Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Environmental justice offers both an opportunity for political mobilization and action, and a policy principle to guide public decision making [1]. Environmental justice has two main dimensions [2]:

341861) The placing of a discourse of justice firmly within the framework of sustainability;

2) The identification of integral connections between justice and equity, and wider questions of governance.

There are many different definitions of environmental justice and it has some commonality with sustainability, which means ensuring a better quality of life now and in the future, while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.

Environmental justice is based on the principal that all people have the right to be protected from environmental pollution and live in an enjoyable, clean, and healthful environment [2]. This means the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development of laws, regulations, policies and the equitable distribution of environmental benefits. Both environmental justice and sustainability thus have a common factor and inseparable relationship. However, many countries do not respect such interdependency and are concentrated on sustainability and development while failing to address injustices.

In Brazil struggles over environmental justice are alive and well. Historically, the country failed to consider the indicators and standards for environmental protection and sustainable development. This issue is especially visible in the last century, while Brazilian people were farming and producing coffee. During that time, the farmers had the lowest values of living. All the while the traders and company owners were living with wealth and freedom.


Recently, Brazil has become more interested in social and environmental justice. The country had a strong representation in the international conferences held about environmental justice in South America. Recent studies have focused on extremely important criteria and indicators for living in clean environments with great economy and just social life in Brazil. [1] [3]


[1] Carla Grigoletto Duarte, Kyrke Gaudreau, Robert B. Gibson, Tadeu Fabrício Malheiros, Sustainability assessment of sugarcane-ethanol production in Brazil: A case study of a sugarcane mill in São Paulo state, Ecological Indicators, Volume 30, July 2013, Pages 119-129, ISSN 1470-160X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2013.02.011.
[2] Agyeman, J. and Evans, B. (2004), ‘Just sustainability’: the emerging discourse of environmental justice in Britain?. The Geographical Journal, 170: 155–164
[3] Henri Acselrad, The “Environmentalization” of Social Struggles – the Environmental Justice Movement in Brazil
[4] http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/october/gospel-and-social-justice-in-brazil-interview-with-mauricio.html?paging=off.
[5] http://www.cafod.org.uk/News/International-News/Brazil-activist-award.