Monday, July 8, 2013

Thoughts on what is called the Environmental Justice Movement

Recently i was asked to articulate my vision for the environmental movement.  Such a question gave me pause as I searched my mind and heart for the content and form of an appropriate response.

What is the EJ movement? What are it's parameters? What is it's race/class/gender/cultural character?  What strands exist among so-called moment actors? Toward what ends are their efforts directed?

I haven't yet done my research to answer these questions, hence my response, admittedly, was idealistic: To unite with other movements to end the systematic exploitation to and harmful treatment of people and the environment toward the creation of a new society that values life; values that are reflected in policies, laws and practices.

Yet to advance this, or any other vision, we have to lay the groundwork, do our studies on the development of industrial societies and the human and environmental degradation that evolved simultaneously; identify the fundamental contradictions of capitalism and the resource intensive industrial production, distribution, exchange, consumption and reproduction and trace their growth and transformation over time; map the faces and places harmed and/or destroyed directly and indirectly through practices and policies; and work with those moving in a similar direction to end this destruction while planting seeds of creation. This is no small task.

These are the conversations that must be had...difficult and time consuming as they are. And through this work we can know clearly where we stand, what we are fighting for and who is with us.