Keynote: Gordon Walker “Environmental justice in space and time: opening up temporalities”

The EnJust workshop Kiel 2019 was opened with a keynote speech by Gordon Walker (Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK), one of the leading geographers in the field of environmental justice.

His lecture entitled “Environmental justice in space and time: opening up temporalities” highlighted the temporality of justice issues. While the various spatial components of environmental justice have already been considered in detail (e.g. spatial distribution of environmental costs, geography of vulnerability or responsibility), temporal patterns of environmental crises have so far been largely ignored. For example, many social consequences of environmental problems can be described as a form of slow violence, a subtle form of social violence that is only effective over long periods of time and is difficult to detect and even harder to prove. In addition, the rhythms of social life must also be given more attention in order to analyse in what way, for example, certain population groups are particularly exposed to certain negative environmental factors (e.g. particulate matter pollution from commuters) through their routines in the area of action alone. With his plea for greater time sensitivity, Walker opens up a whole new dimension in the analysis of environmental justice issues.