Backyard Talk

World Wide Environmental Justice Map

A terrific new resource is available to identify environmental justice (EJ) communities worldwide. The Environmental Justice Organizations, Liability, and Trade (EJOLT) has developed a worldwide interactive EJ Atlas. In an article published recently in the Guardian of London, an interactive map was published that you can click on a button and read the story about the struggle of local grassroots community based groups to address toxics waste sites, oil refineries, deforestation and much, much more.

According to the Guardian, “the EJ Atlas aims to make ecological conflicts more visible and to highlight the structural impacts of economic activities on the most vulnerable populations. It serves as a reference for scientists, journalists, teachers and a virtual space for information, networking and knowledge sharing among activists, communities and concerned citizens.”

The article goes on to say that the atlas was inspired by the work of participating Environmental Justice organizations including the World Rainforest Movement, Oilwatch International, OCMAL, the Latin American Observatory of Mining Conflicts, whose work fighting and supporting impacted communities for over 20 years has helped articulate a global movement for environmental justice. The atlas is a project of Ejolt, a European supported research project that brings together 23 organizations to catalogue and analyze ecological conflicts. The stories were entered by collaborating activists and researchers and moderated by a team at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

“Beyond stories of disaster and degradation, the struggles documented in the atlas highlight how impacted communities are not helpless victims. These are not only defensive and reactionary battles but proactive struggles for common land, for energy and food sovereignty, for Buen Vivir, indigenous ways of life and for justice. The environment is increasingly a conduit for frustrations over the shape of capitalist development. Tracking these spaces of ecological resistance through the Environmental Justice Atlas highlights both the urgency and the potential of these movements to trigger broader transcendental movements that can confront asymmetrical power relations and move towards truly sustainable economic systems.”

Last year the U.S. portion of the Atlas went live and included the 40 most influential environmental justice cases in U.S. history as identified from a national survey of environmental justice activists, scholars, and other leaders. The survey and mapping effort were led by professors Paul Mohai and Rebecca Hardin and a group at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Below are links to the article and the Atlas, including a link that takes you directly to the U.S. portion.

Mapping the Global Battle to Protect Our Planet

Map of Environmental Justice Conflicts in the U.S.

Map of Environmental Justice Conflicts Worldwide