El Locos por la Tierra retoma las sesiones presenciales

Después de hacer diversas sesiones en formato virtual, el programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB reanudó el pasado día 27 de junio sus sesiones formativas en formato presencial.

What do we breathe when in the forest?

For the first time, a study characterizes the forest chemistry of the air under the canopy of a Mediterranean holm oak forest and detects maximum concentrations in July and August.

Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care


Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ (www.bcnuej.org) del ICTA-UAB (https://ictaweb.uab.cat/) y del IMIM (www.imim.es) está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
EJAtlas Includes 2,100 Case Studies on Socio-Environmental Conflicts Around the World

Date: 2017-05-03

EJAtlas- 2.000 casos

The Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas), created by researchers of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), currently includes 2,100 cases of ecological distribution conflicts identified in different parts of the world. This initiative, which could also be called the atlas of socio-environmental injustices and conflicts, is currently increasing its total number of conflicts registered in China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all large countries which until now had no local collaborators.

The country with the highest number of conflicts is India. Since its launch in 2012, the EJAtlas is co-directed at the ICTA-UAB by Leah Temper and Joan Martínez-Alier, and coordinated by Daniela De Bene. Its objective is to create a registry with all the socio-environmental conflicts existing around the world. In 2016, Professor Martinez-Alier received an Advanced Grant (2M Euros) from the European Research Council to continue the initiative during the 2016-2021 period. This has allowed him to expand on the previous EJOLT (Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade) with this new project entitled EnvJustice (http://www.envjustice.org), A Global Movement for Environmental Justice: The EJAtlas. The atlas also includes the important support of the project Acknowl-EJ (2016-18) (http://acknowlej.org/), Academic-Activist Co-Produced Knowledge for Environmental Justice, directed by Dr Leah Temper at the ICTA-UAB.

"How many ecological distribution conflicts are there in the world? No one knows, but there is no doubt that there are many of them", Dr Joan Martínez-Alier points out. The EJAtlas aims to collect the most significant cases from the past twenty or thirty years through a collaboration methodology involving both academics and activists, as explained in the paper by Leah Temper, D. Del Bene and J. Martinez-Alier (2015), “Mapping the frontiers and front lines of global environmental justice: the EJAtlas.” Journal of Political Ecology 22: 255-278 (http://jpe.library.arizona.edu/volume_22/Temper.pdf).

The cases identified are incorporated into the interactive atlas (www.ejatlas.org) and accompanied by a 5 or 6-page informative file on each conflict. At the same time, this global inventory allows creating different maps using a large range of filters which, among other things, make it easy to detect which conflicts are classified as the most serious. Dr Martínez-Alier highlights that one of the indicators of the degree of seriousness of environmental conflicts has to do with the lives of people being violated either due to environmental factors such as contamination or other damages produced by a project, or due to the assassination of activists fighting against a specific project. This was the case of ecologists Teresina Navacilla and Gloria Capitán in two different cases in the Philippines in 2016, and Honduran activist Berta Càceres, also assassinated in 2016 after trying to fight against the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the Gualcarque River, a vital source of livelihood for the region's indigenous Lenca people.

There are currently 260 cases identified - a little over 12% of those registered - in which "environmental defenders" have been killed (one or more people per case). The majority are found in Latin America and Southern and South-eastern Asia, according to the information included in the EJAtlas. However, Martínez-Alier points out that this data is only partial, due to the fact that the atlas still does not have enough information on other areas of the globe in which similar killings may have occurred. The atlas also allows users to identify successful cases, in which opposition to an investment project (mines, dams, palm oil plantations, incineration plants, etc.) helped to overturn the plan or in which the state legally or administratively decided to implement efficient regulations to act as a disincentive for similar projects. The map includes 360 successful cases, which corresponds to 17% of the total, the majority of which are located in South America, with 95 cases, and Western Europe, with 55 cases.

The co-director of the project points out that gas fracking - an activity which consists in extracting natural gas from non-conventional sites - is one of the newest issues, something hardly talked about when the EJAtlas was presented in public for the first time in March 2014 with a total of 920 conflicts. "The increase and change in social metabolism (set of flows of materials and energy) are the main causes of conflicts". Dr Martínez-Alier also highlights conflicts such as sand extraction in order to obtain ilmenite (raw material for titanium), rutile and zirconium. Several of these types of conflicts have been registered in Madagascar, South Africa and in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, with many more undoubtedly existing. This is a subject even the co-director was unaware of in 2012.

There are also new cases in which opposition to mining and coal burning or the extraction of oil and gas is linked not only to a local threat to the quality of air and water, but also to the climate change caused by the excess of carbon dioxide emissions produced by these processes. For example, the Ende Gelände movement in Germany is fighting against the mining of lignite which burns in thermoelectric power stations and which affects climate change. Their actions consist in symbolic and pacifist invasions of lignite mines located in the vicinity of Cologne and Berlin. The EJAltas files contain sections with the names and characteristics of these social actors, the social values they display, and the "repertoires of collective actions" they carry out. The names of private and public companies are also available, which makes it possible to carry out network analyses. Thus, users can see for example that in recent conflicts taking place in Africa and Latin America there is a growing presence of Chinese companies.

Socio-Environmental Situation in Spain
With regard to Spain, the EJAtlas has currently gathered information on 55 environmental conflicts, some of which were facilitated by Ecologists in Action and other environmental organisations. The EJAtlas allows conducting state-wide analyses, although the information it contains is even more interesting for cross-state thematic studies and several thematic maps at global scale have already been presented. In the case of Spain, there are all types of environmental conflicts, but unlike South America, the majority of cases are not related to mining or fossil fuel extraction, or to deforestation and land grabbing, but to the disposal of residues (such as waste burning cement plants) or to public work infrastructures and tourism, as well as nuclear power plants. The latter type of conflict is once again on the rise across Europe thirty or forty years after the conflicts caused by their construction, given that "as the years go by the associated risk of these nuclear plants grows, but the economic interests of the companies prevent them from being shut down for good. This is the case of the plant in Garoña and also that of the Almaraz nuclear plant in Extremadura, which is looked upon with much distrust from Portugal". This problem occurs in other parts of the world and especially in Japan, where numerous people demonstrate against the reopening of some fifty nuclear power stations which were shut down after the accident in 2011 in Fukushima.

Future of EJAtlas
An approximate 350 new conflicts will be added each year ("the average is one per day") and the files of older yet still existing conflicts will be reviewed. The EJAtlas will grow both geographically and thematically until it reaches at least some 3,000 cases. It is already a highly useful research tool and a valuable source of information for academic papers, journalistic reports, PhD theses and books. One of the first articles published was "Is there a global environmental justice movement?", by J. Martinez-Alier, Leah Temper, D. Del Bene, A. Scheidel (2016), J. of Peasant Studies, 43 (3) : 731-755. In advanced preparation is a special section for the journal Sustainability Science with eight to ten articles based on the EJAtlas. According to Dr Martínez-Alier, "the EJAtlas is a project which must continue some ten to fifteen years more at the ICTA-UAB, far beyond what is left of my active years. The atlas permits researchers to conduct comparative qualitative and quantitative studies on political ecology, on particular territories, regions, states, and also cross-state issues, and at the same time serves as a support tool for the global movement for environmental justice being carried out by so many grassroots environmental groups around the world". He affirms that the initiative is not only the result of the efforts of those working on the EJAtlas at the ICTA-UAB, but also of the over 100 collaborators located in different parts of the world.

Among the numerous transversal, "cross-state" subjects under study are the movement of traditional fishermen around the world, the support offered by trade union movements or religious movements (Christian, Buddhist or others) in environmental conflicts, the integration of farming struggles and ecological struggles, different types of urban struggles for environmental justice, local and international opposition to dams, movements to guarantee the health of people affected by agrochemicals, and the defence of mangroves and coastal regions. Another interesting aspect under international study is the cultural manifestations in this global movement for environmental justice, in which the EJAtlas incorporates photographs, demonstration banners in different languages (such as "Plantations Are Not Forests", “Stop Fumigations" and "Water Is More Valuable Than Gold"), as well as newspaper articles, documentaries and songs. An example of this is a song by T.M. Krishna in defence of "community resources" (the Poromboke land) at Ennore Creek in northern Chennai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82jFyeV5AHM). All of which forms part of the assorted vocabulary of environmental justice. 

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