Environmental Disasters and Just Governance

Environmental disasters have immeasurable consequences for communities and ecosystems, however the term ‘disaster’ itself carries a political weight.

This project aims to investigate how the concept influences the local and global responses to large-scale immediate and long-term harm, and to explore alternative, and more just, means of conceptualising and governing these events. Grappling with the blurring of natural disasters and human-induced disasters, this project investigates how disasters intersect across the following: time (slow onset and immediate disasters); scale (local, regional, and global); magnitude (affecting contained versus global populations); jurisdiction (local, state, regional, and global); who it effects (which people, species); and how it can be governed (by states, non-state actors, corporations, international organisations). By interrogating how disasters are understood, framed, and responded to, a an understanding of the governance gaps can be revealed and responses posited for addressing the increase in disasters globally in a warming world.

As we shift to a rapidly changing world, we must be cognizant of who is affected and how, and whether concerns of justice should be fundamental to governing disaster responses.