Towards a Broader Conceptualisation of Environmental Justice

In contemporary South Africa, environmental justice is a critical question for geographers. It is argued in this chapter that whilst new civil society leadership has emerged to address environmental justice concerns in the post-apartheid period, these have not been effective in formulating an emerging ‘environmental justice framework’ by way of a coherent ideology to collectively address social and environmental risks for more effective civil society actions against macroeconomic risks. This chapter explores selected case studies to examine how leadership in social and environmental struggles has unfolded, and for joint actions. Results indicate that leadership for an emerging environmental justice framework is restricted by individualised and self-interested leaderships, undermining engagement for collective actions both within and across the social and environmental arenas. It is observed that leadership will be vital in advancing local struggles, and also ensuring expansion and connection of struggles beyond localities, but will require negotiation between leaderships on convergence.


Environmental justice, Civil society, Leadership, Neoliberalism, Social movements 

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