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From Confrontation to Implementation Some Concluding Thoughts In this final chapter, I present five concluding thoughts, out of the many I could have chosen, which I hope will help fuel the debate that will begin to move us from the tradition of confrontation between the EJP and the NEP toward greater understanding and hopefully strategies for the implementation of robust, joined-up policies for just sustainability at the local, regional, national, and international levels. First, I develop thoughts on the debate about whether the local or national level is a better place to make coalitions or engage in the cooperative endeavors that I believe are leading the way toward more just and sustainable futures. Second, and related to my first point, I argue that the best chance for more cooperative endeavors, and ultimately movement fusion between the EJP and NEP, will come from environmental justice groups working with just sustainability groups (JSI = 3), as opposed to those of an environmental sustainability orientation, but that local issues also come into play that can change this. Third, I examine the problem of unfulfilled policy rhetoric regarding the implementation of just sustainability projects and programs. Fourth, in pursuit of just sustainability, I conclude that there is an emerging set of tools such as environmental space that show exceptional promise for the JSP and the EJP in the United States and worldwide. Finally, I revisit my question of whether ACE and others like it are environmental justice or just sustainability organizations. Local or National? Are coalitions best made at the local or national level? Common sense would tell us that the answer is contingent on several factors, such as 6 176 the issues being pursued, the targets of the coalition, the ideological and interpretive positions of the organizations, the coalitional time span, and many other context-specific factors. For example, “The Johannesburg Summit 2002: A Call for Action” was led by Redefining Progress, but that organization was joined by major organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, the Earth Policy Institute, the Worldwatch Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, the Environmental Law Institute, the Rainforest Action Network, the Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace USA, the Sierra Club, and the Woods Hole Research Center. This was a national coalition focusing on what the organizations perceived to be a national (lack of) policy in the run-up to the WSSD in 2002. In the words of Gould et al. (2004:96), it was a “short-term marriage of convenience,” convened to deliver a specific sustainability policy message , aimed at the Bush administration’s vacillation on the issue. At this level, the issues, targets, time span, and sheer urgency of the “Call for Action” overrode any ideological or interpretive differences among the individual organizations within the coalition. Yet there clearly are discursive , ideological, and interpretive differences among these organizations , because Redefining Progress is an organization with a JSI of 3 in coalition with a mixture of other organizations with varied JSIs including one with a JSI of 0 (the Nature Conservancy). Another issue, that of light rail on the Washington Street Corridor in Roxbury, with a different target, the MBTA, elicited a different, more local, and longer-term coalition between the WSCC and the Boston Group of the Sierra Club. While clearly there were individual relationships between the staffs and especially between the executive directors of the national organizations in the pre-WSSD “Call for Action,” ACE’s Jodi Sugerman-Brozan identified individual staff relationships as being key to the endurance of the local coalition of ACE, WSCC, and the Boston Group of the Sierra Club, even though ideological and interpretive differences precluded the Boston Group’s “official” membership in the On the Move platform and coalition. It seems therefore that coalitions can, in certain circumstances, override discursive, ideological, and interpretive differences, especially but not exclusively in the shorter term. However, as ACE’s Penn Loh mentioned , ACE’s approach to the “longer-term coalitions” of Gould et al. (2004:96) is “pretty deep,” by which he means that the ideological and interpretive heart or focus of the coalition must be on equity and From Confrontation to Implementation | 177 justice. This is why Loh decided that ACE would not be part of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance: We chose not to become part of the Smart Growth Alliance because we didn’t feel that the justice issues were front and center enough to make it worth it. We don’t want to spend time, even...


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