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Abstract and Figures

In this chapter we provide a broad overview of three dominant ways environmental justice is framed within the scholarship and consider how Indigenous peoples’ understanding and demands for environmental justice necessitate a decolonising approach. Despite critiques, many scholars and policymakers still conceive of environment justice through a singular approach (as distributive equity, procedural inclusion, or recognition of cultural difference). Such a narrow reading fails to appreciate the intersecting and interacting processes that underpin environmental (in)justices faced by Indigenous peoples. We argue that the theoretical discussions and empirical research into environmental (in)justice need to extend beyond Western liberal philosophies and instead consider pluralistic approach to Indigenous environment justice which is founded on Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies, which include intergenerational and more-human-human justice requirements.
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M. Parsons et al., Decolonising Blue Spaces in the Anthropocene, Palgrave Studies in
Natural Resource Management,
Environmental Justice andIndigenous
Environmental Justice
In this chapter, we outline the four essential ideas or proposals that pro-
vide the theoretical framework of this book. Firstly, the dominant fram-
ings and articulations of environmental justice (EJ) do not account for
the complexities of Indigenous intergenerational environmental justice.
Secondly, scholars and decision-makers need to consider what EJ is and
how it can be taken into account in the context of environmental gover-
nance and management that goes beyond a narrow framing of justice as
distributive equity, procedural inclusion, or recognition of Indigenous
rights and consider the intersecting and interacting processes that under-
pin environmental (in)justices faced by Indigenous peoples. irdly, the
theoretical discussion of EJ needs to recognise Indigenous sovereignties,
cultures, and identities through Indigenous ontologies and epistemolo-
gies rather than through Western liberal thought and governance
approaches. And lastly, the theoretical underpinnings of the study of
Indigenous environmental justice (IEJ) need to incorporate intergenera-
tional considerations.
ese four ideas or arguments allow us to consider and explore the
theoretical and empirical gaps within the literature on EJ.Besides, it pro-
vides us space to explore how a diversity of dierent scholars (Indigenous
and Indigenous allies) from a wide array of elds (human geography,
political science, sociology, anthropology, history, Indigenous studies,
environmental management, economics, philosophy, climate change
adaptation) are calling for pluralistic accounts of justice that take into
account local contexts, legal orders, and ontologies. Indeed, EJ always
existed in the complex, overarching framework that was interwoven with
the goals of social justice. As Taylor (2000) argues, in the USA context,
the social injustices experienced by African-Americans and Indigenous
Nations (slavery, discrimination, genocide, land conscation) were also
types of environmental injustice; policies and practices that resulted in
social injustices also inuence how communities were able to engage with
environments and access resources (Taylor 2000). Accordingly, it is vital
to highlight the ways EJ as a eld of academic study and movement lassos
the environmental and social together, particularly in the context of
Indigenous EJ (as we will demonstrate later in this book through our case
study of the Waipā River).
EJ: Distributive Justice
Early EJ research employed a distributive justice lens to examine the
inequitable distribution of environmental risks and the physical proxim-
ity of specic communities to the environmental risk (Walker 2009). EJ
(EJ) scholar trace origins of EJ (as a movement and a eld of study) to
Warren County (North Carolina USA) where a hazardous waste storage
site (Polychlorinated Biphenyl PCB) was established near low-income
Black communities despite widespread community protests. A wealth of
subsequent dierent studies, beginning with Warren County, elsewhere
in the USA and around the globe, investigated the dierential exposure
of communities to hazardous and toxic facilities (Bevc etal. 2007; Bullard
1993; Burwell and Cole 2007; Greife etal. 2017; Pastor etal. 2001;
Wilson etal. 2012). ese studies widely found, in a diversity of local
and national contexts, that marginalised populations (ethnic minority
groups, low-income, lower-caste, undocumented migrants, Indigenous
peoples) were signicantly more likely to live near environmental risks
than the privileged populations (an ethnic majority, high-income,
M. Parsons et al.
higher-caste, homeowners, citizens, settlers) (Arcury and Quandt 2009;
Gordon etal. 2010; Salazar 2009; Salazar and Alper 2011; Vickery and
Hunter 2016). e focus in these studies was on the distribution of envi-
ronmental risks (or the environmental “bads” or negative impacts of
environmental hazards) across populations and geographical areas using
statistical and spatial analyses (Bell and Ebisu 2012; Fisher etal. 2006;
Kingham etal. 2007; Pearce etal. 2006). Later research expanded beyond
just the placements of environmental risks (such as polluted waters and
contaminated soils) and examined where environmental “goods” or posi-
tives (such as clean water and land) was located (Caney 2008; Holield
etal. 2017).
In the case of Warren Country scholars declare it an example of envi-
ronmental racism, referring to intentional, overt, and malicious acts of EJ
against specic ethnic groups (specically non-White) (Figueroa 2001;
Pulido 2017). Scholar Bullard argues that such environmental racism was
(and still is) widespread in the context of the USA (Bullard 2002). Indeed,
as the work of other scholars attests to, racism remains a persistent feature
of environmental governance, management, planning, and decision-
making processes in many dierent colonial contexts, including the set-
tler nation of Aotearoa.
EJ scholars argue that racism plays a critical factor in environmental
planning and decision-making processes in the US and other settler
nations. In Aotearoa few academic studies explicitly examine the distri-
bution of environmental injustices across populations and areas (Coombes
2013; Pearce and Kingham 2008; Pearce et al. 2011; Rixecker and
Tipene-Matua 2003); one study found that 40 per cent of low-income
neighbourhoods in Wellington were exposed to environmental harms
compared to 10 per cent of high-income areas (Salmond 1999). However,
Māori activists and community leaders frequently speak out about issues
pertinent to discussions of environmental racism; environmental harms
(pollution generating factories, hazardous waste disposal sites, contami-
nated lands and waters) are frequently being located in poorer non-
Pākehā (chiey Māori and Pasika) neighbourhoods. Greensill (2010)
cites the example of the town of Kawerau situated in the Bay of Plenty
near where the lead author (Parsons) grew (Greensill 2010). e popula-
tion of Kawerau (according to the 2018 census) was 7146 people of
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
whom 62 per cent identied as Māori; Kawerau is one of the only three
areas in contemporary Aotearoa with a Māori-majority populace (the
others being Ōpōtiki and Wairoa). e town is the site of Aotearoa’s larg-
est paper mill, established in 1953, which generates substantive pollut-
ants (released into the air and water and deposited onto land). In
particular, the mill discharges a toxic mixture of wastewater and solid
materials directly into the Tarawera River. Dubbed the “Black Drain”, the
local iwi (Ngāti Rangitihi) reported that they could no longer collect
customary food sources (sh, watercress, and birds) due to biodiversity
loss as well as health risks associated with eating contaminated foods from
the river, similarly, they no longer swam in the river due to the danger it
posed to their health (Davison 2009; Dodd 2010). Also, certain types of
millworkers (particularly those involved in processing tasks) are more
likely to be exposed to toxic chemicals during daily; processing jobs
(lower-paid and supposedly lower-skilled) are overwhelming held by
Māori, whereas managerial roles (higher-paid and supposedly higher-
skilled) are held by Pākehā. Accordingly, the Kawerau example could be
read as an example of environmental racism and the inequitable distribu-
tion of environmental harms (however, further in-depth studies are
A wealth of scholars now critiqued early EJ research for framing of EJ
solely in terms of distributive equity (Mills 2015; Schlosberg 2003,
2004). Distributive justice is based on the assumption that if everyone is
given equal access to environmental goods and balanced exposure to
environmental harms then no environmental injustice occurs (Schlosberg
2004) So, for example, if a toxic waste dump is located an equal distance
from Indigenous and White communities then there would be no envi-
ronmental injustice accordingly to this framing of EJ as distributive jus-
tice (Sze and London 2008). However, such a framing of EJ ignores the
social, cultural, and institutional contexts in which environmental injus-
tices take place and the historical and contemporary systematic acts of
discrimination against marginalised populations (including Indigenous
peoples and other non-White non-Indigenous communities in settler-
colonial societies, members of lower-incomes and lower-castes in India,
and formerly colonised peoples throughout the Global South) which all
play substantial roles in creating environmental injustices. A
M. Parsons et al.
distributive-framing of EJ (along with environmental racism) therefore
misses crucial opportunities to critique the parts of colonialism and capi-
talism in its relation to dierent subjectivities and how it creates place-
based and culturally-situated environmental injustices (Hendlin 2019;
Jackson 2018; Swyngedouw and Heynen 2003; Whyte 2014, 2016a).
More recent EJ scholarship demonstrates that the narrow focus on equi-
table distribution largely ignores the broader social, cultural, and institu-
tional contexts in which environmental injustices take place and the role
that capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy plays in legitimising, driving
and deepening environmental inequities (Álvarez and Coolsaet 2018;
McGregor 2015; Swyngedouw and Heynen 2003; Sze and London 2008;
Walker 2009). Later EJ research draws attention to the need to consider
how procedures (policies, decision-making processes, and participation)
and recognition (of cultural dierences) play in EJ.
Procedural Justice
Scholars draw attention to the need to consider procedural justice to
combat the issues associated with distributive justice. Procedural-based
EJ focuses on decisions and the decision-makers involved with environ-
mental management decisions. In early EJ research, there was an unspo-
ken assumption that the decision-makers where institutions of power (for
example government agencies and energy companies) with communities
(mostly poor and non-white communities) as the helpless victims of these
decisions (Antadze 2018; Pitea 2009). Walker notes in several works that
agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (US) developed
policies and procedures to facilitate community input in decision making
and hold guilty agencies responsible. However, as the works of Banisar
etal. (2011) and others argued that these spaces of public participation,
in the form of submissions, and public ways, did not yield the outcomes
that communities hoped for (Banisar etal. 2011; Paloniemi etal. 2015).
Often these spaces were controlled by either government agencies or the
companies themselves, who were committed to focusing on their agendas
rather than on community needs. is reects a broader scholarship on
public participation in environmental management, informed by the
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
work of Arnstein, Tritter and McCallum, who argue that the majority of
government attempts to include the public (or specic social groups) are
supercial, and there remain considerable constraints on communities
capacities to participate in the decision-making process (Arnstein 1969;
Tritter and McCallum 2006).
A wealth of scholarship exploring public participation in environmen-
tal management and EJ builds on the seminal work of Arnstein, speci-
cally the article “A Ladder of Citizen Participation” (Arnstein 1969;
Boone and Buckley 2017; Carpentier 2016; Connor 1988; Hurlbert and
Gupta 2015; Ross etal. 2002). Arnstein (1969) argues that participation
is the “cornerstone” of democracy; however, marginalised communities
demand a form of involvement that goes beyond simply just being con-
sulted about decisions and be involved in and shape the decisions. Such
participation, as Arnstein notes, calls for a redistribution of power (from
the powerful to the marginalised groups within society) to enable those
who are marginalised to join the conversation to determine how informa-
tion is shared and ultimately encourage social reform that allows previ-
ously marginalised communities to benet (Arnstein 1969). Arnstein
breaks down participation into a ladder which is broken up into eight
dierent steps. e steps are then grouped into three categories (Non-
participation, Degrees of Tokenism and Degrees of Citizen Power); which
range from the no or little public participation in decision-making (Non-
participation) to some public participation (Degrees of Tokenism), and
nally, a signicant amount of participation and the capacities to shape
government decisions (Degrees of Citizen Power).
Arnsteins participation ladder is not without criticism amongst schol-
ars (Carpentier 2016; Hart 2008). Indeed, those in positions of power in
a society are often highly resistant to giving up any power and, as the
work of feminist and anti-racist scholars demonstrates, the continuation
of patriarchal structures as well as racism and other discriminatory beliefs
eectively set up roadblocks to specic groups’ achieving higher levels of
participation (what Arnstein terms “Degrees of Citizen Power”) in
decision- making (Azmanova 2012; Crease etal. 2019; Pulido and De
Lara 2018; Schlosberg 2003; Sen 1995; Tschakert and Machado 2012).
e roadblocks for marginalised social groups being able to participate in
environmental governance and management, as our later analysis of
M. Parsons et al.
co-governance arrangements for the Waipā River (Chap. 7), include lack
of access to appropriate nancial resources, technologies, and training, as
well as public participation forums being designed to t the intellectual,
cultural, and political traditions of the dominant social group (and in
doing so re-articulating the state’s exclusion of Indigenous knowledge,
values, and practices). us, it is not just limited resources and capacities
that create barriers to marginalised groups participating in environmental
management decision-making processes; it is also the failure of the state
to recognise dierent cultures’ values, knowledges, and ways of life.
Indeed, as Blue etal. (2019) recently highlights, participatory practices
and justice are closely related (Blue etal. 2019) and, as the work of Nancy
Fraser also demonstrates (Fraser 1990, 1995, 2007, 2009), peoples abili-
ties to participate in decision-making processes are inuenced by a range
of economic, political and socio-economic factors that extend beyond
distributive and procedural and also include recognition of cultural
Recognition Justice
Other scholars advocate for thinking about EJ as recognition and respect
of individual and communal cultural dierences (Barnhill-Dilling etal.
2020; Fraser 1995). Particularly in the context of water security, ecosys-
tem restoration, and biodiversity conservation, recent scholarship exam-
ines the discursive and practical constraints of the dominant Western
liberal framings of distributive and procedural EJ (He and Sikor 2015;
Martin etal. 2016; Sikor etal. 2014; Sze 2018). Instead, Martin (2016),
Sze (2018) and other scholars (Barnhill-Dilling etal. 2020) argue that
recognition is a critical part of justice and a “necessary precondition for
participating in environmental decisions” (Barnhill-Dilling et al.
2020, p.84).
A lack of recognition, Schlosberg (2004) and Adger etal. (2011), of
the impacts of environmental degradation and risks faced by specic
communities, can detrimentally aect both the material and cultural
wellbeing of individuals and communities’ (Adger etal. 2011; Schlosberg
2012; Schlosberg and Carruthers 2010). If, for instance, national or local
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
governments do not acknowledge that existence of specic environmen-
tal harms, hazards, or risks (be it the pollution of waterways or the impacts
of climate change) that are occurring within their jurisdictions, they are
likely to be apathetic to the environmental risks and take limited actions
to mitigate those risks. Similarly, if governments, interest groups, leaders,
and the citizenry as a whole do not recognise that marginalised popula-
tions, including Indigenous peoples, (within their nation-states and
around the world) are the most at risk (most vulnerable) to the negative
impacts of environmental hazards (including water pollution, a tropical
cyclone or the eects of climate change), resources are unlikely to be
directed at assisting those groups (Rydin 2006; Schlosberg and Collins
2014). Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the US city of New Orleans
in 2005, is a glaring example of this and is widely analysed by justice
scholars. In New Orleans, a natural hazard was transformed into a disas-
ter when distributive injustices (environmental racism against the Black
population) coincided with procedural and recognitional injustices
(inequitable institutional arrangements, planning regimes, legal systems
and economic structures) to marginalise the lives, bodies, and ways of life
of individual people (Black/African-American residents) over others
based on race (White residents). e hurricane became a large-scale disas-
ter and was a consequence of ood levees failing and ooding predomi-
nately Black neighbourhoods, resulting in the deaths of more than 1800
people (the majority of whom were Black). Yet, scholars concur that these
deaths were mostly avoidable and a consequence of actions to address the
multiple social and environmental injustices faced by Black communities
in New Orleans (Bullard and Wright 2008; Miller and Rivera 2009;
Rohland 2018).
Scholar highlight how the settler state’s failure (or misrecognition) of
Indigenous communities (by marginalising their knowledge, values, ways
of life and excluding it from decisions) contributes to environmental
injustices (Barnhill-Dilling etal. 2020; Holield 2012; Holield etal.
2017). Examples of misrecognition extend beyond the misrecognition of
the culture and includes the misrecognition of land and water (and
Indigenous people’s relationships with their properties, waters, and
biota). Such misrecognition of lands consists of the common practice
whereby settler nation-states (and settlers) devalued indigenous lands,
M. Parsons et al.
labelling it ‘wastelands’, ‘unusable’, or ‘undesirable’ (until the land was no
longer held by Indigenous peoples). ese labels make it easier for settler
state, settlers, and companies to justify the placement of environmental
harms or risks in undesirable or marginal lands (Barnhill-Dilling etal.
2020; Holield 2012; Walker 2009). Misrecognition, however, is only
one part of the framing of EJ as recognition. e other part is recogni-
tional justice, which is critical for Indigenous people, are the capacities of
people to determine their interpretation of what environmental (in)jus-
tice is (Jackson 2008; Lowitt et al. 2019; Whyte 2011). Indeed, for
Indigenous peoples who already possess or want treaties and laws that
acknowledge and enforce their self-determination rights and tribal sover-
eignty. Even when settler states recognise indigenous peoples’ rights of
self-determination, their capacities to make decisions and enact their sov-
ereignty are often under-minded by the settler state and other outside
organisations (Holield 2012; Ranco 2008). While most scholars agree
that both procedural justice and justice as recognition are essential to EJ,
many scholars also declared that procedural justice and recognition alone
do not provide enough to guarantee EJ.
Recognition can consist of an armation of a groups cultural dier-
ence and identity and/or strategies that are directed at overcoming insti-
tutional harms that prevent meaningful engagement with political and
social institutions. Recognition-informed actions include those that aim
to address or mitigate injustices against Indigenous peoples through strat-
egies termed armation actions (such as educational scholarships and
provision of welfare). rough projects that aim to transform Indigenous-
non- Indigenous relationships (such redistribution of the benets and
altering modes of production), recognition approaches are primarily
directed at social and cultural changes including the “deconstruction” of
principal arrangements of socio-cultural representation in ways that rec-
ognise and “change everyones social identities” (Fraser and Honneth
2003, pp.12–13).
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
Critique ofRecognition
Dene political theorist Coulthard (2007, 2014), writing in the context of
settler-colonial Canada and Indigenous nations, critiques the idea that
the relationships between the settler-nation and Indigenous peoples are
transformed through the “politics of recognition” (2007, p. 438).
Recognition, Coulthard denes in terms of to the armative acknowl-
edgement “of societal, cultural dierences” and “freedom and wellbeing
of marginalised individuals and groups living in ethnically diverse states”
(Coulthard 2007, p.438). Coulthard maintains that recognition-based
conceptualisations of justice, emerging from Western liberal pluralism,
aim to reconcile Indigenous sovereignty claims (which range from com-
plete nation-state sovereignty to limited self-determination) with the sov-
ereignty of the nation-state through a compromise of sorts. e state
recognises Indigenous cultural identities and engages in projects aimed at
improving and reconguring the relationships of Indigenous peoples
with the nation-state. Coulthard (2007) notes that the “politics of recog-
nition” in its present form simply reproduces “the very congurations of
colonial power that Indigenous peoples’ demands for recognition have
historically sought to transcend” (Coulthard 2007, p. 439). Indeed,
Coulthard (2014) observes that despite dierent Indigenous peoples in
Canada achieving recognition through legislation, Treaties, and other
formal agreements with the federal and provincial governments, the
Canadian courts continue to declare that the settler-state possess the right
to make decisions about environmental management and developments
within Indigenous landscapes and waterscapes. e vast majority of
government- sponsored projects, including the construction of infrastruc-
ture and settlements as well as hydroelectric, forestry, agricultural and
mining ventures, is justied and rationalised so long as each project is
“‘consistent with the special duciary relationship’ between the Canadian
government and the indigenous peoples” (Coulthard 2007, p.451).
Other academics, following on from the work of Coulthard, similarly
demonstrate how existing neoliberalism (in Aotearoa, Australia, Canada
and beyond) has inuenced and constrained the forms of recognition
proposed by the state as a method to address social injustices experienced
M. Parsons et al.
by Indigenous peoples as a consequence of settler colonialism (Azmanova
2012; Bargh 2018; Bell 2018; McCormack 2018). Avril Bell, for instance,
highlights how:
At its Hegelian roots, recognition theory is about the struggle to achieve a
relationship of equals between two subjects. To recognise the subjectivity of
another is to recognise their equal and autonomous status as self-
determining people worthy of respect. (Bell 2018)
What prevails is (in the words of Jakeet Singh) “recognition from
above” in which the state “is the arbiter of just and unjust claims for rec-
ognition from subordinate groups” (Singh 2014a, p.47). Aside from
deciding what types of recognition are on oer, the state also spells out
the provisions of recognition. For instance, while the state may legally
acknowledge Indigenous rights and identities, as a range of critical
humanities and social science scholars demonstrate, those rights and
identity are frequently essentialised in ways that enable the state’s eco-
nomic interests in the era of neoliberalism (Bargh 2018; Coombes etal.
2012; Coulthard 2014; Singh 2014b, 2019).
Avril Bell’s examination of how local governments in Aotearoa recog-
nise Māori provides a sharp critique of how neoliberal politics inuenced
and constrained the form of recognition on oer by the state (Bell 2018).
She highlights how the central government of Aotearoa (the Crown) now
ocially recognises that Māori and the Crown are Treaty partners (as
encapsulated in Aotearoas founding document Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the
Treaty of Waitangi), the legislation governing local government explicitly
states that local authorities are not the Crown and are not Treaty partners
with Māori. Since environmental governance is highly devoted in
Aotearoa, the failure to legally include local government as Treaty part-
ners means that local government authorities routinely misrecognise
Māori interests, only allow for Māori participation in planning that is
tokenism, and make no attempts to achieve distributive equity (Bell
2018; Ryks etal. 2010). Accordingly, local government is, in Bell’s view,
emblematic of the failure of the New Zealand Crown to adequately rec-
ognise Māori as full Treaty partners (which we discuss further in Chap. 2)
(Bell 2018). We will pick up on Bell’s analysis further in our review of the
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
management of freshwater within the Waipā River catchment (Chaps. 4,
5, and 6) and highlight how the current politics of recognition, within
the context of freshwater management, does not challenge the settler
state to reform itself. Indeed, we echo Bell’s argument that when the two
arms of government (central and local) are assessed together, the settler
state is “not a t subject for recognition politics” (that is to impose “rec-
ognition from above”) (Bell 2018, p.78). At the local level, the state suf-
fers from ongoing historical amnesia (continuing to frame local histories
as one of peaceful settlement and continuous progress) and, more gener-
ally, makes endless statements that emphasise the rights of Māori iwi (as
Treaty partners and as tribal authority-holders referred to as mana
whenua); the importance of incorporating mātauranga (Māori knowl-
edge) and tikanga (laws and principles) into freshwater management, yet
at the same time taking actions that are opposed to their statements; put
simply, local governments’ frequently say one thing while doing another.
Furthermore, although Indigenous identity is recognised, the articula-
tion of Indigenous peoples’ inclusion within neoliberal economies
endeavours to foreclose other alternative economic arrangements. While
we do not, in this book, focus on economics, it is nevertheless important
to acknowledge this signicant critique of recognition-based justice.
Scholars highlight the fundamental need for local arrangements that
allow for Indigenous peoples to be agents of recognition thereby gaining
control over the redistributive of revenues and expenditures directed at
addressing Indigenous peoples’ socio-economic disadvantage and mar-
ginalisation, and in doing so promote Indigenous peoples’ inclusion and
address injustices; this is how “recognition from below” takes place,
“when people in dominated social positions turn away from institution-
alised power hierarchies, shaping their own social orders without approval
or permission of any authority beyond themselves” (Williams 2014,
p.10). As Williams observes, these “processes of the state self- constituting
power”, realised through formal political movements or acts of resistance,
also involve struggles for recognition, but the “agents of recognition” are
Indigenous peoples rather than the state. Evidence of what Coulthard
terms “recognition from below” which he denes as the: strategies of ‘self-
recognition’ through which colonised or dominated subjects “critically
revalu[e], reconstruct … and redeploy … culture and tradition” and,
M. Parsons et al.
through such a process, transform their own subjectivities and conscious-
ness as political agents (Coulthard 2007, p.456). Signicantly, many
scholars examine the dynamic and complex trajectories of neoliberalism
within settler-nations and highlight how neoliberal governance frequently
involves a shift in state recognition of Indigenous interests and demon-
strates what is needed to create situations where recognition from below
is possible. For instance, Will Sanders argues (in the context of Australia
but equally applicable to other settler-nations) that what is needed in
contemporary Indigenous policymaking is some re-recognition of decol-
onisation as a means to address continuing Indigenous socio-economic
disadvantage (Sanders 2018). He goes onto suggest that labelling and
framing are signicant, and it is critical to continue to insist articulating
and acting on the process of decolonisation (even if we live in the age of
neoliberalism) because it keeps alive the central ideas about the critical
need to recognise Indigenous interests and demands for justice.
Such ideas can also be extended to thinking about IEJ as there are
concerns that the state continues to be the arbiter decider of what and
how Indigenous rights and interests in water (land, seas, and so forth) are
recognised (as we demonstrate in Chap. 4). What this means, as we
explore in-depth in Chap. 9 (which explores river restoration), is the
nuances and complexities of Indigenous interests in their local environ-
ments, which includes their use of natural resources and environmental
stewardship across successive generations as well as deliberative forms of
place-based and kinship-centred governance, are frequently overlooked
in favour of recognition formats that t the needs (worldviews and gov-
ernance structures) of the settler state rather than Indigenous peoples’
themselves. In doing so, the plethora of intergenerational environmental
injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples is frequently overlooked by
the narrow “recognition from above” models employed by the states.
However, we demonstrate the potential to disrupt the narrow conceptu-
alisations of recognition and extend it to include multiple ontologies and
legal orders. We suggest that there is an emerging middle ground between
a settler state and Indigenous political agendas in Aotearoa, which imper-
fect, in the context of the emergence of co-governance and co- management
arrangements over rivers (and mountains) (outlined in Chaps. 7 and 8)
does present the potentialities of addressing environmental injustice
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
through governance structures and management approaches under-
pinned situated within Māori ways of knowing and beyond.
Beyond Recognition: Indigenous Ontologies
ere is a fundamental need, Māori philosopher Christine Winter argues,
for accounts of environmental justice to move beyond Western liberal
thought to meaningfully include Indigenous ontologies and epistemolo-
gies (Winter 2018, 2019a, b). One way of doing this would be to expand
the dimensions of recognitional justice to embrace ontological and epis-
temological pluralism. Winter identies some of the dierences between
Indigenous and Western intellectual traditions (see Figs.2.1 and 2.2) that
● Ownership of property essential to human
● Everything that is not human may be
considered property (land, water, plants,
● Property rights give owners the right to
extract financial value from their property with
few limiting prohibitions
● The present is prioritised
(considered the most significant time
● Natural and cultural environments are seperate domains. Cultural
environments are sometimes regarded as more important (more valuable)
than natural environments
● Non-human nature is of value to humans due to its potential to contribute to
human material and physical wellbeing (instrumental value)
● Humankind is the central force and justice is concerned with humankind
(rather than other living beings)
● Society possesses a duty to ensure individuals can maintain their
● Society is not meant to place any undue constraints the freedoms of
the individual
● In situations where the community is in contest with the individual,
the rights of the individual are prioritised
● The individual, although part of a wider society and supported by
different communities, is of central importance
● Property contains resources that can be accessed by peopl
for the accumulation of material wealth
● Spaces are lived in by people as property and considered
“culture” spaces, whereas uninhabited spaces are “natural”
● Property can be transferred between parties for money or
other resources
● Property possesses a monetary value
● Spaces are measured anddivided into ownership parcels
Waterways, lakes and seas, lands, trees and mineral
resources are all quantifiable and measurable property
● The future is potentiol time that
current inhabitants may inhabit.
However, the majority of dicision-
making ficuses on the present and
near-present rather than medium-or
longer-term futures
● The past is less important than the
● Property rights can be transferred through
various mechanisms (selling, leasing, and
gifting) with property laws about interpersonal
obligations not about property itself
Western Worldviews: Te Ao Pākehtā
Fig. 2.1 Key features of Western worldviews that pertain to discussions of EJ
M. Parsons et al.
inform our later discussions of EJ.Recent research by Indigenous schol-
ars, including Winter, McGregor and Whyte, documents instances of
environmental injustices suered by Indigenous communities, which are
tied to the continued dominance of Western worldviews (including fram-
ings of what constitutes justice as summarised in Fig.2.1) that are pre-
mised on nature/culture binaries (already critiqued by a plethora of
scholars) (McGregor 2018a; Todd 2016; Whyte 2018; Winter 2019a, b).
Despite how well-intended the EJ scholarship is, the dominant EJ
framework being used by scholars (and applied to Indigenous communi-
ties around the globe) continues to neglect the unique experiences of
Indigenous communities and their collective trauma under colonialism
(Whyte 2016, 2017). A wealth of indigenous and non-indigenous aca-
demics call for the colonial structures that underpin EJ (as a movement
and a eld of study) to be overthrown to allow space to both acknowledge
and enact the knowledge, rights, and sovereignty of indigenous peoples
● Connections with land, freshwater bodies, and sea are perceived through the
perspective of custodial and kinship relationships (whakapapa)
● Laws of the land (tikanga) are based on custodial relationships
● Actions tha diminish the life force (mauri) of culturally important landscapes and
waterscapes also damage the wellbeing of iwi and hapu who whakapapa to the
● Cultural identities are intertwined with non-human dimensions of the
● Nature is everything and everywhere (rather than something seperate
from people and out there)
Value is situated as integrated with the whole (symbiotic relationships)
● All living things are interconnected and the overarching principle is one of
ensuring there is balance between living things
● Humans are not privileged over other aniamls or living things
● Humans are part of an interconnected whole (beginning with creation of
all life from the gods and continuing through to present and future
generations of beings). Accordingly, justice from a maori perspective is
not just about people, but also about justice for all parts of the
environment (humans and non-humans, living and non-living)
● Places, including one’s land (whenua), awa (river), and maunga (mountain), are
at the heart of tribal identity; with each person, whanau, hapu, and iwi connected
to specific spaces through whakapapa (genealogy)
● Laws are both prescriptions about behaviour but also expressions of particular
identities, and ways of being and thinking about the world
● Laws (tikanga), underpinned by particular ethics and duties of care (Kaitiakianga)
to landscapes/waterscapes, are designed to ensure that individuals and
collectives maintain the relationships and ensure continuity for future generations.
● Landscapes, waterscapes, and seascapes are places where specific cultures
create and maintain their connections and relationships, which includes material
and metaphysical relationships
● Decision-making processes consider
intergenerational perspectives. The collective
duty and responsibility to respect and care for
ancestors, current generations, and future
● Conceptualisations of time as a spiral or a loop
that constantly spirals into the future, rather than
a linear path (past-present-future)
● Past and future considered to be integral to
● Present not prioritised
● Although territory (rohe) is marked, the connections between territory lies with the
collective rather than with individuals
● The ownership of property, including both land and water, is neither a concept nor
an individual right
● Production is directed at sufficiency not surplus (such as growing enough loud to
ensure sufficient supplies for a community)
Te Ao Māori
(Māori worldviews)
placed on
● The collective (the wider communnity) is
resposible for supporting the individual. The
strength of the community (the whole) depends
on every member. Every within the group
possesses intrinsic value
● The protection, care, and wellbeing of the
community as a whole supersedes those of the
individual. The duties to the community are of
paramount importance
● An individual’s value rests in the strength of the
wider community (whanau, hapu, iwi)
Communitarian Continuous temporality
Fig. 2.2 Key features of Indigenous worldviews
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
(Bird 1999; Gilio-Whitaker 2019; McCreary and Milligan 2018; Whyte
2016b, 2020). Indigenous scholars, in particular, argue that environmen-
tal issues facing Indigenous communities dier from those faced by non-
Indigenous communities because of Indigenous cultures, identities,
experiences of colonisation (including violence and dispossession),
Indigenous knowledge systems, modes of life, and tribal sovereignty
(Vickery and Hunter 2016). IEJs (IEJ) makes explicit the relationships
between indigenous worldviews, cultural continuance, and sovereignty
which all embody crucial components of power, authority, and justice
within Indigenous contexts (Holield etal. 2017; Weaver 1996, 2016;
Whyte 2011). Because how environmental decision-making, both in the
past and present-day, centres on only one way of relating to the environ-
ment, institutions develop particular ways of doing things over time
which are underpinned by the idea that Indigenous environmental gov-
ernance and management approaches are of marginal or no importance
(Steel and Whyte 2012; Whyte 2018). Here, the lens of IEJ provides us
with the opportunity to acknowledge both Indigenous sovereignty and
indigenous worldviews as rooted in justice-oriented freshwater gover-
nance management and decision-making.
Māori worldviews, which exist on a continuum that is increasingly
incorporating Western liberal individualism as well as Māori collectivism,
continue to resonate in and shape Māori people’s lives and their engage-
ment with their awa as we outline in later chapters. Like other Indigenous
people who live within the borders of settler-colonial states, Māori iwi
(tribes), hapū (sub-tribes), and whānau (extended family) endure despite
the social, cultural, economic, political, and ecological marginalisation
they experienced as a consequence of settler colonialism. Indeed, the his-
tories of Māori and other Indigenous cultures over the last two hundred
plus years of colonisation oers us all (Indigenous and non-Indigenous
alike) essential lessons about what constitutes a life well-lived and how to
maintain cultures, identities, a sense of belongingness and connectivity,
and pursue a good life (one that holds value to you) in the face of radical
(seemingly Earth-shattering) social, economic, political, cultural, and
environmental changes. Indeed, the populations of Indigenous peoples
around the globe experienced a massive loss of life as a consequence of
infectious disease outbreaks linked to the arrival of colonisers bringing
M. Parsons et al.
with them new diseases; smallpox, for instance, killed between 60–80 per
cent of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia (far more
than colonial violence ever did). While Indigenous peoples, like all peo-
ples around the globe, are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, it is worth
remembering the long history of past experiences of destruction and loss,
and how dierent ways of thinking about the world can guide daily and
future practices for more sustainable and hopeful futures. Indeed, Māori
ontology can oer valuable learnings into two theoretical domains—dig-
nity and time—that oer the potential to address both Western and
Indigenous demands for EJ and intergenerational justice.
For more than a century, Indigenous worldviews and philosophies
were frequently excluded or disparaged, deemed either primitive or
a- theoretical by scholars, scientists, and decision-makers alike (Mills
2015; Buckinx et al. 2015; Tully 2000). Despite persistent attempts to
erase, replace, and eradicate Indigenous beliefs and worldviews (be it
through academia, the legal system, policymaking, media and the educa-
tion curricula), such values and understandings remain relevant to the
lives of many Indigenous peoples. Increasingly, as the emergent co-gover-
nance and co-management approaches attest to, settler states are enacting
policies (after centuries and decades of protests and campaigns by Māori
groups) that recognise Indigenous authority, knowledges and principles
(which challenge the supposed universal applicability and superiority of
Western liberal thought). ese portrayals shape current lives and will
aect future generations of Indigenous peoples (as individuals, commu-
nities, and societies). A new concept of intergenerational EJ could, how-
ever, include and encourage Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.
Some Indigenous ontologies are characterised as holistic and kin-
centric, such as found amongst Māori of Aotearoa, Aboriginal peoples of
Australia, and Indigenous peoples throughout North and South America.
People are active and co-producing (participatory) players within ecosys-
tems (see Burarrwanga etal. 2013; etc.). Without the wrenching division
between humans and nonhumans which characterises Western thought
(post the European Enlightenment) (Ghosh 2018), Indigenous peoples
exist in a complex and highly dynamic continuum of relationships with
natures (physical, ecological and metaphysical). So interwoven are these
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
connections that some scholars include places as co-authors (Country
etal. 2016; Suchet-Pearson etal. 2013). As Australian Indigenous scholar
Laklak Burarrwanga (an elder from Datiwuy located in North East
Arnhem Land) and collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous
scholars writes:
our homeland of Bawaka as co-author. at’s because the land, the water,
the animals, the plants, the rocks, the thought and songs that makeup
Bawaka contribute to what we are saying here in important ways. ey
speak to us, inform what we do and have guided our thinking and talking).
(Burarrwanga etal. 2013, p. Loc 324 of 3120)
Indeed, many Indigenous cultures are therefore located on such intel-
lectual groundings, ontological underpinnings rmly rooted in the lack
of distinction between human and nature. It is, therefore, a crucial coun-
terpoint to the Western liberal dichotomy of human-nature, civilised-
savage, tamed-wild, productive/wasteful, modern/primitive, from a
holistic and connective perspective that situates people as part of nature:
“Humans can no more go out of nature than they can go out of their
bodies” (Green 2011, p.132).
Accordingly, this raises several critical questions about freshwater man-
agement in the Anthropocene, both in terms of theorising about EJ and
actions to address the drivers and implications of freshwater degradation.
Western liberal theorises of EJ (which remain dominant within both the
international scholarship and policymaking domains) continue to claim
neutrally, impartially, and universally. Yet, Indigenous scholars, including
Watene and Winter, are challenging the eld of EJ to reconsider and
extend what constitutes life and dignity supporting environments for all
peoples around the globe (including those from non-Western cultures) in
the context of changing climate conditions and its intergenerational jus-
tice ramications (Budowle etal. 2019; Spiegel etal. 2020; Watene 2016;
Winter 2019b). e critical question is, what does EJ look like if we are
to take into account the ontologies of Indigenous peoples in the context
of freshwater governance and management? Is it possible to formulate,
within the Western liberal theories of justice, an account of EJ (incorpo-
rating social, environmental and intergenerational justice) that provides
M. Parsons et al.
for Indigenous peoples within settler societies? Indeed, are Western lib-
eral theories capable of doing this or are the ontological dierences so
signicant that the conceptualisation of justice is dierent? We attempt
to address some of these questions in the following chapters in this book.
Winter identies the ways in which the dominant cultures of settler
states remain epistemologically ignorant of Indigenous perspectives. It is
not possible to describe in-depth all Indigenous worldviews, but we do
identify some standard features that dier from those of Western world-
views: non-materiality; a sense of place; communitarianism; holism; and
non-linear temporality (summarised in Fig.2.1). Likewise, other scholars
challenge Western articulations of EJ and advocate for Indigenous-
informed EJ approaches. ere is no agreeable denition of what exactly
counts as IEJ; however, McGregor summarises the approach that advo-
cates for “relationships based on environmental justice [that] are not lim-
ited to relations between people but consist of those among all beings of
Creation” (McGregor 2010, p.27). Indeed, a common feature of the
various IEJ scholarship is a framing of EJ that goes beyond humans (the
anthropocentric lens) to include animals, plants, weather, geology, spirits
and supernatural beings, and IEJ thus deserves an Indigenous-informed
framework (distinct from EJ frameworks employed in Canada, United
States, Australia and elsewhere). IEJ as a framework, McGregor etal.
(2020) argues, provides a set of logics that moves beyond the myopic
anthropogenic lens of Western liberal theorising to recognise and include
more-than-human actors as well as the Earth itself (McGregor 2018b;
McGregor etal. 2020). For example, in the context of freshwater man-
agement and water justice, scholarship exploring Indigenous knowledges
and experiences of water injustices highlight how, for many dierent
Indigenous peoples, water is conceptualised as a living, more-than-human
entity with responsibilities and duties to maintain the life and wellbeing
of itself and other beings, which contrasts markedly from Western under-
standings of water as a resource and commodity (Jackson 2018; McGregor
2015; Perreault etal. 2012; Stensrud 2016). According to Indigenous
ontologies, as we explore further in Chap. 6, issues of water justice and
security are not merely about Indigenous peoples (and other social
groups) being able to access water equitably (as encapsulated in the
United Nations right to-water discourse) but also about justice for water
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
as a more-than-human entity who possesses its own rights and responsi-
bilities, which need to be recognised and provided for (Jackson 2018;
McGregor etal. 2020).
In line with other Indigenous-informed approaches to EJ and main-
taining the signicance of EJ being spatial and temporally located (con-
sidering local histories, cultures, and geographies), in the rest of the book
we explore Māori (specically Ngāti Maniapoto) conceptualisations of
and responses to environmental injustices. However, we do draw links to
other Indigenous peoples’ ontologies and framings of justice (with par-
ticular emphasis on reciprocal relations, intergenerational responsibilities
and more-than-human entities) to highlight the ways in which a growing
chorus of EJ scholars and activists are drawing attention to other forms of
knowing and being and the limitations of the hegemonic (Eurocentric)
EJ paradigm. For instance, Māori emphasise the need to manage envi-
ronmental resources sustainably (guided by the principle of kaitiakitanga
meaning environmental guardianship) to ensure that future generations
can use those resources (which we explore in future depth in Chap. 2). A
commonly used whakataukī (proverb used within Māori societies to
share cultural norms and values) that encapsulated the intergenerational
dimension of Māori environmental management:
Hutia te rito o te harakeke. Kei hea te korimako, e ko? Ki mai ki ahau, he
aha te mea nui o te ao? Maku e ki atu He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.
Pluck the heart from the ax bush- where will the bellbird be? Ask me,
what is the most critical thing in the world? I will reply, it is people, it is
people, it is people. (Cherrington 2019, p.53)
While the meaning of this whakataukī is multi-layered, its central mes-
sage is one of sustainability. It underpins the idea that balance is needed
between all elements of the world (humans and more-than-humans) to
maintain the health and wellbeing of all (Durie 2006; Rixecker and
Tipene-Matua 2003; Walker etal. 2019; Wehi and Lord 2017). Harakeke
(the ax bush Phormium Tenax) is a prodigious plant that grows through-
out Aotearoa and is (and historically was) used for a variety of purposes
by Māori (specically for the weaving of clothing, art, baskets and ropes).
Accordingly, eorts are taken to use it sustainably. For instance, the side
M. Parsons et al.
leaves of a ax plant can be removed, but if the plant’s central core is dam-
aged, the plant will die. Likewise, the korimako (bellbird Anthornis
Melanura) collects nectar from the owers of ax bush (and is also praised
for its beautiful song). So, the death of ax negatively impacts the health
of bellbirds. e answer to the question stresses that people must practice
reciprocal relationships with the more-than-human beings that share the
world(s) with them and emphasises the sustainable use of resources to
ensure the wellbeing of current and future generations.
Far across the Pacic Ocean, in the Canadian context, Anishinaabe
scholar Deborah McGregor articulates similar ideas in her research into
Anishinaabe EJ.She demonstrates how, under Anishinaabe traditions,
justice extends to include both current generations as well as the “ances-
tors of current beings and those yet to come (at least as far ahead as seven
generations from now)” (McGregor 2010, p.30). For the Anishinaabek
people, environmental management decision-making is required to con-
sider at least seven generations of beings (human and more-than-human).
Such conceptualisations of looking seven generations into the future are
likewise articulated in various Canadian and US Indigenous peoples’ dec-
larations about their rights and responsibilities for their waters, including
the Water Declaration of the Anishinabek, Mushegowuk, and
Onkwehonwe (2008) and the Tribal and First Nations Great Lakes Water
Accord (2004).
In Australian Aboriginal societies, and even longer intergenerational
lens is applied to conceptualisations of EJ that reect dierent conceptu-
alisations of time (which challenges assumptions of linearity and forward-
thinking). In Australia, Australian Aboriginal peoples’ occupation traces
back more than 50,000years and Aboriginal clans have been living in
their ‘Country’ (traditional lands and waters) for 2000 generations
(something that Western scientists only recently “discovered” but
Aboriginal peoples already knew and recounted in their oral histories and
traditions). Each Australian Aboriginal people and their specic Country,
therefore, are co-constituted. In the words of Winter: “Together they
have weathered ice ages, sea-level rise and fall, drought, and storms,
extinctions and the ourishings: these changes are recorded in their sto-
ries” (2018, p.127). Within Australian Aboriginal cultures, the land is
the source of identity, and everything is interwoven back to and within
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
reciprocal relationships with the land. e Aboriginal people come from
the country, and they return to it where they reside as ancestors (under-
pinned by cosmological thinking of Dreamtime and Dreaming). ere is
more this understanding of reciprocal and intergenerational relation-
ships. e ancestral beings, (more-than-human beings who lived on the
Australian continent before humans occupied the landmass), provided
the form to the original human beings. at is, as Moreton-Robinson
highlights, such ontological relationships centre on the connectivity of
ancestral beings with the land and humans as co-constituted and inter-
woven embodied entities, wherein injustice against one is an injustice
against all (Moreton-Robinson 2015, p.12, 2017). As Aboriginal legal
scholar Irene Watson writes:
e Nunga ‘I am’ is not like the other, dominant Western subject of being,
which is represented by a straight line of thought—beginning, middle and
ending. Instead, a Nunga process encircles; within there is a process that
allows a person to become one and to begin again. is process is non-
hierarchical and non-linear; rather it takes the form of a cycle, of the con-
tinuity of being, becoming another cycle, nurntikki [to go on forever].
(Watson 2014, p.16)
As an Australian Aboriginal person comes from the land and ancestral
beings come from the ground before returning to the land and living
within the land, from where they (people/ancestors) may arise again in
some other form. Accordingly, “when listening to country Aboriginal
people listen to ancestors, bringing them into the present, including
them within an intergenerational, inter-species, inter-form community”
(Winter 2018, p. 129). Such listening is an active process wherein
Aboriginal people narrated how their whole body is involved in listening.
It requires them to interpret the results (what they hear) in light of their
specic responsibilities to care for country and past/present/future gen-
erations of humans and ancestors (Maclean and e Bana Yarralji Bubu
Inc. 2015; Moreton-Robinson 2015; Woodward and Marrfurra
McTaggart 2019; Zurba and Berkes 2014). More in-depth understand-
ings of Indigenous philosophies and justice theorising are provided by
Deborah McGregor, Kyle Powys Winter and Christine Jill Winter. We
M. Parsons et al.
oer here just a brief introduction to some of these and other scholars’
works to make it clear (in contrast to the Western framing of justice that
emphasis universality) that Indigenous peoples can experience injustice
dierently (to non-Indigenous peoples and other Indigenous peoples).
Furthermore, the types of actions that are (or should be) taken to address
environmental injustices, therefore, need to take into account these dif-
ferences (historical, biophysical, socio-cultural, economic, political, and
In the following chapters of this book, we advocate for thinking about
IEJ in intergenerational, pluralistic, and relational terms, which extends
to include the material and metaphysical and does not institute strict
divisions between humans and more-than-human actors, between land
and water, or between past, present, and future generations. We argue
and demonstrate how Ngāti Maniapoto environmental injustices were
and are not extraordinary one-o events (a ood) or singular causes (a
polluting factory) rather injustices build up over time. In this book,
therefore, we explore how Māori challenges to settler-colonial governance
and management of the Waipā River, along with other river systems in
Aotearoa, are examples of Māori iwi and hapū rangatiratanga (chiey
authority) and their cultural continuance, despite their ongoing experi-
ences of settler colonialism (invasion, dispossession, socio-economic and
political marginalisation, attempts at cultural assimilation). e existing
scholarship on IEJ indicates that the sophisticated practices of historical
colonialism and political economy are evidence of indigenous communi-
ties’ around the globes ongoing struggles to maintain and re-assert their
rights of self-determination. In this book, we argue, that it is not just a
struggle over self-determination and the political economy but also a
conict between contrasting worldviews (or ways of thinking about the
world—ontologies) and practices (ways of acting in the world—episte-
mologies) between the Western liberal worldview (Pākehā/White New
Zealand) and Māori worldview, which were reected in how each group
conceptualised the nature of the problem, potential solutions, and
2 Environmental Justice and Indigenous Environmental Justice
on- the- ground actions. Furthermore, we demonstrate how, even when
government policies were designed (on paper) to protect the environ-
ment and allow for Indigenous communities to participate in environ-
mental decision-making, the settler-colonial governments often applied
their policies in a way that encouraged environmental degradation and
limited community participation and, in doing so, exacerbated Indigenous
environmental injustices. e EJ framework, at present, does not su-
ciently take into account the inuence of settler colonialism on Indigenous
peoples and recognise that settler-colonial rule exacerbates and/or causes
environmental injustices for Indigenous peoples. Accordingly, we draw
on decolonial theory to consider how theorising about IEJ can move
beyond the western liberal EJ dogma to Indigenous ontologies and epis-
temologies (Álvarez and Coolsaet 2018; Barker and Pickerill 2019;
Blaney and Tickner 2017; Davis and Todd 2017; Pulido and De Lara
2018; Rose 2004; Smith 1999). Whereas, the dominant framing of EJ (as
a movement and body of scholarship) focuses on the human-to-human
interactions with the environment as the background, IEJ, as we articu-
late throughout the rest of this book (from the perspective of three femi-
nist Māori/Pākehā/Other hybrids from Aotearoa), includes the
interactions between humans and more-than-humans (nonhumans) on a
spiritual, cultural, and temporal level.
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... Instead, the Foundation's power to influence governing norms and institutions is an indirect means of steering that involved filling monetary gaps that mobilized and galvanized other local governance actors and networks, a process sometimes referred to as "orchestration" (Abbott et al., 2016). Other environmental governance literatures on field-building (Bartley, 2007;Phillips, 2018), agency (Betsill & Milkoreit, 2020), meta-governance (Hooge et al., 2021), polycentricity (Carlisle & Gruby, 2019a) and environmental justice (Bennett, 2018;Bennett et al., 2021;Parsons et al., 2021) are ripe for engaging important questions of rights, sovereignty, and power in conservation philanthropy. ...
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Environmental governance scholars have overlooked philanthropic foundations as influential non‐state actors. This omission, along with the continued growth in funding from private foundations for conservation issues, presents important questions about what foundations do in governance spaces. To address this gap, we examine The David and Lucile Packard Foundation's involvement in Fiji and Palau in the context of the Foundation's “Western Pacific Program”—a series of coastal and marine‐related investments made from 1998 to 2020. We describe and analyze six governance roles that the Packard Foundation contributed to: funding, influencing agendas, capacity‐building, convening and coordinating, facilitating knowledge, and rule‐making and regulation. In documenting the Packard Foundation's governance roles, we provide scholars and practitioners a conceptual framework to more systematically and strategically think about foundations as more than funders. This research helps move the conversation around conservation philanthropy beyond binary conceptions of “good” versus “bad,” and, instead, toward deeper considerations about what foundations currently do within governance systems, how they engage with diverse practitioners, as well as what they can and should do to advance conservation goals.
... Concerns with the 'construction' of nature (Castree, 1995), environmental justice (e.g. Parsons et al., 2021), nature-society relations, and pressures to do impactful research have all butted up against physical geography's scientism with an ever-increasing urgency. Whatmore and Landström's (2011) work on the socio-technical construction of flooding is a case in point. ...
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This paper aims to foster an explicit geoethical orientation in physical geography. Using examples from Aotearoa New Zealand, we approach the work of physical geography with a set of ethical coordinates derived from our research, arguing that they allow for greater sensitivity in considering what is more-than-human in our research relationships. Working with these ethical coordinates lays the political groundwork for thinking and doing physical geography differently in the pursuit of less exploitative social and ecological relations. Our proposition offers new potentials for the practice of geography more generally: opportunities for enactive research encounters, those that perform generative change for a decolonised, post-productivist, physical geography.
The idea of consent is central to the modern social imaginary. As an ethical norm, it mediates diverse interactions between individuals, groups, and organizations. It is also central to influential theories of political legitimacy, in particular the ideal of representative democracy as founded on “the consent of the governed.” Consequently, the effective exercise of consent is important for social cohesion and, therefore, resilience to shocks. Climate change is not only a source of such shocks, but it also poses challenges to the exercise of consent. The transition to a climate-resilient, low-emissions economy will be disruptive due to the scale and urgency of change required. In a society where consent has normative preeminence, the transition will inevitably produce disputes over whether consent is required by affected parties or has genuinely been given. This chapter explores the idea of consent and how it already interacts with projects and activities that both contribute to climate change and to climate mitigation and adaptation. It focuses on four applications of consent: (1) the principle of free, prior and informed consent in international human rights; (2) the government authorization of permits and consents; (3) the social license to operate for businesses; and (4) the procedures and mechanisms in democratic systems that give effect to the will of the people. Finally, it examines trends that seek to bypass consent, such as the rise of technocratic governance and calls for climate emergency declarations, and trends that seek to secure consent, especially the idea of just transitions.
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Attaining sustainable resource management encompasses multilevel challenges and interdisciplinary approaches from grassroots efforts to international agreements. In the context of coastal and marine management, the complexities represented by the variety of local entities, regimes, and institutional supports are captured as current challenges in sustainability efforts. Such challenges, unfortunately, persist in the group of customary communities such as those of the Bajau, who live in coastal and marine areas. In an effort to address the aforementioned challenges, this research proposes a model for integrating the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the Bajau into Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) scheme in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi. A qualitative approach involving multi-sited ethnography and interviews was employed in this study. TEK as a concept is drawn upon to strengthen the local practices for sustainable resource use and therefore develop policy recommendations. However, in the case of Bajau communities, the dimensions of the TEK encompass conservation practices, ethno-fisheries, cultural beliefs, customary laws, weather and cultural astronomy, and adaptive management. The manifestation of the TEK needs to add the term 'exchange knowledge' due to the history and nature of former nomadic groups that interacted and exchanged knowledge and goods with other groups with whom they were in contact. Intercultural relations between the Bajau and dominant customary groups in Wakatobi position the Bajau as migrants and second-class people, both socio-culturally and in the context of various conservation activities. The co-management programs that involve the Bajau do not seem to consider the basic needs and practices of this group in current sustainable resource management. This situation indirectly contributes to the marginalization and growing development threats for the Bajau in Wakatobi. In addition, the complexities in the realm of contemporary Bajau society are not adequately considered in Wakatobi's development priority programs. The culturally inclusive projects and LMMA model do not engage Bajau communities, even though this group is pivotal in nurturing marine ecology in alignment with multiple TEK practices and a maritime culture orientation. In brief, the output model of this research examines the various terms to disentangle the challenges in cultural identity, intellectual property and rights, capacity building, livelihood diversification, and communal space in the Bajau communities in Wakatobi. In advance of making recommendations to implement the model, this research explored key attributes related to Bajau customary institutions, local government, and Wakatobi National Park.
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This chapter draws on feminist political ecology and intersectionality approaches to examine efforts to address climate and gender injustices in the Philippines. Existing scholarship often depicts women in the Global South as the most vulnerable to climate change because of social norms and greater poverty; however, this feminisation of vulnerability, we demonstrate, does little to enable intersectional approaches that address the gender inequalities, patterns of socioeconomic marginalisation, and power relations. Instead, we highlight, through our examination of Filipino women's involvement in climate adaptation strategies, the importance of adopting a nuanced understanding of vulnerability to facilitate sustainable climate adaptation. Although the Filipino government and development agencies have adopted measures designed to enhance gender
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Visual practices of representing fossil fuel projects are entangled in diverse values and relations that often go underexplored. In Canada, visual media campaigns to aggressively push forward the fossil fuel industry not only relegate to obscurity indigenous values but mask evidence on health impacts as well as the aspirations of those most affected, including indigenous communities whose food sovereignty and stewardship relationship to the land continues to be affronted by oil pipeline expansion. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, based at the terminal of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada, has been at the forefront of struggles against the pipeline expansion. Contributing to geographical, environmental studies, and public health research grappling with the performativity of images, this article explores stories conveying health, environmental, and intergenerational justice concerns on indigenous territory. Adapting photovoice techniques, elders and youth illustrated how the environment has changed over time; impacts on sovereignty—both food sovereignty and more broadly; concepts of health, well-being and deep cultural connection with water; and visions for future relationships. We explore the importance of an intergenerational lens of connectedness to nature and sustainability, discussing visual storytelling not just as visual counter-narrative (to neocolonial extractivism) but also as an invitation into fundamentally different ways of seeing and interacting.
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A distinct formulation of Indigenous environmental justice (IEJ) is required in order to address the challenges of the ecological crisis as well the various forms of violence and injustices experienced specifically by Indigenous peoples. A distinct IEJ formulation must ground its foundations in Indigenous philosophies, ontologies, and epistemologies in order to reflect Indigenous conceptions of what constitutes justice. This approach calls into question the legitimacy and applicability of global and nationstate political and legal mechanisms, as these same states and international governing bodies continue to fail Indigenous peoples around the world. Not only do current global, national and local systems of governance and law fail Indigenous peoples, they fail all life. Indigenous peoples over the decades have presented a distinct diagnosis of the planetary ecological crisis evidenced in the observations shared as part of Indigenous environmental declarations.
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It may be too late to achieve environmental justice for some indigenous peoples, and other groups, in terms of avoiding dangerous climate change. People in the indigenous climate justice movement agree resolutely on the urgency of action to stop dangerous climate change. However, the qualities of relationships connecting indigenous peoples with other societies' governments, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations are not conducive to coordinated action that would avoid further injustice against indigenous peoples in the process of responding to climate change. The required qualities include, among others, consent, trust, accountability, and reciprocity. Indigenous traditions of climate change view the very topic of climate change as connected to these qualities, which are sometimes referred to as kin relationships. The entwinement of colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization failed to affirm or establish these qualities or kinship relationships across societies. While qualities like consent or reciprocity may be critical for taking coordinated action urgently and justly, they require a long time to establish or repair. A relational tipping point, in a certain respect, has already been crossed, before the ecological tipping point. The time it takes to address the passage of this relational tipping point may be too slow to generate the coordinated action to halt certain dangers related to climate change. While no possibilities for better futures should be left unconsidered, it's critical to center environmental justice in any analysis of whether it's too late to stop dangerous climate change. This article is categorized under: • Climate, Nature, and Ethics > Climate Change and Global Justice
Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition is an interdisciplinary of work of critically engaged political theory that traverses the fields of political science and Indigenous studies. The arguments developed in the book draw critically from both Western and Indigenous traditions of political thought and action to intervene into contemporary debates about settler-colonization and Indigenous self-discrimination in Canada. The book challenges the now commonplace assumption that the colonial relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state can be “reconciled” via such a politics of recognition. It also explores glimpses of an alternative Indigenous politics. Drawing critically from Indigenous and non-Indigenous intellectual and activist traditions, the book explores a resurgent Indigenous politics that is less orientated around attaining an affirmative form of recognition and institutional accommodation by the colonial state and society, and more about critically revaluing, reconstructing and redeploying Indigenous cultural practices in ways that seek to prefigure radical alternative to the social relationships that continue to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands and self-determining authority.
Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are largely Latinx men, women, and children. They work in crop, dairy, and livestock production, and are essential to the U.S. agricultural economy—one of the most hazardous and least regulated industries in the United States. Latinx migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the eastern United States experience high rates of illness, injury, and death, indicating widespread occupational injustice. This second edition takes a social justice stance and integrates the past ten years of research and intervention to address health, safety, and justice issues for farmworkers. Contributors cover all major areas of health and safety research for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families, explore the factors that affect the health and safety of farmworkers and their families, and suggest approaches for further research and educational and policy intervention needed to improve the health and safety of Latinx farmworkers and their families. Among the chapter topics are: • Occupational injury and illness in Latinx farmworkers in the eastern United States • Mental health among Latinx farmworkers in the eastern United States • The health of women farmworkers and women in farmworker families in the eastern United States • The health of children in the Latinx farmworker community in the eastern United States • Community-based participatory research with Latinx farmworker communities in the eastern United States • Farm labor and the struggle for justice in the eastern United States Accessibly written and comprehensive in its scope, this second edition of Latinx Farmworkers in the Eastern United States: Health, Safety, and Justice will find an engaged audience among researchers, students, and practitioners in public health, occupational health, public policy, and social and behavioral sciences, as well as labor advocates and healthcare providers.
The restoration plan for the American chestnut tree includes the potential wild release of a genetically engineered tree in close proximity to the sovereign Haudenosaunee communities of Central and Upstate New York. As such, inclusive deliberative frameworks are needed to consider the implications for these communities. Indigenous environmental justice highlights the importance of recognizing tribal sovereignty and Indigenous worldviews as foundational to more just environmental governance. This paper examines how the case of genetically engineered American chestnut tree highlights the importance of recognizing tribal sovereignty and Indigenous worldviews in considering a GE organism for species restoration.