Environmental justice and the origin of Chilean Revolt

Enrique Aliste,

Universidad De Chile, Chile

Chile, as a great part of Latin American (LA) countries, is an economy strongly dependent on commodities. Copper, forest production, fisheries, lithium, agribusiness, between others, is the base of the GDP and at the same time, the origin of a several conflicts between communities and companies.

In the last 30 years, the emergence of a new conception of the environmental rights and demands about quality of life, human rights, development, justice, etc., in an extreme neoliberal context, in addition with a scenario of risk disaster vulnerability (earthquakes, volcano eruptions, drought and climate change, tsunamis, land flows, pollution, water scarcity, etc.) has been an important reason for the social reaction and organization.

The collective action in different social context has facilitate the October 2019 Chilean Revolt. Certainly the cause of environmental justice is not the center of the revolt, but in an exploration about organized groups and collective action, is maybe one of the most important demands with future perspectives: the water property rights, the access of commons, the question about the extractivism dependence, the vulnerability on climate change, between others.

In this context, several questions its emerging from the analysis of collective action organized in Chile, and one plausible question is why the environmental collective action is not strongly based on the popular social movements? Does it’s mean a certain relation or perception with an elitization of the environmental discourses and actions?

In this paper, we discussing about how green discourses and practices coming from the global north has influenced the public perceptions about the environmental problems and actions, exploring the socio-environmental conflicts, projects and actions in Chile, for thinking and debating about the collective actions and the role of the environmental justice in the global south.