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Concrete JunglesUrban Pollution and the Politics of Difference in the Caribbean$
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Rivke Jaffe

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190273583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190273583.001.0001

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Uptown Environmentalism

Uptown Environmentalism

6 (p.108) Uptown Environmentalism
Concrete Jungles

Rivke Jaffe

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on how environmental professionals’ socio-economic and ethno-racial positioning colors their environmentalism. “Uptown environmentalism” is concerned with green environmental issues such as biodiversity and the marine environment. Urban environmental problems such as air pollution, sewage, and garbage tend to feature peripherally, if at all. This focus is analyzed in relation to the class and ethno-racial composition of these organizations, many of which are headed by either foreigners or largely light-skinned members of the middle class. This green focus reflects the importance of tourism to Caribbean governments and business elites, with a green environmental agenda being pushed by global stakeholders and funding. In addition, environmental concern is increasingly a symbolic marker of class distinction. Discursively, NGO and governmental environmental campaigns draw on national naturalisms that frame the islands as pure, unspoiled tropical landscapes and the environment as something that needs to be protected from poor people and their problems.

Keywords:   social movements, conservation, biodiversity, wilderness, race, class, elites, tourism, epistemic culture, paternalism

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