker. They could become societies that are both socially and environmentally destructive or they can become societies where people have decent jobs, places to live, educational opportunities for all citizens, and sustainable social structures that are safe and nurturing. Although North Americans are experiencing economic and social discomforts, we too will have to change, or we may find ourselves engulfed by political and economic forces beyond our control. In 1994, the out-sweeping of Democrats from national offices may be symptomatic of deeper and more fundamental problems. If the mean-spirited behavior that characterized the 1994 election is carried over into the governance of the country, this may only fan the flames of discontent. We may be embarking upon a long struggle over ideology, culture, and the very heart and soul of the country. But despite all the political turmoil, we must take risks and try out new ideas – ideas never dreamed of before and ideas we thought were impossible to implement. To implement these ideas we must overcome institutional inertia in order to enhance intentional change. We need to give up tradition andbusiness as usual.” To view the future as a challenge and as an opportunity to make the world a better place, we must be willing to take political and economic risks. The question is not growth, but what kind of growth, and where it will take place. For example, we can maintain current levels of productivity or become even more productive if we farm organically. Because of ideological conflicts, it is hard for us to view the Cuban experience with an unjaundiced eye; but we ask you to place political differences aside and pay attention to the lyrics of organic farming and not to the music of Communism. In other words, we must get beyond political differences and ideological conflicts; we must find success stories of healing the planet no matter where they exist – be they in Communist or non-Communist countries, developed or underdeveloped countries. We must ascertain what lessons can be learned from them, and examine how they would benefit the world community. In most instances, we will have to chart a new course. Continued use of certain technologies and chemicals that are incompatible with the ecosystem will take us down the road of no return. We are already witnessing the catastrophic destruction of our environment and disproportionate impacts of environmental insults on communities of color and low-income groups. If such destruction continues, it will undoubtedly deal harmful blows to our social, economic, and political institutions. As a nation, we find ourselves in a house divided, where the cleavages between the races are in fact getting worse. We find ourselves in a house divided where the gap between the rich and the poor has increased. We find ourselves in a house divided where the gap between the young and the old has widened. During the 1980s, there were few visions of healing the country. In the 1990s, despite the catastrophic economic and environmental results of the 1980s, and despite the conservative takeover of both houses of Congress, we must look for glimmers of hope. We must stand by what we think is right and defend our position with passion. And at times we need to slow down and reflect and do a lot of soul searching in order to redirect ourselves, if need be. We must chart out a new course of defining who we are as a people, by redefining our relationship with government, with nature, with one another, and where we want to be as a nation. We need to find a way of expressing this definition of ourselves to one another. Undeniably we are a nation of different ethnic groups and races, and of multiple interest groups, and if we cannot live in peace and in harmony with ourselves and with nature it bodes ominously for future world relations. Because economic institutions are based upon the growth paradigm of extracting and processing natural resources, we will surely perish if we use them to foul the global nest. But it does not have to be this way. Although sound environmental policies can be compatible with good business practices and quality of life, we may have to jettison the moral argument of environmental protection in favor of the self-interest argument, thereby demonstrating that the survival of business enterprises is intricately tied to good stewardship of natural resources and environmental protection. Too often we forget that short-sightedness can propel us down a narrow path, where we are unable to see the long-term effects of our actions. The ideas and policies discussed in this book are ways of getting ourselves back on track. The ideas presented here will hopefully provide substantive material for discourse. These policies are not carved in stone, nor are they meant to be for every city, suburb, or rural area. Municipalities or rural areas should have flexibility in dealing with their site-specific problems. Yet we need to extend our concern about local sustainability beyond geopolitical boundaries, because dumping in Third World countries or in the atmosphere today will surely haunt the world tomorrow. Ideas presented here may irritate some and dismay others, but we need to make some drastic changes in our lifestyles and institutions in order to foster environmental justice. Many of the policy ideas mentioned in this book have been around for some time, but they have not been implemented. The struggle for environmental justice emerging from the people of color and low-income communities may provide the necessary political impulse to make these policies a reality. Environmental justice provides opportunities for those most affected by environmental degradation and poverty to make policies to save not only themselves from differential impact of environmental hazards, but to save those responsible for the lion’s share of the planet’s destruction. This struggle emerging from the environmental experience of oppressed people brings forth a new consciousness – a new consciousness shaped by immediate demands for certainty and solution. It is a struggle to make a true connection between humanity and nature. This struggle to resolve environmental problems may force the nation to alter its priorities; it may force the nation to address issues of environmental justice and, by doing so, it may ultimately result in a cleaner and healthier environment for all of us. Although we may never eliminate all toxic materials from the production cycle, we should at least have that as a goal.

The alternative is a radical towards justice in our orientation to oceans:

Our role as academics is to prioritize questions of environmental justice in the debate space. Not only is this key to solve, but also to understand the foundations that create the need for new energy and environmental policies. Our method lays the groundwork for political action anemic to injustice. It’s time to bring the movement to the classroom
Rodriguez 6

Ph.D., Social Science Prof @ The University of Puerto Rico


For various educators, the act of teaching environmental justiceshould not stray the field from its roots and status as a social movement.^ Indeed, educators advocate a closer relationship between the environmental justice movement and the academy, especiallysince the teaching of environmental justice, as Mighty noted by Robert Figueroa, brings the teacher to a critical! position in the teachingprocess, a spot from which the teacher must place the classroom and its teaching within the context of the environmental justice movementand the environmental inequalities that characterizes our world today(311) .^ For environmental justice educators the classroom is a "space” where citizens can generate and discuss their visions for transforming our social and political worlds in ways that ameliorate environmental injustices" (Figueroa 311).Within a politicized classroom, environmental! justice teachersaim at what Paulo Freire calls conscientization, by which he means theprocess whereby learners, not as mere receivers, but as meaningful and knowing subjects, accomplish a deepening awareness both of the social and cultural! reality that shapes their lives and of their ability to change that reality (27).** It means achieving understanding of their existence in and with the world. For students of environmental!justice It means achieving a better and deeper understanding of the reality of environmental! inequalities and of their ability to ameliorate these inequalities.This same process of eco-justice conscientization underlies,for example, Figueroa's transformative teaching and his concept of "moral imagination" (325-326). Figueroa's goal in teaching environmental justice is to stretch his students' moral imagination, their cognitive ability to apprehend the moral experience, feelings, and judgment of others, to recognize environmental inequalities and to envision social and political changes to overcome these inequalities.He describes his radical teaching thus:Radical pedagogy may be understood as teaching with attitudes andapproaches that politicize the classroom and the curriculum. By identifying the classroom as a place of reproducing institutional processesin a political economy, which in turn generates political actors, we canenliven the student's political imagination. The academic's pursuit ofenvironmental justice carries political baggage and obligation thatmany subjects lack. The study of a contemporary social movementlends itself to the use of pedagogy as a form of activism. The socialactivism is a consciousness raising that utilizes the moral and political imagination of the student to seriously consider the options for transforming current social conditions. Students feel compelled toask, "What can we do?" and "What is our responsibility?" By askingthese questions, the classroom is transformed into a place where citizens can think these matters through without losing sight that the matters are upon us. (326)Politicizing the classroom in order to aid his students achieve adeeper awareness and understanding of the actuality of environmental inequalities and of their ability to defeat these inequalitiesalso inspires Steve Chase's "constructivist pedagogy" (355-357).Two books. The Human Rights Education Handbook edited by NancyFlowers and Jacqueline G. Brooks and Martin G. Brooks' In Searchof Understanding inspire Chase's teaching. Based on the former.Chase's teaching stresses the concrete experience of his students,active learning activities, student participation, horizontal communication, critical thinking, the expression of feelings, cooperationamong students, and the integration of knowledge, action and feelings (356). Furthermore, Chase's environmental justice education is not just about liberatory knowledge but also about liberatory practices—thus, training students as activists. Finally, the constructivistdimension of Chase's teaching, based on In Search of Understanding,inquires about his students' understanding of concepts before sharing his own understanding of these concepts; encourages students'inquiry by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions; and engagesstudents in experiences that might engender contradictions to theirinitial positions about a particular issue (360-361).Jia-Yi Cheng Levine also implements this idea of conscientizationin her classroom, her goal being the production of "critical consciousness," which in her view is essential to help students "be responsible and responsive world citizens" (371). That is, assisting her students95attain a deeper consciousness and knowledge of environmental! inequalities and of their ability to develop alternatives to the structuresof environmental! inequalities is what motivates Jia-YI Cheng Levine'seducational efforts to form political subjects capable of opposingenvironmental injustices and Inequalities. In her essay "TeachingLiterature of Environmental! Justice in an Advanced Gender Studies Course," Jia-Yi Cheng Levine refers to a particular course aboutwomen and the environment in which she introduced the !literature ofthe environmental justice movement to her students, exposing themto various political, social and ecological issues. As she explains:"By introducing literature of environmental justice to our students,we help form political subjects who would seek to dismantle racism,sexism, classism, and unbridled capitalism, which wreak havoc on our planet and our people" (378). Her teaching is certainly aimed atconscientization, as she makes dear:Teaching is more than transmitting knowledge or modes of thinking; it helps form political subjects who will determine the future of this planetwe call home. My goal for teaching literature of environmental justicewas to foster a literacy of the environment in my students' everydaylives, to call their attention lo the power structures of society and the political struggles of the impoverished, as well as to encourage them to examine configurations of knowledge and the dispensation of power. By addressing the interrelated issues of race, gender, class,and the environment, I wanted to bring environmental and socialjustice education into the class. (368)Jia-Yi Cheng Levine's teaching then seeks to empower students as critical and conscientious political subjects while asking them tostudy, question and confront the history, and ideological! frameworksthat have contributed both to the environmental degradation we experience nowadays and to the production of environmental inequalities.In her particular gender studies course, literature greatly facilitatedthe process of conscientization, thus assigning a significant role toliterature as a liberatory pedagogical tool for environmental justiceeducators. Although perhaps more suitable for literature courses,the study of literature helps students in any course reach a reflective awareness and a thoughtful understanding of the material andideological character of environmental inequalities and of their abilityto transform unequal! conditions. The usefulness and effectivenessof literature as a pedagogical tool, t insist, is not !limited to !literaturecourses. Rather, !literature, and its analysis, is a practical, helpful andconstructive toot in a wide variety of courses, especially if we use theword "literature" vaguely to include not just poetry, fictional proseand nature writing but also non-fictional writing and any other kindsof texts in which issues of environmental justice appear, or that might provide us with the opportunity to address these issues in the classroom.^ Enabling students to examine how texts produce meaningand value provides them with a larger picture of political, social andcultural processes that shape daily life and various social struggles,including environmental justice struggles Integrating Environmental Justice Eco criticism to theCiassroomThe fundamental question behind environmental justice educators integrating texts containing environmental justice issues andits analysis into their classrooms is this: How can texts and textual analysis further our efforts as teachers to help our students achieve a deeper awareness and understanding of the reality of environmental inequities and of their ability to ameliorate these inequalities? Hence,these teachers presuppose, as Jia-Yi Cheng Levine's teaching exemplifies, that the introduction of texts, including environmental justiceliterature and its study and criticism, into the classroom is useful inhelping our students grow to be political subjects who would seek toquestion and challenge environmental inequalities while proposingalternatives that promote justice, equality and democracy.

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