Accepted paper:

Ecological exploitation on indigenous peoples' land


Rosa Enn (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Environmental exploitation and ecological colonialism are global issues of environmental injustice. In particular indigenous people are concerned by that degrading treatment. In some cases reparation and compensation are paid, but unfortunately the damage caused by contamination isn't irreversible.

Paper long abstract:

Indigenous peoples' land seems to be very attractive to economic enterprises and political actors. There are a number of reasons for this. On the one hand, these lands are in several cases rich of ecological resources, such as teak, water, oil, gas, minerals and other natural resources. On the other hand, the land is inhabited by indigenous people who, in many cases, don't enjoy the same political, social and civil rights as the majority does and is therefore in weaker position to resist exploitation of their territory. Environmental pollution caused by dumping of toxic waste, which is produced by industrial activities can be defined as ecological exploitation. Often indigenous people, exposed to exploitation and environmental pollution don't have political means to defend theirselves and to improve their living conditions. However, there are also examples of successful activism and empowerment by the indigenous themselves. For example, on Taiwanese Orchid Island, the indigenous Dao didn't accept the dumping of nuclear waste onto their homeland. They mobilized themselves and took action successfully against unjust policies. Consequently, Taiwan's Government and major companies are today paying compensation for the Dao. Other examples of ecological colonialism include gas and oil exploitation on arctic indigenous territories, exploitation of indigenous lands in the Amazon regions, pollution caused by mining systems all around the world, etc. The unjust exploitation of environment and ecological colonialism are global issues that need to be tackled. Long lasting ecological exploitation with its negative influence on indigenous cultures and the contamination of nature cannot simply be solved with compensation payments.

panel P313
Practices of environmental justice: negotiating the relation between the social and the ecological sphere