(by Boshra Yazahmeidi)
The Environmental Justice Atlas, also known as EJAtlas, is an interactive database housing a wealth of information about ecological conflicts worldwide, through an accessible, colourful, and easy-to-use map. You can access the map via: https://ejatlas.org/
The developers have defined ecological conflicts to be those led by mobilised communities and social movements against economic activity, infrastructure development, or waste disposal whereby environmental impacts are the key element of grievance. As resources move through the extraction, processing, and disposal phases of the commodity chain, negative environmental impacts are often imposed on the most marginalised communities, far from the eyes of the concerned citizen and end-product consumer.
This is one of purposes of the EJAtlas – awareness raising and making environmental injustice more visible. It is also an invaluable tool for researchers, journalists, activists, and campaigners, who can use the database to find reference cases, explore patterns, and analyse successful or unsuccessful campaigns. Beyond that, it serves as a networking tool that can connect groups working on similar issues or against the same corporate actor.
How does the map work?
The ecological conflicts have been categorised across ten major issues: nuclear; mineral ores and building extractives; waste management; biomass and land conflicts; fossil fuels and climate justice; water management; infrastructure and built environment; tourism recreation; biodiversity conservation conflicts; and industrial and utilities conflicts.
Click on any of the above issues and the map filters its icons to signal every incident in every country across the globe where a related conflict has taken place, but only to the extent that it has been reported to EJAtlas and has been verified by its team of collaborators. Each of those icons contain information pertaining to basic country data, a history of the project causing conflict, the project investors, the project impacts, the action taken by the community, and the outcome of action taken. Pictures, videos, and references to relevant legislation and academic research are also included. Users can apply a number of filters to tailor the map to their interests.
How can I contribute?
One limitation of this database lies with the variable quality of information available. As such, users of the database are encouraged to comment on existing conflicts with any updated information that they may have from the ground. A comments section exists after the presentation of each case of conflict. The comments section can also be used to start a discussion forum.
Another limitation is the extent of coverage of conflict. Only conflicts known to the collaborators of the EJAtlas, and those directly reported to it and investigated, are presented on the map. Therefore, users of the database are also encouraged to create an account through which they can notify EJAtlas of ecological conflicts that have not been placed on the map.
The map can easily be shared through social media. Users are therefore encouraged to share the maps and website as much as possible to raise awareness of environmental injustice. There is also a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ejolt) and a newsletter that users can subscribe to (http://eeb.us2.list-manage.com/profile?u=19d3da1852472c315fcece5dd&id=458e018126&e=).
The EJAtlas is a primary outcome of the Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT) project, supported by the European Commission, which aims to bring science and society together to catalogue and analyse ecological distribution conflicts and confront environmental injustice. You can visit their webpage via: http://www.ejolt.org/