Faces of Environmental Racism: Confronting Issues of Global Justice

Westra, Laura, and Bill E. Lawson, eds. | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Faces of Environmental Racism. Cover.

Westra, Laura, and Bill E. Lawson, eds. Faces of Environmental Racism: Confronting Issues of Global Justice. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

What happens (and what should be done) when only certain members of the human population bear the brunt of negative environmental impacts? Environmental racism is widespread and the central thesis of Laura Westra and Bill Lawson’s edited collection centers on the legal, political, economic, social, and health issues surrounding its impact. The collection consists of three sections: “Foundations” (Part 1), “Racism in North America” (Part 2), and “Racism in Africa” (Part 3). The authors state that the collection has been brought about to fill a void in the literature of environmental ethics. They have accomplished their goals by producing a collection that is an excellent intellectual wellspring on the subject for both environmental ethicists and environmental historians (since very little literature exists on this topic in the field of environmental history). Critical of the environmental ethics field, the editors state that literature has often excluded the human dimension in the environmental discourse. This, they assert, is directly tied to the fact that the field of environmental ethics has a tendency to reflect the concerns and issues identified by environmentalism which is “focused rather narrowly on the protection of natural systems and species—on the nonhuman world.” (Text adapted from an H-Net review by Sylvia H. Washington.)