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The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution [Paperback]

Robert D. Bullard , Maxine Waters
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 2005 1578051207 978-1578051205 1
This much anticipated follow-up to Dr. Robert D. Bullard’s highly acclaimed Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color captures the voices of frontline warriors who are battling environmental injustice and human rights abuses at the grassroots level around the world, and challenging government and industry. policies and globalization trends that place people of color and the poor at special risk.
Part I presents an overview of the early environmental justice movement and highlights key leadership roles assumed by women activists. Part II examines the lives of people living in “sacrifice zones”—toxic corridors (such as Louisiana’s infamous “Cancer Alley”) where high concentrations of polluting industries are found. Part III explores land use, land rights, resource extraction, and sustainable development conflicts, including Chicano struggles in America’s Southwest. Part IV examines human rights and global justice issues, including an analysis of South Africa’s legacy of environmental racism and the corruption and continuing violence plaguing the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Together, the diverse contributors to this much-anticipated follow-up anthology present an inspiring and illuminating picture of the environmental justice movement in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bullard offers a disturbing account of the environmental and human cost of the excesses of capitalism in this follow-up to Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color. This volume takes a fresh look at the often unequal distribution of environmental hazards to poor and minority communities, examining locations from Louisiana's "Cancer Alley" to Nigeria. In part one, women activists detail their gutsy battles against the combined power of business and government when their minority neighborhoods were threatened by industrial pollution. Part two tells the stories of people (again, mostly minorities and the poor) living in "sacrifice zones," such as Cancer Alley—the stretch down the Mississippi River in Louisiana where "approximately 80 percent of the total African American community in the nine parishes lives within three miles of a polluting facility." Parts three and four examine Chicano struggles in the Southwest and global justice issues, including "corrupt... petro-capitalism" in Nigeria, where deep poverty persists despite the country's oil wealth. Readers can learn much about those who pay the costs in safety and health for many of modern life's conveniences. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"A refreshing and timely overview of contemporary environmental justice struggles and the fight against environmental racism around the nation and indeed the world."--Congresswoman Maxine Waters

"Robert Bullard and his colleagues have made a crucial link between the global movement for environmental justice and the international human rights movement. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this work for the millions of people across the planet who are struggling against both environmental injustices and human rights abuses. The contributors to this volume present a powerful framework for moving forward to a state of the world that is socially just and ecologically sustainable."--David Naguib Pellow, author of Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago

"Robert Bullard, whose scholarship created a whole field of study, continues to expand on our understanding of the environmental justice movement. In The Quest for Environmental Justice, Dr. Bullard has assembled a group of experts dedicated to eradicating the injustices suffered by people of color, indigenous peoples, and the poor. This volume presents more than 'the empirical evidence'; its focus is on the day-to-day struggles of those engaged in the environmental justice movement. It demonstrates our hopes and victories, our frustrations and defeats, our commitment to basic human rights and social justice."--David E. Camacho, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and editor of Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles: Race, Class, and the Environment

"Bob Bullard has done it again: this latest compilation is a fresh, critical approach to the environmental justice field, reflecting the maturation of the movement and its scholars. It breaks new ground by seamlessly weaving in international environmental justice perspectives, with discussions of Columbia, the Philippines, and Nigeria as well as dozens of communities across the United States. Beyond being a compelling read--which it is--it is also a crucial reference work that collects key environmental justice data that will be useful for years to come. If you read one book on environmental justice this year, this is the one to read."--Luke Cole, Director, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578051207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578051205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empowering January 28, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Quest for Environmental Justice" by Robert D. Bullard (editor) is an excellent primer about the environmental justice ('E.J.') movement. Blending U.S. environmental and social justice activists together in the late 1970s, the E.J. movement has grown to become a significant multinational political force. The numerous authors who have contributed to this volume explore the movement's rich history and chronicle many of the noteworthy struggles that have improved the lives of many people and can provide inspiration and hope to us all.

The introductory chapters include a Foreword by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who played an important role in a campaign that successfully relocated the largely African-American community of Norco, LA away from a highly polluting oil refinery; a Preface by Peggy Morrow Shepard, who believes that the E.J. movement is key to reinvigorating the mainstream environmental organizations; and an Introduction by Mr. Bullard, who recounts how some of the core principles of the E.J. movement were institutionalized at the EPA during the Clinton adminsitration.

The book is divided into four sections.

The first section, "A Legacy of Injustice" discusses the history of the E.J. movement. "Environmental Justice in ther Twenty-first Century" by Mr. Bullard compares and contrasts the Summit I and Summit II meetings to discuss both the growth of the movement and how its organizational tactics and principles have developed over time. "Neighborhoods 'Zoned' for Garbage" by Mr. Bullard drills into the author's personal experiences fighting zoning decisions in Houston, TX that first brought the fledgling E.J. movement to prominence. "Women Warriers of Color on the Front Line" by Mr.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Case Studies Not a Profound Analysis January 30, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Quest for Environmental Justice is an interesting collection of essays that highlight several case studies of activism with a predominant USA angle to them. Edited under the supervision of Dr. Bullard the book falls short of offering a strong underpinning to the environmental justice thinking and challenges, to instead concentrate on examples of abuses, and community actions.

Additional debate and analysis around the challenges facing environmental justice, and social equity, and the different currents of policy affecting it would have made a more interesting collection. The book feels like an addendum to other volumes by Bullard that are far more focused. Here after a generic if solvent highlight of where environmental justice is at as a movement, he jumps to stress the importance of it for color communities, which while an essential part of the issue, feels somewhat unestructure as if one were working on the assumption that the preceding work of Bullard is know by the reader, and leaving a hint of excluding flavor when one takes a global perspective.

It is true that the work around environmental justice and African American communities in the USA is probably the most important contributions of Bullard, but here it feels like a drag for a volume that would have seem to aspire embracing other communities and a broader outlook. Fortunately some of the contributions explore case studies affecting other communities and a couple venture to narrate struggles outside the USA. A few of those essays do offer a very insightful analysis of environmental justice challenges and there resides the strenght of the volume. However, for a broader, more comprehensive an incisive work on environmental justice, instead of a collection of case studies one would need to go elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Info. November 24, 2013
By Gcorona
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very informative. The book teaches the material in a manner that can be understood effectively. I learned a lot of important factors about environmental injustices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting read... July 17, 2012
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I originally just bought this book since I needed it for this one class i was taking. I ended up liking this book. Really opened my eyes to many injustices that happen in the city. This is true especially to minorities. To all those active in the civil rights movement, this should be part of the collection.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Intentions January 30, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bullard, et al. have good intentions in that they want to correct environmental injustice and racism. However, sometimes they are too quick to call racism or get bogged down in statistics. My favorite chapter was the one on the Vieques people of Puerto Rico. If anything, I learned a lot about world politics.
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