The Subject of Environmental Justice in The Hole Story by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie

Environmental justice is something huge all throughout the world, and it has a significant impact on the environment and the citizens in the environment. Also, citizens in the environment are trying to fight for their rights and speak up. Taking the Hole Story, a documentary by Richard Desjardins into consideration, which talks about environmental justice and how mining companies impact the environment and the citizens in the environment. Also, how the mining companies release its chemicals and toxic minerals into the environment. Hundreds of people sacrifice their lives due to the chemicals released from the mining. This paper will focus on how the hole story is an environmental justice, are Bullard’s three types of equity present, the governance tensions present, and what are potential solutions.

Firstly, the hole story shows environmental Justice due to a significant amount of reasons. First reason, because of the mining companies there was a large number of deaths of the workers due to the fact that they would not have the appropriate gear on. So they would inhale the chemicals and ashes, which lead to the worker's deaths.  Another reason is that due to environmental justice the companies have replaced the workers with machines to save money, which lead the people, to be more precise the poor people to end up with no jobs. Also, the companies did not pay taxes for fifteen years and the government could not do anything in that case because the companies were for private companies. Which would mean that no laws are being broken by not paying taxes. Not paying taxes would break the justice between the companies and the citizens and also have an impact on them, because the government would use taxes paid to try and improve the community and environment. “, when a community feels they are not being fairly treated by global companies and the way they have arranged their tax affairs” (Duffield, 2015, pg, 24). The final reason is that the mining companies release all the waste and toxic chemicals into the environment and all these chemicals affect the lifespan of the people living near the mines. Therefore, environmental justice has a significant impact on the documentary and it is affecting the environment and the citizens.

Secondly, Bullard’s three types of equity are procedural equity, geographic equity, and social equity. Do these three equities apply to the documentary hole story? First Bullard’s equity that isn’t present is procedural equity, “the extent that governing rules, regulations, evaluation criteria, and enforcement are applied uniformly across the board and in a nondiscriminatory way” (Bullard, 2005, pg.436). that equity affects the citizens trying to solve a problem and get overpowered.  For example; in the documentary, the mining companies would release all the toxic chemicals into the environment such as lakes, oceans, and land. All these chemicals would evaporate and get into the air, which would turn the air into the polluted air and later on the chemicals would travel and harm the people that live near these mines. Eventually, the people that want to stand up for their rights would get overruled, because the mining companies would have more power than the citizens do. Second equity that would be shown is geographic equity, which refers to “refers to location and spatial configuration of communities and their proximity to environmental hazards, noxious facilities, and locally unwanted land uses (LULU s) such as landfills, incinerators, sewer treatment plants, lead smelters, refineries, and other noxious facilities” (Bullard, 2005, pg.436). This is represented because the mining companies mine in places that have communities present close by and they didn’t take that into considerations. The last equity which is also present is social equity, which “assesses the role of sociological factors (race, ethnicity, class, culture, lifestyles, political power, etc.)” (Bullard, 2005, pg.436). So, according to the peoples class and the location they live in, lower class people that can’t afford to live in the cities live in small communities where the companies mine. Therefore, two of the three equities apply to the documentary; geological and social equity.

Finally, in the hole story, governance tension was present for example; present versus future, and private versus public. First governance tension is present versus future, known as “environment & sustainability” (Burtons slide 6). This relates to the documentary because the mining companies mine and form chemicals, which has an impact on the environment and stability issues. The second tension is the private versus public, referred to as “competing economic approaches” (Burtons slide 6). This tension shows how the mining companies are private and they can’t break any law of the government by not paying taxes for a long period of time and that all affects the community and the environment. Also, how the government is trying to make the mining companies pay, while at the same time they want to keep the industry. many potential solutions to solving the problems are present, one of the solutions could be for the mining companies to find a new place and dispose the chemicals they have there and try to ignore disposing of it in places where people live and in the environment such as lakes, rivers, oceans, and land. To conclude, the documentary does have governance tension and has solutions to the problems.

In conclusion, Environmental justice is a significant role that plays in the community and many harmful and dangerous impacts are present that it could cause. Environmental justice plays a big role in the documentary the hole story. Two of three Bullard’s types of equity are shown like; social and geological equity.  Also, there is governance tension present in the documentary and many potential solutions that could solve the problem present.

Work Cited

  1. Bullard, Robert D.. (2005). Debating the Earth: the environmental politics reader. Oxford ; Toronto: Oxford University Press. (pp. 431-449).
  2. Burton, Wendy. 2018. “Political Institutions & the            Policy Process.” Class Lecture, Governance tensions, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON. October 13, 2018
  3. Duffield, Devon (2015). Responsible Tax For The Common Good. South Africa; South African Institute of Chartered Accountants; South Africa. (pg, 24-26)

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