Rethinking remediation: Mine reclamation, environmental justice, and relations of care

Beckett, Caitlynn and Keeling, Arn (2018) Rethinking remediation: Mine reclamation, environmental justice, and relations of care. Local Environment, 24 (3). pp. 216-230. ISSN 1469-6711

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To date, research on mine remediation in North America has focused primarily on technical management; relatively less is known about the historical, political and social dimensions of remediation. Remediation, as a continuation of the mining process, alters local landscapes and economies and can be both dangerous and beneficial for surrounding communities. Because remediation projects tend to focus on the technical aspects of clean-up, such projects risk overlooking the environmental injustices associated with past development and obscuring blame or responsibility from industry and government for environmental degradation. Insofar as it is understood as cleaning up or repairing environmental damage, remediation is generally seen as “doing the good” and is less amenable to political or ethical challenges based on community concerns or values. This paper argues that greater attention needs to be paid to public participation and justice concerns associated with cleaning up mine sites. Drawing from the literatures on ecological restoration, environmental justice, reconciliation, discard studies, and matters of care, we highlight critical, yet overlooked issues in the remediation of post-mining landscapes. We argue that remediation projects present a unique opportunity for the negotiation and articulation of morals, values, histories, and physical experiences associated with mine sites and we seek to re-frame remediation as an ongoing, creative process of community healing.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 13771
Keywords: Mine remediation, restoration, environmental justice, reconciliation, matters of care
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 14 December 2018
Date Type: Publication
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