South Beds FoE Homepage

Green Corner




An A-Z of the environment & issues

by Peter Hatswell



A  B  C  D

E  F  G  H  I  J

K  L  M  N  O  P

Q  R   S   T   U   V

W  X  Y  Z


J is for justice and particularly environmental justice


This is one of the areas where the thinking of the Churches and the Green Movement come closest together. The right of people and animals to live in the land of their ancestors and for workers to receive a fair reward for their efforts is fundamental to a just society.


At times the greater good has to be balanced against these rights but all too often the power lies with big business and in far away lands where local effects are merely an inconvenience and too remote to worry about.


Striking examples are the oil and gas fields in Nigeria and Sakhalin (E Russia) where Western greed for energy is harming communities by not sharing wealth in the case of the peoples of the Niger Delta and by drilling rigs disrupting the summer feeding grounds of the endangered Western Pacific grey whale. It is thought that there are only 100 of these mammals left in the world.


The Fair Trade Movement has highlighted similar injustices and it is pleasing to see that our supermarkets now stock some limited lines, which should help poorer overseas farmers. Supermarkets are not noted for their generosity to producers but public campaigns have had some influence, particularly on items such as palm oil, where forest lands previously supporting local communities have been confiscated, razed to the ground and replanted with palms requiring more water, nutrients and chemical protection. Here again there is also the devastating effect on local wildlife including some of the world’s rarest species. The good news is that all the major UK supermarkets have now signed up to the use of ‘sustainable sources’ for all their products containing palm oil.


So how much should the developed world give back to offset these injustices? One solution is ‘to live more simply that others may simply live’. The Green Movement promotes energy saving both in food-miles and lifestyle plus more action on renewable energy resources, recycling etc. In theory this should leave us with more to spend on deserving causes.




Friends of the Earth