Urban research team wins grant for environmental justice case studies

RMIT Centre for Urban Research Australian Environmental Justice team have won a competitive environmental justice grant run by international organisation, Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade.

The RMIT Centre for Urban Research (CUR) Australian Environmental Justice (AEJ) research team, in partnership with Friends of the Earth Australia, has won a Political Ecology Cartography sub-contract as one of just three successful applications in an international bid for their contribution of Australian case studies to the EJAtlas database.

The awarded subcontract is to support action-research on environmental justice related campaigns and improve their visibility with coverage of the EJAtlas Design Featured Maps.

The Environmental Justice Atlas, developed by the EU-funded Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT) project, is an online interactive database and map of socio-environmental conflicts worldwide that already presents and analyses around 1990 cases and is growing steadily since 2012.

The map is part of the broader AEJ project which focuses on highlighting fair transitions for coal communities, forest conflicts and unequal exchange in respective researchers’ case studies.

CUR AEJ team member PhD Candidate Lisa de Kleyn is currently working on her doctoral thesis exploring the decision-making processes in native forest management of Victoria’s Toolangi State Forest.

Her research takes an environmental justice approach to investigate native forest conflicts and opportunities for change in decision-making processes to encourage social justice, social cohesion, protection and restoration of the environment.

“Environmental justice is a frame that is increasingly being used in Australia, and particularly Victoria in policy, research and activism,” she said.

“Environmental justice is primarily concerned with three forms of justice: distributive justice, recognition justice and procedural justice.

“Such approach questions how costs and benefits of decisions related to environment are distributed across society, identifies the social construction of people with an interest in socio-environmental issues and aims for meaningful and influential access to decision-making processes.

“This grant provides the AEJ team with the opportunity to research and document cases of environmental justice in Australia, through an international platform.”

CUR AEJ team members Honorary Associate Professor Anitra Nelson, PhD Candidate Lisa de Kleyn and Masters by Research Thesis Candidate Lee Tan have already started adding cases to EJAtlas and welcomes people to contact them to learn more about the project and get involved.

Anitra Nelson: anitra.nelson@rmit.edu.au

Lisa de Kleyn: lisa.dekleyn@rmit.edu.au

Lee Tan: lee.tan@rmit.edu.au

Story: Sharon Lee