Review: Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice

By Anderson, Byron | Electronic Green Journal, January 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Review: Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice


Anderson, Byron, Electronic Green Journal


Review: Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice By David Naguib Pellow Reviewed by Byron Anderson Northern Illinois University, USA Pellow, David Naguib. Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007. ix, 346 pp. ISBN: 978-0-262- 16244-9. US$62, cloth. ISBN: 978-0-262-66201-7. US$25, paper. Printed on recycled paper.

Resisting Global Toxics explores "the export of hazardous waste (through trading and dumping) to poor communities and communities of color around the world and charts the mobilization of transnational environmental justice movement networks to document and resist these practices" (p. 2). The text covers the transnational waste trade from its beginnings in the 1980s to the present, and builds on the knowledge base in the literature of environmental justice studies, environmental sociology, social movements, race theory, and transnational waste trade. It advances the global toxics debate in the areas of environmental justice, human rights, and sustainability.

Transnational movements for environmental justice are a rising force of opposition to transnational wastes. Examples of these transnational networks include Global Response, Rainforest Action Network, Pesticide Action Network, and Greenpeace. These movements often help define environmental justice. For example, indigenous peoples may not define their struggle in terms of environmental justice, but rather as struggles of self-determination and territorial rights. Social movement power connects environmental justice with human rights, something that "elevates and deepens the discourse, the struggle, and the framework within which activists' claims can be made and resolved" (p. 238).

The book contributes two aspects to the broader picture of transnational waste trade. First, it incorporates the literature of race theory so as to better understand global toxic disposal as a practice of institutional racism. The author correctly asserts the "...global inequalities are rarely framed as racial inequalities" (p. 68), though toxic chemicals and racism are linked.

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