Plural and hybrid environmental values in the wind energy debate

The hybridity of arguments opposing wind farms – including concerns about landscape and place, protection of birds, the conduct of proponents and suspicion of the technology – are captured in this pamphlet, which was produced without central authorisation from the CPRW (The Campaign for the Protection of Wales) in the early to mid-2000s.

It is the hybridity of arguments and values within the context of wind farm development and policy making in Victoria and United Kingdom that I explore in a recently published article in Environmental Politics. In the article I analyse the dominant discourses evident in wind farm conflicts – about green jobs, climate change, birds and landscape, exploring the complex environmental values that underpin each of the discourses.

What’s an encumbrance? Environmental justice? Emission standards?

I contributed to Oxford’s Australian Law Dictionary, edited by Trischa Mann. My contributions will mostly be found among the ‘e’ for ‘environment’ entries. Here is my pre-edited entry for ‘environmental justice’, the theoretical foundation for my current research:

Arising from the United States in the 1980s, the environmental justice movement argued against environmental discrimination: principally the siting of environmentally harmful industry in poorer, black and immigrant communities.

The movement articulated a principle of environment justice: that people should have equal access to environmental goods (like parks and clean water) and share the burden of environmental bads (like landfills and polluting activities).

This principle of environmental justice has since been broadened, and for the purpose of the law now encompasses rights of participation and access to justice in environmental decisions and public interest environmental justice now also extends to theories of ecological justice, which consider non-human parts of the environmental court proceedings. The principle of environment as having rights that should be protected for the environment’s sake and not just because of human interest and utility in the environment.