The Emergence of Environmental Justice in Literature Essay

The Emergence of Environmental Justice in Literature Essay

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Over the past few decades we have seen a gradual increase in the number of writers writing about issues related to environmental concerns. So far poets, fiction writers and nature writers from different communities were either ignored or misread when they tried to raise their voice for environmental justice concerns. All that is changing now as we see an increasing number of writers exploring issues related to environmental racism and environmental justice through their works.
According to Adamson, these authors, who are now gaining popularity among the ecocritics and environmentalists, require a different kind of reading than established ecocriticism. The term Adamson uses to describe this difference is Environmental Justice. The term justice helps the environmental justice activists in distinguishing themselves from the white, middle class environmental organizations, and also to establish a connection between social justice issues like race, gender, class, etc. and environmental problems (Tarter 60). In Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment (2011), Deloughrey and Handley raise the question as to why the environmental concerns are often considered as distinct from postcolonial ones (14). Similarities can be seen between them as both are based on the concept of ‘othering’. While post-colonialism tends to be people-centred, ecocriticism is nature-centred in its orientation. Although environmental justice is central to ecocriticism but the method of practicing it is still not well established.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Environmental Justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the d...


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... in Silko’s “Almanac of the Dead.” MELUS 34.2 (2009): 25-42. JSTOR. Web. 17 Aug. 2013.
Sinha, Indra. Animal’s People. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd., 2007. Print.
Tarter, Jim. Rev. of American Indian Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism: The Middle Place, by Joni Adamson. Studies in American Indian Literatures 14.2/3 (2002): 59-63. Print.
U. S Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental Justice. Web. 7 March 2014.
Verchick, R.M. Robert. “Feminist Theory and Environmental Justice.” New Perspectives on Environmental Justice:Gender, Sexuality, and Activism. Ed. Rachel Stein. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2004. Print.
Vital, Anthony. “Situating Ecology in Recent South African Fiction: J.M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals and Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness.” Journal of Southern African Studies 31.2 (2005): 297-313. Print.


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