Telling the Right Story: Environmental Violence and Liberation Narratives
Half a century ago, Silent Spring showed the world how violence against living and non-living matter, by way of petrochemcial contamination, is related to violence against humans. This is a fundamental lesson of twentieth century environmental thinking, I argue, that environmental historians should carry with them into the twenty-first. The first part of the paper draws attention on the category of environmental violence.
I argue that environmental degradation and social inequality have common historical roots, lying within the sphere of corporate and/or State 'development' policies, premised on the production of sacrifice zones and disposable bodies. Environmental violence, in other words, acts according to configurations of environmental injustice.
In the second part, I call attention on the ways in which industrial development in post-war Europe has produced certain forms of environmental violence which have deeply affected human and non-human life in a multitude of places, and offer some insights into how this could be analysed by environmental historians.