Environmental justice: integrating science and social movements

Gabriel Eduardo Schütz Ary Carvalho de Miranda William Waissman

This issue of Revista Ciência e Saúde Coletiva is dedicated to the Health & Environment topic, by virtue of the staging of the II Brazilian Symposium on Health and the Environment (II SIBSA), organized by the Thematic Group on Health and Environment of the Brazilian Association of Public Health (Abrasco), to be held in October 2014 in the city of Belo Horizonte.

Sharing different know-how for the creation of a fairer environment and health scenario is the challenge of II SIBSA, where social movements and academia, with ideological clarity and clearly defined political stances, will discuss alternative proposals to the current dominant models, based on the core theme of Development, Territorial and Health Conflicts: Science and Social Movements for Environmental Justice in Public Policy.

The existing models encroach on ecosystems, commercialize local goods, generate profound unequal accumulation of wealth, as well as plunder environments, impacting lives and causing social conflicts. Consequences are felt in the health-disease process, with serious implications on welfare, sickness, life and death, especially in the most vulnerable social groups, such as indigenous tribes, quilombola communities, traditional communities, farmers, low-income workers, residents of treacherous areas in the fields, forests, waters and towns.

Another component of the prevailing scenario is that of the production of scientific knowledge. The dominant model of science suffers from the same mercantilist orientation in which the imposed productivism is translated by a fragmentation of objects, included therein nature, health and life. Thus, we consider it important for Public Health to discuss the direction of technoscience from an alternative perspective, which contemplates the shared production of knowledge, guided by the needs of society and not by those of the market.

Finally, it is important to stress the precepts of human rights, environmental justice and public policy. These are issues that need to underpin analyses of the territoriality of social collectives, the consequences of deregulation of the state and making the labor market more flexible. It will thus enable the discussion of alternatives to the dominant model and the violence in the countryside and in the city associated with it. The state has not reduced the conflicts generated by this model, or protected the fundamental rights of the populations most affected. On the contrary, the socio-environmental crisis, when acknowledged, is marked by attempts to resolve it by instruments that do not prioritize ruptures with environmentally disastrous accumulation processes. What usually happens is the stimulus for the mercantile production of economically more efficient energy.

II SIBSA will be the joint result of social movements and academia, which we believe will be the alternative moment that may herald the introduction of the necessary changes.

Gabriel Eduardo Schütz, Ary Carvalho de Miranda, William Waissman

Guest editors

ABRASCO - Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: revscol@fiocruz.br