Skip to Main content

A global environmental justice movement: mapping ecological distribution conflicts

By Joan Martínez-Alier (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)


Abstract: The industrial economy is not circular, it is entropic, therefore requiring new supplies of energy and materials extracted from the “commodity frontiers”, and producing polluting waste. Therefore, ecological distribution conflicts arise. The Global Atlas of Environmental Justice is an online inventory of such ecological distribution conflicts based on scholarly and activist knowledge. It reached 3200 entries by July 2020 ( allowing research on such conflicts in the field of comparative, statistical political ecology. The EJAtlas is used for research but also for university teaching in the environmental social sciences and in business economics and management. It is a unique instrument co-produced with and supporting environmental movements. One can do comparative analyses on the social actors involved in the conflicts and their forms of mobilization, and also on the behaviour of private or public companies. Research may focus on countries or regions but also on cross-cultural topics such as gold and copper mining, sand mining, dams, eucalyptus or oil palm plantations, incinerators and other methods of waste disposal, coal fired power plants, gas fracking, nuclear reactors, CAFOs. Analyses are done also on the cross- cultural expressions (slogans, banners, documentaries, murals) of the conflicts gathered in the EJAtlas. The wealth of research coming from the EJAtlas gives an affirmative answer to the question: Is there a global environmental justice movement? Making old or emergent conflicts more visible contributes to placing political ecology at the centre of politics.


statistical political ecology; ecological distribution conflicts; vocabulary of environmental justice; EJAtlas; environmentalism of the poor; valuation contests; corporate social irresponsibility.


How to Cite

Martínez-Alier, J. (2020). A global environmental justice movement: mapping ecological distribution conflicts. Disjuntiva, 1(2), 81-126.

Comments are closed.