Matching Items (33)

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An Evaluation of the Inclusivity of the Conservation Biology and Ecology Concentration at Arizona State University

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The mainstream American environmental movement has a reputation for being ethnically homogenous (i.e., white), especially within the field of conservation. Low minority involvement has been noted and discussed in the

The mainstream American environmental movement has a reputation for being ethnically homogenous (i.e., white), especially within the field of conservation. Low minority involvement has been noted and discussed in the conservation literature and within environmental organizations, but these discussions aren't always informed by the explicit social justice concerns critical to understanding the complex intersection of environmental and social issues. Communities of color have expressed concern for environmental and conservation issues, but often frame those issues in a different way than is common in mainstream conservation science, a framing that we can appreciate through a deeper analysis of the values and goals of the environmental justice (EJ) movement. A more thorough inclusion of EJ principles could be an effective method to increase ethnic diversity in the field of conservation, particularly within higher education conservation programs like the Conservation Biology and Ecology (CBE) concentration at Arizona State University. This thesis frames the broader challenge of diversity in conservation, the history and current state of the conservation movement, and the history of the environmental justice movement via a literature review. I then evaluate the university's CBE program on the basis of its diversity through an analysis of demographic data on undergraduate ethnicity from the School of Life Sciences. I conclude with a series of recommendations for enhancing the diversity of ASU's CBE program moving forward.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Social Exclusion from Public Green Spaces: Dimensions of Sociolegal Barriers to Urban Park Access

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of various sociolegal practices of urban public park management on the populace that can access a public park. The theories

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of various sociolegal practices of urban public park management on the populace that can access a public park. The theories of environmental justice, critiques of distribution theory, Henri Lefebvre's right to the city, and sustainability are used as justification for this analysis: environmental justice considers the social implications of environmental benefits and burdens; critiques of distribution theory reveal the need to look beyond siting and proximity in environmental justice studies of urban parks; Henri Lefebvre's right to the city espouses the right of citizens to inhabit urban areas; and sustainability requires the balance of environmental, economic, and social factors in urban development. Applying these theories to urban parks reveals sociolegal factors that may inhibit public park use by a diverse public, namely environmental gentrification, park ownership, city ordinances, and physical layout. Each of these create barriers to park use by low-income, minority residents; even those that may live in close proximity to the park. These barriers violate environmental justice, right to the city, and sustainability principles in different ways but create two main problems: displacement and policing of vulnerable populations. This paper concludes with policy recommendations to alleviate the problems posed by these barriers.

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Date Created
  • 2017-12

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National Parks: Preserving the American Concept of Wilderness

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In “The Trouble of Wilderness,” William Cronon (1995) states the concept of wilderness, historically, is based on the romanticized ideal of the “untamed” frontier that influenced the American expansion ideals

In “The Trouble of Wilderness,” William Cronon (1995) states the concept of wilderness, historically, is based on the romanticized ideal of the “untamed” frontier that influenced the American expansion ideals in the late 1800s and early 1900s, including the initial conservation movement. This idea of wilderness is defined by “empty” lands that needed to be utilized by the civilized Anglo-Americans, or lands that needed to be preserved from human alterations. Wilderness was separate from humans and, therefore, was also thought to be land that had been unaltered by human touch. The disappearing frontier was being turned into farmlands and civilization, so the Anglo-Americans, the ones who culturally viewed undeveloped land as a place for recreation, wished to save the ‘wilderness’ that was not yet being used. But as will be discussed it was in fact being used just not by the Anglo-Americans. This wilderness that they were trying to preserve became the national parks, such as Yellowstone and Yosemite. Under this rationale, Indigenous peoples were forced off the land to create the illusion of these places fitting this romanticized idea of wilderness. This essay examines the national parks in context of this concept of wilderness being free from humans and how national parks rationalized the removal of Indigenous people from these “wild” lands by using this concept of wilderness. Specifically, it uses the history of Yellowstone and Yosemite parks, which are some of the first parks to enter the National Park System, as sites of understanding how the idea wilderness was conceptualized by the American government during the late 1800s as places that are separate from humans. This essay argues that these ideals are based on racist and xenophobic approaches that the early United States government used in regards to relationships with Indigenous people. To discuss these ideas, this paper will examine the language used in early government documents regarding the policies of the national parks along with art and writings from this time period to show how the public and government viewed these national parks and the Indigenous people in the surrounding areas. Particularly, this paper will consider the original documents that established the national parks and the language that was used in these documents. It will then compare these policies from the origins of the national parks to the policies in place now regarding Indigenous people, such as the reparations that are trying to be made in these areas.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Media Witnessing for Environmental Justice

Description

Media witnessing and storytelling for environmental justice (EJ) provide an avenue to understand the relationships between “multiple realities of environmental injury” and to analyze “fleeting phenomena with lasting form; thereby

Media witnessing and storytelling for environmental justice (EJ) provide an avenue to understand the relationships between “multiple realities of environmental injury” and to analyze “fleeting phenomena with lasting form; thereby transforming phenomena that are experienced in a plurality of lives into publicly recognized history” (Houston, 2012, 419, 422). This creates opportunities to challenge and eradicate the oppressive structures that deem certain individuals and groups disposable and ultimately protect the possessive investment in whiteness. Therefore, for the purposes of EJ, media witnessing creates space for dynamic, citizen-based storytelling which can undermine narratives that promote the life versus economy framework that has perpetuated oppression, injustice, and state sanctioned violence. Media witnessing in an EJ context demonstrates the potential for collective understanding and action, political opportunities, and healing.<br/>This paper is an analysis of the process of media witnessing in regards to the Flint Water Crisis and the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and will apply an EJ lens to this phenomenon. It will discuss how media witnessing in response to these two crises can be used as a precedent for understanding and utilizing this framework and digital storytelling to address the crises of 2020, primarily the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. It will then examine how the intersectionality of race, gender, and age has implications for future media witnessing and storytelling in the context of EJ movements. Finally, it will explain how media witnessing can motivate holistic policymaking in the favor of EJ initiatives and the health and wellbeing of all Americans, as well as how such policymaking and initiatives must acknowledge the double-edged sword that is social media.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Environmental Justice Perspectives on Solid Waste Siting: A Case Study of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Landfills

Description

Waste generation in the U.S. has reached new heights, but the exploitation of Native American lands for waste disposal is nothing new. Many of the negative effects of massive waste

Waste generation in the U.S. has reached new heights, but the exploitation of Native American lands for waste disposal is nothing new. Many of the negative effects of massive waste production and toxic pollution, such as poor health outcomes and decreased property values, disproportionately burden impoverished, minority communities inside and outside the United States (Brulle and Pellow, 2006). Native American communities have long been exploited for their natural resources and land-use, but in recent decades Indian country has also become a common place to store nuclear, hazardous and municipal wastes. This project is a case study of a local Indian reservation, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and examined the socio-historical context of the landfill operations in terms of five principles of environmental justice. Each principle was defined and key moments from the SRPMIC's landfill history were discussed to demonstrate ways that the situation has improved, stayed the same or worsened with regard to the rights outlined in each principle. It was concluded that there needs to be an acknowledgement by involved municipalities and industries of the historical context that make the SRPMIC and other nearby Native American communities "ideal" contractors for waste management. Additionally, while the SRPMIC could currently benefit from looking into the principles of environmental justice as a guide to manage past and operating landfills, the Community will have a specific opportunity to revisit these issues under closer scrutiny during the closure of the Salt River Landfill in 2032 in order to ensure more environmentally just outcomes. Finally, it was concluded that scholarship at the intersection of environmental justice and Native American communities should continue because looking closer at the ways that local Native American communities are facing and resisting environmental injustice can serve to develop future models for other communities facing similar challenges to achieving environmental justice.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Governing Climate Change Adaptation Through Insurance: Complexity, Risk and Justice Concerns?

Description

Climate adaptation has not kept pace with climate impacts which has formed an adaptation gap. Increasingly insurance is viewed as a solution to close this gap. However, the efficacy and

Climate adaptation has not kept pace with climate impacts which has formed an adaptation gap. Increasingly insurance is viewed as a solution to close this gap. However, the efficacy and implications of using insurance in the climate adaptation space are not clear. Furthermore, past research has focused on specific actors or processes, not on the interactions and interconnections between the actors and the processes. I take a complex adaptive systems approach to map out how these dynamics are shaping adaptation and to interrogate what the insurance climate adaptation literature claims are the successes and pitfalls of insurance driving, enabling or being adaptation. From this interrogation it becomes apparent that insurance has enormous influence on its policy holders, builds telecoupling into local adaptation, and creates structures which support contradictory land use policies at the local level. Based on the influence insurance has on policy holders, I argue that insurance should be viewed as a form of governance. I synthesize insurance, governance and adaptation literature to examine exactly what governance tools insurance uses to exercise this influence and what the consequences may be. This research reveals that insurance may not be the exemplary adaptation approach the international community is hoping for. Using insurance, risk can be reduced without reducing vulnerability, and risk transfer can result in risk displacement which can reduce adaptation incentives, fuel maladaptation, or impose public burdens. Moreover, insurance requires certain information and legal relationships which can and often do structure that which is insured to the needs of insurance and shift authority away from governments to insurance companies or public-private partnerships. Each of these undermine the legitimacy of insurance-led local adaptation and contradict the stated social justice goals of international calls for insurance. Finally, I interrogate the potential justice concerns that emerged through an analysis of insurance as a form of adaptation governance. Using a multi-valent approach to justice I examine a suite of programs intended to support agricultural adaptation through insurance. This analysis demonstrates that although some programs clearly attempted to consider issues of justice, overall these existing programs raise distributional, procedural and recognition justice concerns.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Moderating power: municipal interbasin groundwater transfers in Arizona

Description

The act of moving water across basins is a recent phenomenon in Arizona water policy. This thesis creates a narrative arc for understanding the long-term issues that set precedents for

The act of moving water across basins is a recent phenomenon in Arizona water policy. This thesis creates a narrative arc for understanding the long-term issues that set precedents for interbasin water transportation and the immediate causes--namely the passage of the seminal Groundwater Management Act (GMA) in 1980--that motivated Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix to acquire rural farmlands in the mid-1980s with the intent of transporting the underlying groundwater back to their respective service areas in the immediate future. Residents of rural areas were active participants in not only the sales of these farmlands, but also in how municipalities would economically develop these properties in the years to come. Their role made these municipal "water farm" purchases function as exchanges. Fears about the impact of these properties and the water transportation they anticipated on communities-of-origin; the limited nature of economic, fiscal, and hydrologic data at the time; and the rise of private water speculators turned water farms into a major political controversy. The six years it took the legislature to wrestle with the problem at the heart this issue--the value of water to rural communities--were among its most tumultuous. The loss of key lawmakers involved in GMA negotiations, the impeachment of Governor Evan Mecham, and a bribery scandal called AZScam collectively sidetracked negotiations. Even more critical was the absence of a mutual recognition that these water farms posed a problem and the external pressure that had forced all parties involved in earlier groundwater-related negotiations to craft compromise. After cities and speculators failed to force a bill favorable to their interests in 1989, a re-alignment among blocs occurred: cities joined with rural interests to craft legislation that grandfathered in existing urban water farms and limited future water farms to several basins. In exchange, rural interests supported a bill to create a Phoenix-area groundwater replenishment district that enabled cooperative management of water supplies. These two bills, which were jointly signed into law in June 1991, tentatively resolved the water farm issue. The creation of a groundwater replenishment district that has subsidized growth in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties, the creation water bank to store unused Central Arizona Project water for times of drought, and a host of water conservation measures and water leases enabled by the passage of several tribal water rights settlements have set favorable conditions such that Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix never had any reason to transport any water from their water farms. The legacy of these properties then is that they were the product of the intense urgency and uncertainty in urban planning premised on assumptions of growing populations and complementary, inelastic demand. But even as per capita water consumption has declined throughout the Phoenix-area, continued growth has increased demand, beyond the capacity of available supplies so that there will likely be a new push for rural water farms in the foreseeable future.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Spatiotemporal patterns, monitoring network design, and environmental justice of air pollution in the Phoenix metropolitan region: a landscape approach

Description

Air pollution is a serious problem in most urban areas around the world, which has a number of negative ecological and human health impacts. As a result, it's vitally important

Air pollution is a serious problem in most urban areas around the world, which has a number of negative ecological and human health impacts. As a result, it's vitally important to detect and characterize air pollutants to protect the health of the urban environment and our citizens. An important early step in this process is ensuring that the air pollution monitoring network is properly designed to capture the patterns of pollution and that all social demographics in the urban population are represented. An important aspect in characterizing air pollution patterns is scale in space and time which, along with pattern and process relationships, is a key subject in the field of landscape ecology. Thus, using multiple landscape ecological methods, this dissertation research begins by characterizing and quantifying the multi-scalar patterns of ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM10) in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan region. Results showed that pollution patterns are scale-dependent, O3 is a regionally-scaled pollutant at longer temporal scales, and PM10 is a locally-scaled pollutant with patterns sensitive to season. Next, this dissertation examines the monitoring network within Maricopa County. Using a novel multiscale indicator-based approach, the adequacy of the network was quantified by integrating inputs from various academic and government stakeholders. Furthermore, deficiencies were spatially defined and recommendations were made on how to strengthen the design of the network. A sustainability ranking system also provided new insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the network. Lastly, the study addresses the question of whether distinct social groups were experiencing inequitable exposure to pollutants - a key issue of distributive environmental injustice. A novel interdisciplinary method using multi-scalar ambient pollution data and hierarchical multiple regression models revealed environmental inequities between air pollutants and race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic classes. The results indicate that changing the scale of the analysis can change the equitable relationship between pollution and demographics. The scientific findings of the scale-dependent relationships among air pollution patterns, network design, and population demographics, brought to light through this study, can help policymakers make informed decisions for protecting the human health and the urban environment in the Phoenix metropolitan region and beyond.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The “New Human Condition” in Literature: Climate, Migration, and the Future

Description

This thesis examines perceptions of climate change in literature through the lens of the environmental humanities, an interdisciplinary field that brings history, ecocriticism, and anthropology together to consider the environmental

This thesis examines perceptions of climate change in literature through the lens of the environmental humanities, an interdisciplinary field that brings history, ecocriticism, and anthropology together to consider the environmental past, present and future. The project began in Iceland, during the Svartárkot Culture-Nature Program called “Human Ecology and Culture at Lake Mývatn 1700-2000: Dimensions of Environmental and Cultural Change”. Over the course of 10 days, director of the program, Viðar Hreinsson, an acclaimed literary and Icelandic Saga scholar, brought in researchers from different fields of study in Iceland to give students a holistically academic approach to their own environmental research. In this thesis, texts under consideration include the Icelandic Sagas, My Antonia by Willa Cather, Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita, and The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. The thesis is supported by secondary works written by environmental humanists, including Andrew Ross, Steve Hartman, Ignacio Sanchez Cohen, and Joni Adamson, who specialize in archeological research on heritage sites in Iceland and/or study global weather patterns, prairie ecologies in the American Midwest, the history of water in the Southwest, and climate fiction. Chapter One, focusing on the Icelandic Sagas and My Antonia, argues that literature from different centuries, different cultures, and different parts of the world offers evidence that humans have been driving environmental degradation at the regional and planetary scales since at least the 1500s, especially as they have engaged in aggressive forms of settlement and colonization. Chapter Two, focused on Tropic of Orange, this argues that global environmental change leads to extreme weather and drought that is increasing climate migration from the Global South to the Global North. Chapter Three, focused on The Water Knife, argues that climate fiction gives readers the opportunity to think about and better prepare for a viable and sustainable future rather than wait for inevitable apocalypse. By exploring literature that depicts and represents climate change through time, environmental humanists have innovated new methods of analysis for teaching and thinking about what humans must understand about their impacts on ecosystems so that we can better prepare for the future.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Disconnected: investigating the social and political conditions shaping Mexico City's air quality regulatory environment

Description

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological

Mexico City has an ongoing air pollution issue that negatively affects its citizens and surroundings with current structural disconnections preventing the city from improving its overall air quality. Thematic methodological analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables contributing to this persistent problem. A historical background reveals current programs and policies implemented to improve Mexico’s City air quality. Mexico City’s current systems, infrastructure, and policies are inadequate and ineffective. There is a lack of appropriate regulation on other modes of transportation, and the current government system fails to identify how the class disparity in the city and lack of adequate education are contributing to this ongoing problem. Education and adequate public awareness can potentially aid the fight against air pollution in the Metropolitan City.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018