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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 7, Issue 2, Fall 2010

Ecotourism and Environmental Justice

Robert Melchior Figueroa, Gordon Waitt
Pages 135-163

Climb
Restorative Justice, Environmental Heritage, and the Moral Terrains of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

Recent decades have brought environmental justice studies to a much broader analysis and new areas of concern. We take this increased depth and breadth of environmental justice further by considering restorative justice, with a particular emphasis on reconciliation efforts between indigenous and non-indigenous citizens. Our focus is on the reconciliation efforts taken by the indigenous/non-indigenous jointmanagement structure of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Using a framework of restorative justice within a bivalent environmental justice approach, we consider the current management policies at the Park, particularly as it pertains to the controversial climb of the rock, Uluṟu. Our exploration of restorative environmental justice depends upon narrative analysis of embodied ecotourism affects in order to determine the capacity and obstacles of reconciliation efforts in the current management policy. Interviews with tourists from the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area supply us with cases that provide affective experiences and a postcolonial narrative analysis of touring practices that we argue are imbued with nationalism and colonial naturalism that must be transformed in order to meet the requests of the Park’s traditional indigenous owners. We argue that restorative justice, within a bivalent environmental justice framework that already emphasizes other distributive and recognition measures, is vital for overcoming these obstacles for Australian environmental heritage.

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