From global politics to local land users: applying the UNCCD in Swaziland (L.C. Stringer, David S.G. Thomas, Chasca Twyman)

Author(s)

Lindsay C. Stringer (University of Manchester, UK)

David. S.G. Thomas (Oxford University Centre for the Environment, UK)

Chasca Twyman (University of Sheffield, UK)

Keywords

Swaziland , land degradation, policy, UNCCD, power, participation

Abstract

This paper explores the relevance of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its related National Action Programmes (NAPs) to people affected by land degradation and change in Swaziland. Household data collected from three chiefdoms are examined, together with policy analyses and information from interviews with policymakers and NGO representatives, as the barriers that inhibit successful implementation of the UNCCD at the national level are explored. We demonstrate how the issues addressed by Swaziland’s NAP do not always match the environmental challenges that most threaten the sustainability of rural livelihoods, despite the ‘participatory’ and ‘consultative’ approach taken in developing the policy. This is because the more powerful members of society restricted the public’s access to policy space. We argue that local involvement in environmental policy and decision-making as prescribed from the international political arena is insufficient to ensure empowerment and democracy in dealing with land degradation in national and local contexts, particularly within highly centralized political systems. Although the UNCCD represents a useful global framework in which to situate local anti-degradation initiatives, in centralized political systems, its success depends upon changes being made to the ethos of national facilitating organizations. Only when the power balance is challenged and greater moves are made towards decentralization will local land users be able to assume a meaningful role in combating desertification.

Citation

(2007) 173 Geographical Journal 129-142

Paper

From global politics to local land users: applying the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Swaziland

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US border wall: breaching civil liberties and minority rights (Z. Akhtar)

Author

Zia Akhtar

Keywords

Border controls; Constitutional rights; Environmental protection; Human rights; Immigration policy; Indigenous peoples; International law; Mexico; United States

Abstract

Examines the implications of the wall and other security measures at the US-Mexico border for: (1) immigrant human rights; (2) US relations with Indian tribes; (3) US compliance with international refugee law; and (4) environmental protection.

Citation

(2010) 15(2) Coventry Law Journal 19-33

Paper

US border wall: breaching civil liberties and minority rights

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Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor (S. Lerner)

Author

Steve Lerner

Keywords

Environmental justice, civil rights, chemical toxins, corporate accountability

Abstract

Issues of environmental justice and civil rights come to the fore in this fine account of a Louisiana community’s battle with its petrochemical company neighbors. Drawing heavily on interviews with residents and local activists, Lerner (Eco-Pioneers) chronicles how the people of Diamond, an African-American subdivision sandwiched between a Shell chemical plant and a Motiva oil refinery in the town of Norco, lobbied Shell (which also owns Motiva) to pay for their relocation after decades of exposure to the plants’ toxic emissions. Led by Margie Richards and her Concerned Citizens of Norco, Diamond residents argued that the Shell plants’ pollution caused a variety of problems, including kidney and nervous-system damage and lung cancer, while their white neighbors, who lived further from the plants’ shadow, tended to dismiss such claims. Lerner charts the growth of a grassroots, community drive to get Shell to recognize its impact on Diamond, the movement’s expansion to encompass assistance from national organizations such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and its ultimate success in convincing Shell to pay for the relocation of many Diamond residents (though Shell did so without acknowledging that its plants caused health problems). Lerner does an excellent job of explaining concisely both the scientific and the legal issues involved, never slowing down or oversimplifying a compelling and complicated story.

Citation

Steve Lerner, Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor (MIT Press, USA 2005)

Book

Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana ’s Chemical Corridor

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Power, Justice, and the Environment (D. Naguib and R.J Brulle)

Editor

David Naguib ( University of Minnesota )
Robert J. Brulle ( Drexel University )

Keywords

Environmental justice, power, civil rights movement, activists, environmentalists, academics, food and justice, healthy communities, autonomy, equity, legal system, governance, United States, South Africa, economic justice, sustainability, future

Abstract

For almost 30 years, the environmental justice movement (EJM) has challenged the environmental and health inequities that are often linked with social inequities, calling attention to the disproportionate burden of pollution borne by low-income and minority communities. The successes of the movement have been celebrated, and the EJM’s impact on the direction of environmental policy, research, and activism is widely acknowledged. But the literature on environmental justice lacks a real assessment of the movement’s effectiveness. This book provides just such a critical appraisal, examining the EJM’s tactics, strategies, rhetoric, organizational structure, and resource base. With chapters by both scholars and activists, the book links theory and practice with the aim of contributing to a more effective movement.

Power, Justice, and the Environment looks first at the progress, failures, and successes of the EJM over the years. A comparison with the Civil Rights movement draws some provocative conclusions.The book next focuses on the development of new strategies and cultural perspectives, considering, among other topics, alternative models for community mobilization and alternative organizational structure. Finally, the book examines the effect of globalization on environmental inequality and how the EJM can address transnational environmental injustices.

Citation

David Naguib and Robert J. Brulle (eds), Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (MIT Press, USA 2005)

Book

Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement

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