Information Exchange and Environmental Justice

Gloria G. Horning
InSITE 2005  •  Volume 5  •  2005
The Environmental Justice Movement is an aggregate of community-based, grassroots efforts against proposed and existing hazardous waste facilities and the organizations that assist them. The movement has created a context in which low-income communities and people of color are able to act with power. Using interviews, participant observation, and various archival records, a case study of the organization HOPE located in Perry, Florida, was developed. The case compared key factors in community mobilization and campaign endurance. Special attention was paid to the process of issue construction, the formation of collective identity, and the role of framing in mobilizing specific constituencies. In the case of the P&G/Buckeye Pulp Mill where the community face hazardous surroundings. Environmental inequality formation occurs when different stakeholders struggle for scarce resources within the political economy and the benefits and costs of those resources become unevenly distributed. Scarce resources include components of the social and natural environment. Thus the environmental inequality formation model stresses (1) the importance of process and history; (2) the role of information process and the relationship of multiple stakeholders; and (3) the agency of those with the least access to resources. This study explores the information exchange and the movement's identity on both an individual and group level. When people become involved in the movement they experience a shift in personal paradigm that involves a progression from discovery of environmental problems, through disillusionment in previously accepted folk ideas, to personal empowerment.
Communications, Environmental Justice, Social Networks
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