I commend Grist‘s editors for this landmark series. Their efforts, along with the many great writers who have contributed, have helped exemplify one of the central themes of environmental justice:
Environmentalism in the absence of people (as both political participants and right-endowed members of the Earth community) has led to worse social and ecological conditions by concentrating the negative impacts of industrial civilization on the disempowered, while not solving the core ecological issues it set out to fix.
If this is correct, then environmental justice offers a very serious and very useful critique of our environmentalist agenda.
If, as reformers, we can face up to this difficult reality, we can begin to re-form our own movement in ways that recognize our short-comings and work to avoid them in the future.
The critique implies a question: How do we be sure to “include people as both political participants and right-endowed members of the Earth community” in our environmentalist agenda?
I believe we must. I have offered some tentative suggestions for how to do so elsewhere (I would add make all landscape decisions local in character to that list), but I would love to hear from others who are wrestling with these issues.