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Just Sustainability in Practice This chapter moves the theory of just sustainability into practice.1 First, I develop a Just Sustainability Index, through which I assess the commitment of a range of national environmental and sustainability organizations to the JSP. This is done in order to provide a rough and ready metric, a rule of thumb as to where well-known national organizations stand in relation to justice and equity issues. I then present three representative programs or projects in each of five sustainability issue categories (land-use planning, solid waste, toxic chemical use, residential energy use, and transportation) that are demonstrating just sustainability in practice in U.S. cities. The Just Sustainability Index In order to chart the current status of the just sustainability discourse and of the JSP among national environmental and sustainability membership organizations in the United States, a selection of international organizations, and programs and projects in U.S. cities, I developed a Just Sustainability Index (JSI) as a hybrid of discourse analysis, content /relational analysis, and interpretive analysis. The JSI uses the categories listed in table 4.1. Using organizational websites and the search terms “equity,” “justice ,” and “sustainability,” I looked at both organizational mission statements and prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. Derivations of equity, justice, and sustainability, such as “equitable,” “just,” and “sustainable,” were also used if the original terms yielded no results. In addition, to fully ensure that no organization was potentially excluded, sentiments such as “the fundamental right of all people to have a voice in decisions,” “disproportionate environmental burdens ,” and mention of “environment” instead of “sustainability” (only if 4 107 associated with “justice” or “just”) were counted as having fulfilled the search terms. Reliability was ensured by having an additional researcher code the organizations. As I mentioned in the book’s introduction, the JSI comes with some caveats and limitations. If I only looked at organizations’ statement of their mission, I could be accused of not actually getting at behavior, merely textual representations of reality and symbolic declarations. That is why I look at both “mission” and “program” issues, since most organizational websites, certainly those of the organizations I dealt with, have a wealth of up-to-date programmatic information. This programmatic information, in combination with the mission statement, provides a relatively accurate picture of an organization’s commitment to the JSP. The choice of which organizations to survey, it could be argued, is somewhat arbitrary. No official list of national environmental and sustainability organizations exists. Many of the organizations that I surveyed (see table 4.2) were derived from SaveOurEnvironment.org, a collaborative effort of the nation’s most influential environmental advocacy organizations including all the Big Ten groups. From these groups, a “snowball” technique was applied in order to find more organizations. Three conclusions can be drawn from the results of my survey. First, among the thirty national environmental and sustainability membership organizations selected in my survey, more than 30 percent had a JSI of 0. This means that in such organizations there is no mention of equity or justice in their core mission statement or in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. 108 | Just Sustainability in Practice table 4.1 The Just Sustainability Index 0 No mention of equity or justice in core mission statement or in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. 1 No mention of equity or justice in core mission statement. Limited mention (once or twice) in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. 2 Equity and justice mentioned, but focused on intergenerational equity in core mission statement. Limited mention (once or twice) in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. 3 Core mission statement relates to intra- and intergenerational equity and justice and/or justice and equity occur in same sentence in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. Second, the average JSI was 1.06. While not statistically significant, this suggests that the majority of U.S. national environmental and sustainability membership organizations make no mention of equity or justice in their core mission statements and limited mention (once or twice) in prominent contemporary textual or programmatic material. This backs up Taylor’s (2000) point about the lack of interest in social justice within the NEP. Third, only organizations with a JSI of 3 could be considered to have more than a passing concern for just sustainability and be operating within the JSP. In other words, their core mission statement relates to intra- and intergenerational equity and justice and/or justice and equity Just Sustainability...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814707746
Related ISBN
9780814707111
MARC Record
OCLC
228230749
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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