Project

Enjust - Network for Environmental Justice

Goal: We are a vibrant network that raises awareness for issues of environmental justice and strengthens the democratic participation of those affected by environmental problems. We connect actors from research, policy and planning, and civil society. We believe that research should address real, pressing challenges and be undertaken in collaborative ways with partners and stakeholders. We create analogue and digital spaces of communication and initiate collaborative research.

Mission statement
The deteriorating climate and multiple environmental crises affect different demographic groups in diverse ways, creating poor health outcomes and poverty traps for billions. In many places, low-income tenants who live in the neighbourhood of busy roads are exposed to significantly higher emissions than the rest of the local population. All over the world, students and their parents are taking to the streets in order to demand effective measures against climate change, arguing for intergenerational and climate justice. In France, on the other hand, tens of thousands of people are protesting against the introduction of carbon taxes. And at a Regional Court in Germany a Peruvian smallholder is suing the energy group RWE for threatening his livelihood with all the CO2 emitted by the company in Germany. These examples show: environmental and climate crises have arrived in our everyday lives. They raise new questions of distribution and justice that are not easy to answer and that need to be discussed with broad participation of societal actors. This is because the roadmap to more desirable futures for the many (not the few) questions everyone’s ways of life, the predominant models of development, and fundamentally challenge the existing power dynamics controlled by the few.

Specifically, the EnJust network wants to encourage innovative research, multi-stakeholder dialogue and effective action on the following questions of environmental and climate justice:
Who or what is experiencing new or exacerbated forms of injustice as
a result of rapid climate and/or environmental change?
Which policies, which social and economic processes – at which scales
– can contribute to more just ways of sharing the burden of climate
and environmental change?
What are innovative ways of communicating both environmental
injustice as well as justice-based responses to climate and
environmental crises?
History of the network
The EnJust network was initiated in 2018 at the Geography Department at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. The founding members, most of whom are academics, include geographers, lawyers, philosophers and political scientists. As a first step, this group organised an international conference on environmental justice, which brought practitioners, artists and scientists from various disciplines to Kiel in June 2019. This conference, at which the website also officially went online, created a first analogue communication space. In the future, we hope for a lively exchange both online and offline.
We are very happy about welcoming new members. To learn more, please visit: https://www.enjust.net

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Project log

Jonas Hein
added a research item
This editorial provides an overview of the roots of environmental justice movement and scholarship. It identifies emerging frontiers of environmental justice research and introduces the contributions of this special issue. Finally, we call for further research on the role of the state in environmental justice struggles and for more participatory methodologies in environmental justice research.
Jonas Hein
added an update
Dear friends and colleagues,
the first of two special issues compiling the results of the Enjust Conference in June 2019 has just been published in the Journal "Die Erde". It covers a wide range of conceptual and empirical contrubutions. All open access!
best,
Jonas
 
Robert Hafner
added a research item
Environmental justice concepts have undergone significant changes from being solely distributive to include underlying power asymmetries. Consequently, we are now faced with a wide array of different interpretations of what environmental justice is. This calls for a fundamental reflection on what environmental justice stands for, how and most importantly why it is used. To achieve this goal, this paper elaborates on the genesis of environmental justice. Recurring challenges of environmental justice research and activism will be identified. Addressing those challenges, as well as breaking down environmental justice concepts into smaller patterns and Fleck'sian thought styles, the Environmental Justice Incom-mensurabilities Framework (EJIF) is introduced. This evaluation and monitoring tool encourages actors (and especially researchers) to reflect upon ideological positionings and axiological interpretations of human-environment relations as well as justice, making research on and with environmental justice more transparent and comparable.
Jonas Hein
added an update
The academic debate on environmental justice initially focused on the distribution of environmental bads (e.g. toxic waste, air pollution), expanded towards the distribution of environmental goods (e.g. green urban space) and to questions of unequal access to land and natural resources. Today, most research on environmental justice and injustice goes beyond investigating aspects of distributional justice. Scholars focus on procedural justice, recognition, access to information and knowledge production and participation opportunities in decision-making processes related to environmental risks. Moreover, scholars increasingly consider the politics of scale of environmental justice. Especially the growing scholarship on climate justice focuses on the scalar politics of climate governance, power asymmetries, north-south relations and on inherently place-based impacts of global warming. This bibliography provides four sections: 1) environmental justice: concepts and theory, 2) case studies on environmental justice, 3) climate justice: concepts and theory, 4) case studies on climate justice. The bibliography will be continuously updated. In case you miss important contributions, please contact us: enjust[at]geographie.uni-kiel.de.
 
Jonas Hein
added an update
The academic debate on environmental justice initially focused on the distribution of environmental bads (e.g. toxic waste, air pollution), expanded towards the distribution of environmental goods (e.g. green urban space) and to questions of unequal access to land and natural resources. Today, most research on environmental justice and injustice goes beyond investigating aspects of distributional justice. Scholars focus on procedural justice, recognition, access to information and knowledge production and participation opportunities in decision-making processes related to environmental risks. Moreover, scholars increasingly consider the politics of scale of environmental justice. Especially the growing scholarship on climate justice focuses on the scalar politics of climate governance, power asymmetries, north-south relations and on inherently place-based impacts of global warming. This bibliography provides four sections: 1) environmental justice: concepts and theory, 2) case studies on environmental justice, 3) climate justice: concepts and theory, 4) case studies on climate justice. The bibliography will be continuously updated. In case you miss important contributions, please contact us: enjust[at]geographie.uni-kiel.de.
 
Jonas Hein
added an update
The academic debate on environmental justice initially focused on the distribution of environmental bads (e.g. toxic waste, air pollution), expanded towards the distribution of environmental goods (e.g. green urban space) and to questions of unequal access to land and natural resources. Today, most research on environmental justice and injustice goes beyond investigating aspects of distributional justice. Scholars focus on procedural justice, recognition, access to information and knowledge production and participation opportunities in decision-making processes related to environmental risks. Moreover, scholars increasingly consider the politics of scale of environmental justice. Especially the growing scholarship on climate justice focuses on the scalar politics of climate governance, power asymmetries, north-south relations and on inherently place-based impacts of global warming. This bibliography provides four sections: 1) environmental justice: concepts and theory, 2) case studies on environmental justice, 3) climate justice: concepts and theory, 4) case studies on climate justice. The bibliography will be continuously updated. In case you miss important contributions, please contact us: enjust[at]geographie.uni-kiel.de.
 
Jonas Hein
added an update
The academic debate on environmental justice initially focused on the distribution of environmental bads (e.g. toxic waste, air pollution), expanded towards the distribution of environmental goods (e.g. green urban space) and to questions of unequal access to land and natural resources. Today, most research on environmental justice and injustice goes beyond investigating aspects of distributional justice. Scholars focus on procedural justice, recognition, access to information and knowledge production and participation opportunities in decision-making processes related to environmental risks. Moreover, scholars increasingly consider the politics of scale of environmental justice. Especially the growing scholarship on climate justice focuses on the scalar politics of climate governance, power asymmetries, north-south relations and on inherently place-based impacts of global warming. This bibliography provides four sections: 1) environmental justice: concepts and theory, 2) case studies on environmental justice, 3) climate justice: concepts and theory, 4) case studies on climate justice. The bibliography will be continuously updated. In case you miss important contributions, please contact us: enjust[at]geographie.uni-kiel.de.
 
Jonas Hein
added an update
This bibliography provides four sections: 1) environmental justice: concepts and theory, 2) case studies on environmental justice, 3) climate justice: concepts and theory, 4) case studies on climate justice.
 
Robert Hafner
added a research item
Environmental justice research and activism predominantly focus on openly conflictive situations; claims making is central. However, situations of injustice can still occur even if there is no overt conflict. Environmental Justice and Soy Agribusiness fills this gap by applying an environmental justice incommensurabilities framework to reveal the mechanisms of why conflicts do not arise in particular situations, even though they fall within classic environmental justice schemes. Empirically, the case study focus is on the remote soy frontier in Northwest Argentina, particularly the town of Las Lajitas as the nucleus of soy production. This represents an excellent example of the recent expansion of the soy agribusiness industry in Latin America. First, a classic environmental justice analysis is carried out. Second, and drawing on the epistemological works of Ludwik Fleck, an alternative analytical framework is proposed, visualising locals’ thought styles on change, effects and potential conflict in relation to soy agribusiness. Here, visceral elements and the application of a jazz methodology are vital for a more holistic form of multisensory cognition. Third, incommensurabilities among the classic and alternative approach are uncovered, arguing for the importance of temporal and spatial contexts in environmental justice research.
Sören Weißermel
added a research item
Das Wasserkraftwerk Belo Monte ist Sinnbild einer Entwicklungspolitik Brasiliens, die durch kapitalistische Expansion die Erschließung und Inwertsetzung des Amazonasgebietes fördert. Über die komplexen Mechanismen und Wirkungen der damit einhergehenden Enteignungsprozesse besteht bislang nur ein unzureichendes Verständnis. Anhand der Verknüpfung von performativitäts-, anerkennungs- und demokratietheoretischen Ansätzen nimmt Sören Weißermel eine Konzeptualisierung des Enteignungsbegriffs vor und leistet so einen Beitrag zu einem fundierten Verständnis von Enteignung. Die empirische Analyse offenbart die Prekarisierung der vom Belo-Monte-Projekt betroffenen Bevölkerung, ausgelöst durch eine Politik der Nicht-Anerkennung komplexer Eigentumsstrukturen und damit verknüpfter Lebensweisen. Der Widerstand gegen Enteignung ist damit im Kern ein Kampf um die Anerkennung alternativer Wirklichkeiten. Die Arbeit verdeutlicht so den Aushandlungscharakter von Enteignung, die im Spannungsfeld der Prekarisierung Betroffener und ihrer Forderungen nach Anerkennung und Öffentlichkeit stattfindet. Dieser Aushandlungsprozess ist als ein Kampf um die materielle und symbolische Aneignung des Raumes zu verstehen.
Jonas Hein
added 5 research items
Indonesia’s commitment to reducing land-based greenhouse gas emissions significantly includes the expansion of conservation areas, but these developments are not free of conflicts. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of agrarian conflicts in the context of the implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and forest carbon offsetting in Indonesia, a country where deforestation is a major issue. The author analyzes new kinds of transnational agrarian conflicts which have strong implications for global environmental justice in the REDD+ pilot province of Jambi on the island of Sumatra. The chapters cover: the rescaling of the governance of forests; privatization of conservation; and the transnational dimensions of agrarian conflicts and peasants' resistance in the context of REDD+. The book builds on an innovative conceptual approach linking political ecology, politics of scale and theories of power. It fills an important knowledge and research gap by focusing on the socially differentiated impacts of REDD+ and new forest carbon offsetting initiatives in Southeast Asia, providing a multi-scalar perspective. It is aimed at scholars in the areas of political ecology, human geography, climate change mitigation, forest and natural resource management, as well as environmental justice and agrarian studies.
After decades of civil war, the Colombian government has recently declared the Amazon as a model region for green growth and low carbon development. The Amazon Vision programme, launched by the Colombian government in 2016, seeks to contribute to forest conservation, climate mitigation, poverty reduction and peace building. The Amazon Vision fundamentally reframes the Colombian Amazon from a 'narco frontier' that needs to be liberated from guerrilla influence , organized crime and peasants destroying forests for coca cultivation, to a net CO 2 sink with enormous potential for green growth and poverty reduction. Drawing on historical and empirical qualitative research in Guaviare and complemented by a quantitative land cover classification, this article builds on the concept of 'green territoriality' to investigate the extent to which the shift towards conservation affects property rights and the ability of indigenous groups and peasants to access land and natural resources. We illustrate how the reframing of peasants from protagonists of development and frontier expansion to villains, and of indigenous communities from 'underdeveloped' forest dwellers to environmental guardians, has created land conflicts and affected the legitimacy of their respective property rights. In both cases, the Amazon Vision strengthens conservation policies and challenges existing land rights but also creates new windows of opportunity for the land claims of indigenous communities while reinforcing conceptualizations of social differentiation among dwellers of the Amazon.
The growing demand for natural rubber is increasingly threatening biodiversity and forest ecosystems. Recently, the French Michelin Group started a cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to establish environmentally and socially sustainable ‘model’ rubber plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia. The framing of Michelin’s tyre production as ‘eco-friendly’ and their purported ‘sustainable’ rubber cultivation contradict with statements by villagers living around Michelin’s plantation in Jambi Province, Sumatra, who are reporting environmental destruction and land tenure conflicts. Conceptually, we build on political ecology and critical human geography perspectives to identify conflicts and ambiguities related to sustainability claims, deforestation and dispossession. Empirically, we draw on qualitative research in a village affected by the plantation. We confront and deconstruct the discursive framing of sustainable rubber production with our empirical findings. We show how the plantation restricts access to land and instead of providing additional income, is actually limiting development opportunities.
Jonas Hein
added an update
In the face of the global multi-dimensional sustainability crises, questions of environmental justice have gained new momentum. During most of the 20th century issues of environmental justice revolved primarily around local impacts of air pollution, contamination of soils and water bodies with toxic substances and exposure of socially or economically marginalized groups to environmental hazards. More recent environmental justice concerns have expanded in space and time. There is increasing acknowledgement of the complexity of environmental justice in the Anthropocene, spanning different spatial scales and pertaining to justice-related questions about the present as well as the near and far future. This includes, but is not limited to, processes of the degradation of our global commons and their local effects; dispersed, yet structurally comparable struggles for survival of indigenous groups; and injustices as a result of local-to-global-scale policies and regulations designed as a response to environmental crises.
In light of this situation of fragmented but systemic exploitation and degradation, we would like to use the forum of the EnJust workshop to discuss the role of the environmental justice movement which we understand to be an inclusive and diverse community. In particular, we hope to generate debate on how new alliances, connected and inclusive approaches, and innovative methods may be used to contribute towards greater concern for justice issues in the context of environmental crises. Complexity, uncertainty and plurality create amalgamations between once distinct domains of knowledge and action as well as formerly unrelated fields of environmental justice work: activists become researchers with access to critical inside information, policy-makers co-produce knowledge jointly with scientists, and academics have a desire to – or are forced to – leave the ivory tower to engage in, as well as study, the politics of environmental degradation in order to contribute to more just futures.
This workshop, collaboratively organized by the Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography at the University of Freiburg and the EnJust Network for Environmental Justice, aims at fostering debate and learning processes about the roles, responsibilities and approaches of the emerging inter- and transdisciplinary environmental justice movement composed of scholars, activists and decision-makers.
The workshop will bring together individuals from these groups, who self-identify with the environmental justice movement, in order to critically engage with current research, concrete ideas, practices, and methods for bridging the divides between environmental justice research and practice, between activism and scientific study, and between collective and individual decision-making. It will provide a space to collectively explore and deepen transdisciplinary work and activist-research for a more just and fairer future.
We invite researchers, activists, planners and policy-makers from academic, governmental and non-governmental organizations to submit their ideas for contributions at the workshop, in line with the abovementioned themes. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
  • Potential and challenges of transdisciplinary work
  • Participatory and activist research
  • Artistic research and the role of art-based approaches
  • Environmental justice and policy-making
  • New municipalism and urban politics
  • (Local) coalitions for environmental justice
  • Struggles of indigenous communities
 
Jonas Hein
added a project goal
We are a vibrant network that raises awareness for issues of environmental justice and strengthens the democratic participation of those affected by environmental problems. We connect actors from research, policy and planning, and civil society. We believe that research should address real, pressing challenges and be undertaken in collaborative ways with partners and stakeholders. We create analogue and digital spaces of communication and initiate collaborative research.
Mission statement
The deteriorating climate and multiple environmental crises affect different demographic groups in diverse ways, creating poor health outcomes and poverty traps for billions. In many places, low-income tenants who live in the neighbourhood of busy roads are exposed to significantly higher emissions than the rest of the local population. All over the world, students and their parents are taking to the streets in order to demand effective measures against climate change, arguing for intergenerational and climate justice. In France, on the other hand, tens of thousands of people are protesting against the introduction of carbon taxes. And at a Regional Court in Germany a Peruvian smallholder is suing the energy group RWE for threatening his livelihood with all the CO2 emitted by the company in Germany. These examples show: environmental and climate crises have arrived in our everyday lives. They raise new questions of distribution and justice that are not easy to answer and that need to be discussed with broad participation of societal actors. This is because the roadmap to more desirable futures for the many (not the few) questions everyone’s ways of life, the predominant models of development, and fundamentally challenge the existing power dynamics controlled by the few.
Specifically, the EnJust network wants to encourage innovative research, multi-stakeholder dialogue and effective action on the following questions of environmental and climate justice:
Who or what is experiencing new or exacerbated forms of injustice as
a result of rapid climate and/or environmental change?
Which policies, which social and economic processes – at which scales
– can contribute to more just ways of sharing the burden of climate
and environmental change?
What are innovative ways of communicating both environmental
injustice as well as justice-based responses to climate and
environmental crises?
History of the network
The EnJust network was initiated in 2018 at the Geography Department at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. The founding members, most of whom are academics, include geographers, lawyers, philosophers and political scientists. As a first step, this group organised an international conference on environmental justice, which brought practitioners, artists and scientists from various disciplines to Kiel in June 2019. This conference, at which the website also officially went online, created a first analogue communication space. In the future, we hope for a lively exchange both online and offline.
We are very happy about welcoming new members. To learn more, please visit: https://www.enjust.net