ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Environmental Justice Caught in the Cleft


Arguably, our responses to ecological and environmental issues are either varied or are starkly divided bet­ween some who argue rather unconditionally in favour of the defence of the ecological and environmental good and those who offer a rather qualified response to such an “absolute” notion of ecological good. Those who offer an unconditional endorsement assume that protecting the life of plants, vegetation, and wildlife is fair as, at a metaphysical level, they promise survival for us all. While no one would deny the importance of such an argument, however, in the daily occurrence of conflicts between human beings and wild animals, the position of these deep ecologists tilts more towards the protection of wildlife. This position does not solve the problem of justice, which is much deeper than standing with an environmental cause as representing an overarching or a primary good. What is needed is to assess the validity of the concept of environmental justice in terms of the risk and the loss that the farmers incur on account of their crop being eaten away or destroyed.

Thus, the farmers, who, in several places, share a terrain with wildlife habitation, face a constant threat from the wild animals who destroy their standing crops. From the farmers’ point of view, destruction of crops is grossly unjust. In this context, the question that can be raised is: Can we hold the wild animals responsible for being unfair to the material interests of human beings? Certain farmers do consider that it is the wild animals that are primarily responsible for the destruction of their crops. They also hold the forest department responsible for not making adequate arrangements and guaranteeing financial compensation for the loss of their crops. As far as the farmers’ standpoint is concerned, it suggests that the policy of the government towards wildlife produces more injustice rather than justice. But this is a partial response to the conception of environmental justice, which is much more complex than securing justice through dealing with wild animals with heavy hands.

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Updated On : 21st Jan, 2023
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