Sustainability and social justice remain elusive, even as it has become increasingly clear that each is unattainable without the other. Unsustainable practices diminish social justice: the effects of animal extinctions, toxic waste, and air pollution alike have fallen disproportionately on the poor. Meanwhile, efforts at achieving sustainability in the industrialized West and Global South have often aggravated social inequities, such as when indigenous people have been displaced to create wildlife or natural reserves or when governments have mandated expensive new environmental management technologies that exacerbate the burden of the poor. One result is that sustainability is sometimes perceived as an elite, technologically driven project in an increasingly diverse world, and opposition to environmental reform finds a solid footing among the expanding ranks of the world’s working and impoverished peoples. This book seeks to answer some of the contemporary challenges facing sustainability from a social science perspective.
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