Workshop “Environmental Justice in a comparative perspective/La giustizia ambientale in una prospettiva comparativistica”

Università degli studi di Milano, 17 dicembre 2019, h.10.30-17.30

Intervention at the international workshop on environmental justice by Chiara Certomà

Workshop presentation in english (from the site of Environmental Justice Institute):

On December 17, 2019, the workshop “Environmental Justice in a comparative perspective” took place at the University of Milan, “La Statale.” The idea of realizing the workshop came in Norwich, during the International Conference Transformative Connections on Environmental Justice (EJ) at the University of East Anglia in July 2019. Thanks to the Conference, a promising network of some Italian researchers sharing the interest in environmental justice has been created. The main goal is to set up a research group made up of women only to push the debate on EJ in Italy forward. The reason for such a group composition relies on the fact that environmental injustices in Italy are more likely to manifest in terms of gender discrimination (Germani, 2011) which also corresponds with further empirical findings (Bach 2015) that are published in the previous version of the EJI’s journal Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development. Thus, the research group has been created to provide a gender answer to environmental injustice. In this regard, the workshop represents the first step along this path. An interdisciplinary dialogue aimed at analyzing and comparing some Italian case studies has fueled a lively debate on the major strengths of EJ in Italy. In particular, the research group focused on the following issues:

  • the centrality of the environmental conflict, and its difference with environmental injustice;
  • the possibility to find a common definition of environmental justice;
  • the different subcategories of EJ;
  • how different disciplines navigate the scientific uncertainty in environmental issues;
  • how to make a transformative, forward-looking EJ without disregarding historical injustices.

Even though the discussion raised more questions than it answered, it also led to results in some key points (download the mindmap of the session here). First, the research group agreed that a definition of EJ should include both an anthropocentric approach and a collective dimension. Also, it should address spatialities and temporalities by adding corrective justice. Second, EJ should have a particular emphasis on non-state actors, including companies, as a unit of responsibility. Third, EJ should be grounded on the shift from preferences to basic needs. Finally, EJ should focus more on a fair distribution of environmental goods rather than environmental burdens only by having the city as the driver of change. The first step went then towards the normative level focusing on justice and how things ought to be. We hope to see where the next steps will lead this new research group in the coming year soon.

(photo source Leicester Socialist Workers Party)

Workshop description in italian:

Il concetto di Giustizia Ambientale introduce nel dibattito sulla tutela ambientale e la gestione sostenibile delle risorse una prospettiva volta mettere in luce e conseguentemente a dare voce ai soggetti che in relazione al tema sono maggiormente marginalizzati, discriminati e danneggiati. Il workshop mira ad avviare un dialogo interdisciplinare avente ad oggetto l’analisi di alcuni casi di studio italiani osservati in una prospettiva comparatistica. Lo scopo dell’incontro è la condivisione delle reciproche attività di ricerca con la prospettiva di stilare un’agenda di lavoro comune sul tema della giustizia ambientale. Il simposio avrà una struttura dialogica e informale per facilitare lo scambio di idee e dare spazio al dibattito. Partecipanti:

  • Pier Filippo Giuggioli – (Università Statale di Milano)
  • Naiara Posenato – (Università Statale di Milano)
  • Margherita Brunori (Università Statale di Milano)
  • Lucia Musselli (Università Statale di Milano)
  • Francesca Rosignoli (Stokholm University)
  • Sonja Gantioler (Istituto per le energie rinnovabili, Eurac)
  • Elisa Privitera (Università degli Studi di Catania)
  • Roberta Biasillo (Royal Institute of Technology, KTH)
  • Stefania Benetti (Università degli Studi di Roma, “La Sapienza”)
  • Federica Cittadino (Istituto di studi federali comparati, Eurac)
  • Chiara Certomà (Scuola Sant’Anna, Pisa)
  • Veronica Dini (Systasis – Centro Studi per la prevenzione e la gestione dei conflitti ambientali)

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