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Environmental justice movement

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Framing environmental justice: The background of an uprising movement.
  3. Bringing into focus environmental inequalities: The concept of 'peripheralisation'.
  4. Conclusion.

Broadcasted in 2000, Erin Brockovich could be a great illustration of the "environmental justice movement". Indeed, while no one takes her seriously, a young woman begins to investigate a suspicious case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. She discovers that the company is trying quietly to buy land that was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste that the company is improperly and illegally dumping and, in turn, poisoning the residents in the area. As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading point in a series of events that would get her involved in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation. The environmental justice movement has emerged over the last two decades as a result of increased awareness of the disproportionately high impacts of environmental pollution on economically and politically disadvantaged communities. It was the product of the intersection between the civil rights and environmental movements. The movement brought together issues of social, economic, and political marginalization of minorities and low-income communities, and concerns over pollution hazards in neighbourhoods and in the workplace.

[...] Then, we observe an environmental racism that is triggered off by those characteristics. The consequence is that these marginal areas may bear a disproportionate share of the burden of environmental degradation or risk resulting from industrial processes. Furthermore, they depends on their neighbor regions that have the capacities to resist LULU's. Indeed, according to Blowers and Leroy, process of peripheralisation reflects material self interest both on the part of those communities anxious to avoid the blight created by hazardous activities and those who have little option but to accept risk in return for economic benefits?. [...]

[...] Indeed, Capek is trying to conceptually clarify the emergent environmental justice frame as a claims-making activity that contains specific rededications and then, the connection between this background and the process of mobilizing for change. Actually, resource mobilisation theory and power and conflicts dynamics help us understand the difficulties to construct and to diffuse environmental justice. As the movement is much more political and social than scientific (due to the lack of access to real statistics), the traditional social movement repertoire that rested on effective symbolic framing is still effective in those cases. [...]

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