'Mask Off' - The Coloniality of Environmental Justice

33 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2018 Last revised: 15 Apr 2020

See all articles by Nadia Ahmad

Nadia Ahmad

Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law

Date Written: July 5, 2018


This Article suggests a paradigmatic reversal in the sociolegal conceptualization of environmental justice and seeks to expand the notion of environmental justice to a disaster risk reduction modality. This legal narrative chronicles how those with power and wealth govern the lives, fortunes, and health of those on the bottom rungs through discriminatory environmental policies. I explore case studies of sudden onset water hazard events, energy access, and the use of advanced biofuels in the localities of Puerto Rico, Pakistan, and the Philippines to show the problematic configurations of environmental justice. These examples elucidate how environmental justice is perceived and how the legal framework for environmental justice is marginalized. In turn, I recommend reframing environmental justice through the lens of the Anibal Quijano’s “coloniality of power” and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction by the United Nations. This Article is a fourth in a series on advanced biofuels and environmental justice. Previously, I examined international dimensions in Blood Biofuels (Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum), federal efforts in Resiliency and Responsive Regulation for Advanced Biofuels (Virginia Environmental Law Journal), and municipal initiatives in Energy for Metropolis (University of Miami Law Review).

Keywords: environmental justice, transmodernity, environmental law, energy law, natural resources law, biofuels

Suggested Citation

Ahmad, Nadia, 'Mask Off' - The Coloniality of Environmental Justice (July 5, 2018). Widener Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3209074

Nadia Ahmad (Contact Author)

Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law ( email )

6441 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32807
United States

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