Defining Environment Justice

We were trying to come up with a working definition for environment justice issues.

Following is a definition of Environment Justice that is given by the USA EPA: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/basics/ejbackground.html

This definition stresses on the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Fair treatment herein says that no group of people should bear a ‘disproportionate’ share of negative environmental consequence. Do you think such a definition is limiting?

Also meaningful involvement is defined to include the following: - (1) people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health (2) the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision (3) their concerns will be considered in the decision making process (4) the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.

Does this definition take care of all environment justice issues that are prevalent today? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on what else such a definition of environmental justice could address.

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This is a great question to grapple with here and I’d love to hear how the definition by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States stacks up against norms and definitions in other countries.

Krithika, the link doesn’t seem to work anymore - here’s the new link: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice

And the definition in full:

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys

  • the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
  • equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Thanks @tobiaseigen. Also recently the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in India released a draft Envrionmental Supplemental Plan, which gave a definition for ‘Environment Justice’.

The “environmental justice” (EJ) will be defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, caste, colour, creed or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Do you think ‘meaningful involvement’ of people is sufficient to equalise the disproportionate burden of environmental impacts that is faced? Would love to hear everybody’s thoughts on this!

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This definition is okay but I think the impartiality of the enforcing actors as well as their independent is what will also guarantee justice to the environment

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