The Environmentalism of the Poor


The Environmentalism of the Poor

A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation

9781840649093 Edward Elgar Publishing
Joan Martínez-Alier, Professor of Economics and Economic History, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, Recipient of the Balzan Prize in 2020 and the Holberg Prize in 2023
Publication Date: 2002 ISBN: 978 1 84064 909 3 Extent: 328 pp
The Environmentalism of the Poor has the explicit intention of helping to establish two emerging fields of study – political ecology and ecological economics – whilst also investigating the relations between them.

Copyright & permissions

Recommend to librarian

Your Details

Privacy Policy

Librarian Details

Download leaflet

Print page

More Information
Critical Acclaim
More Information
The Environmentalism of the Poor has the explicit intention of helping to establish two emerging fields of study – political ecology and ecological economics – whilst also investigating the relations between them.

The book analyses several manifestations of the growing ‘environmental justice movement’, and also of ‘popular environmentalism’ and the ‘environmentalism of the poor’, which will be seen in the coming decades as driving forces in the process to achieve an ecologically sustainable society. The author studies, in detail, many ecological distribution conflicts in history and at present, in urban and rural settings, showing how poor people often favour resource conservation. The environment is thus not so much a luxury of the rich as a necessity of the poor. It concludes with the fundamental questions: who has the right to impose a language of valuation and who has the power to simplify complexity?

Joan Martinez-Alier combines the study of ecological conflicts and the study of environmental valuation in a totally original approach that will appeal to a wide cross-section of academics, ecologists and environmentalists.
Critical Acclaim
‘This is a wonderful book – rich in empirical detail, full of theoretical insights, offering hope in a bleak world, altogether inspiring. . . a tremendous achievement of having helped to create the disciplines of ecological economics and political ecology, bringing them alive in this book, and making their insights available to the developing worldwide movement for environmental justice.’
– Pat Devine, Environmental Values

‘Any book by the ecological economist Joan Martinez-Alier is a Big Publishing Event. . . this is a book by a writer who loves his subject, knows it well, respects its history, and is driven by the desire to do justice. These are qualities enough to send you to the bookshop or the library in search of The Environmentalism of the Poor.’
– Andrew Dobson, Environment Politics

‘The book is a worthy and in-depth contribution to debates about political ecology and ecological economics. It should be read by all environmental and ecological economists who wish to make their analysis more relevant.’
– Tim Forsyth, Progress in Development Studies

‘A marvellous combination of insight, research and activism. . . A must-read for policymakers, practitioners and academics alike, and for anyone concerned with sustainable development, environmentalism or poverty alleviation.’
– Human Ecology Journal

‘. . . one of the most important environmental books to have been published recently. Martinez-Alier integrates two of the most significant areas of environmental theory – political ecology and ecological economics.’
– Eurig Scandrett, Friends of the Earth Scotland

‘The book has three main strengths: its bibliography, which is extensive; the global perspective on the environmental movement and the relationship with poverty; and the general theme of this interdisciplinary work, which is not so much to provide new information, but to consider the existing information in a new light. Martinez-Alier is to be commended for taking such a step in the literature . . . the writing style is extremely approachable . . . Recommended.’
– B.J. Peterson, Choice

‘[Joan] Martinez-Alier combines the honest discipline of a scholar with the passionate energy of an activist. The result, The Environmentalism of the Poor, is highly recommended!’
– Herman E. Daly, University of Maryland, College Park, US
Contents: Preface 1. Currents of Environmentalism 2. Ecological Economics: ‘Taking Nature into Account’ 3. Indices of (Un) Sustainability, and Neo-Malthusianism 4. Political Ecology: The Study of Ecological Distribution Conflicts 5. Mangroves Versus Shrimps 6. The Environmentalism of the Poor: Gold, Oil, Forests, Rivers, Biopiracy 7. Indicators of Urban Unsustainability as Indicators of Social Conflict 8. Environmental Justice in the United States and South Africa 9. The State and Other Actors 10. The Ecological Debt 11. On the Relations between Political Ecology and Ecological Economics Bibliography Index
eBook for individuals
978 1 84376 548 6
From $59.96
Click here for options
eBook for library purchase
978 1 84376 548 6
View sample chapter and check access on:
eBook options

Available for individuals to buy from these websites

Or recommend to your institution to acquire on Elgaronline
  • Buy as part of an eBook subject collection - flexible options available
  • Downloading and printing allowed
  • No limits on concurrent user access, ideal for course use

Latest publications

My Cart