George Monbiot discusses whether or not environmental policies necessarily have a negative impact on those living in poverty around the globe in his newest editorial for The Guardian:
Journalists writing for the corporate press, with views somewhere to the right of Vlad the Impaler and no prior record of concern for the poor, suddenly become their doughty champions when the interests of the proprietorial class are threatened. If tar sands cannot be extracted in Canada, they maintain, subsistence farmers in Africa will starve. If Tesco’s profits are threatened, children will die of malaria. When it is done cleverly, promoting the interests of corporations and the ultra-rich under the guise of concern for the poor is an effective public relations strategy.
Even so, it is true that there is sometimes a clash between environmental policies and social justice, especially when the policies have been poorly designed, as I argued on this blog last month.
But while individual policies can be bad for the poor, is the protection of the environment inherently incompatible with social justice? This is the question addressed in a discussion paper published by Oxfam on Monday.