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

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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

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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Multi-scale analysis of the opportunities and threats of large-scale land acquisitions (LaSLA) to the sustainable development of Sub-Saharan Africa (with a focus on Tanzania)

Description

Large-scale land acquisition (LaSLA), also called "land grabbing" refers to the buying or leasing of large tracts of land, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by foreign investors to produce food and biofuel to send back home. Since 2007, LaSLA has

Large-scale land acquisition (LaSLA), also called "land grabbing" refers to the buying or leasing of large tracts of land, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by foreign investors to produce food and biofuel to send back home. Since 2007, LaSLA has become an important development issue due to the opportunities and threats for SSA countries. LaSLA has the potential to create local jobs, transfer technology, build infrastructure, and modernize SSA's agriculture. Nonetheless, it can also aggravate food insecurity, perpetuate corruption, degrade ecosystems, cause conflicts, and displace local communities. What drives LaSLA, what are its impacts on local people, and under what circumstances can we consider it as just and ethical?

To examine what drives LaSLA, I used country level data from 2005 to 2013 on economic conditions, natural resources, business practices, and governance to estimate LaSLA models. I find that LaSLA increases with increasing government effectiveness, land prices, and the ease of doing business, and decreases with stronger regulatory regimes. To assess LaSLA's impacts on local people, I conducted a comparative case study in Tanzania. I compare changes in peoples' livelihood between treatment villages (those experiencing LaSLA) and control villages (those without LaSLA projects). The results show that under current practices, the risks of LaSLA outweigh the benefits to local livelihoods, yet there are potential benefits if LaSLA is implemented correctly.

To philosophically examine whether LaSLA can be considered just and ethical, I apply John Rawls' theory of justice. The analysis indicates that from both procedural and distributive justice perspective, LaSLA currently fails to satisfy Rawlsian principles of justice. From these analyses, I conclude that if implemented correctly, LaSLA can produce a win-win outcome for both investors and host countries. I suggest that strong governance, rigorous environmental and social impact assessment, and inclusion of local people at all levels of LaSLA decision making are critical for sustainable and equitable outcomes.

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Created

Date Created
2017

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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 analysis reveals current obstacles and barriers, as well as variables

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