Thursday, December 7, 2006

Who Owns Environmental Justice?

Many people all over America and throughout the world work on environmental justice issues. Does the environmental justice movement (very quiet lately at the national level) seek to mimic the traditional, mainstream environmental movement's claim to ownership of environmental issues and stake out a claim on total ownership of environmental injustice issues? If so, is this a good thing or a bad move? Some have postulated that "environmentalism is dead." That is not true but the mainstream environmental movement seems to be stuck in the mud of the 20th Century and is one of the most segregated sectors in American society.

So who owns the environmental justice movement? Does anyone own environmental justice? Is there a president? A dictator? A committee? An oligarchy? A board? Divinely anointed? What is the role of the federal government? What about state and local governments? The mainstream environmental movement has the Green Group and periodically 'The Group of 10 or 12 or whatever.' Are such designations needed? Are they efficient? Are they effective? Is something better than nothing? Is a structure needed or can individuals and groups simply implement meetings and activities as best they can? Is a League of Environmental Justice Voters needed? It is probably some of all of the above. The conference will surely examine some of these questions.

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