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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 7, Issue 2, Fall 2010

Ecotourism and Environmental Justice

Kyle Powys Whyte
Pages 75-92

An Ethics of Recognition for Environmental Tourism Practices

Environmental tourism is a growing practice in indigenous communities worldwide. As members of indigenous communities, what environmental justice framework should we use to evaluate these practices? I argue that, while some of the most relevant and commonly discussed norms are fair compensation and participative justice, we should also follow Robert Figueroa’s claim that “recognition justice” is relevant for environmental justice. I claim that from Figueroa’s analysis there is a “norm of direct participation,” which requires all environmental tourism practices to feature a forum for meaningful representation and consideration. This claim motivates a distinction between practices that should be termed “mutually advantageous exploitation” and those that should be termed “environmental coalition development.” We need to ask ourselves whether we should continue to tolerate mutually advantageous exploitation and how we can increase the number of practices that develop coalitions.

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