Fairness and Justice in Environmental Decision Making
Water under the bridge
Routledge – 2014 – 180 pages
By crossing disciplinary boundaries, this book uniquely connects theories of justice with people's lived experience within social conflicts over resource sharing. It shows why some conflicts, such as local opposition to wind farms and water disputes, have become intractable social problems in many countries of the world. It shows the power of injustice in generating opposition to decisions. The book answers the question: why are the results of many government initiatives and policies not accepted by those affected?
Focusing on two social conflicts over water sharing in Australia to show why fairness and justice are important in decision-making, the book shows how these conflicts are typical of water sharing and other natural resource conflicts experienced in many countries around the world, particularly in the context of climate change. It tells the stories of these conflicts from the perspectives of those involved. These practically-based findings are then related back to ideas and constructs of justice from disciplines such as social psychology, political philosophy and jurisprudence.
With a strong practical focus, this book offers readers an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of fairness and justice in environmental decision-making. It opens up a wealth of fairness and justice ideas for decision-makers, practitioners, and researchers in natural resource management, environmental governance, community consultation, and sustainable development, as well as people in government and corporations who interface and consult with communities where natural resources are being used.
"A clear and compelling case for fairness as a foundation for resource sharing. Catherine Gross' book is essential for those wanting to understand the role of fairness and justice in preventing social conflict". Paul R. Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University, USA
"Building on real-world examples of environmental conflict over wind power and water access, the author clarifies what fairness and justice mean to those affected. She then argues the need for a theory of justice to guide environmental decision-making and to optimise fairness, as understood and seen. A timely book, as environmental tensions mount."Professor Tony McMichael, Australian National University, Australia
1. A global concern: seeking fairness in resource sharing 2. Theories of Justice and the search for fairness 3. Developing a justice-based research approach 4. Voices and stories: two water conflicts in Australia 5. Finding injustice - seeking justice 6. A sense of justice - processes and outcomes 7. Muddying the waters: worldviews, institutions and change 8. Justice as a means and an end in environmental decision-making
Catherine Gross is Visiting Fellow, The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Australia.