Concrete jungles : urban pollution and the politics of by Rivke Jaffe

By Rivke Jaffe

Within the well known mind's eye, the Caribbean islands signify tropical paradise. This photo, which pulls hundreds of thousands of holiday makers to the zone every year, underlies the efforts of many environmentalists to guard Caribbean coral reefs, mangroves, and rainforests. in spite of the fact that, a depressing part to Caribbean environmentalism lies past the tourist's view in city components the place the islands' poorer voters be afflicted by publicity to rubbish, untreated sewage, and pollution.

Concrete Jungles explores the explanations why those concerns are typically overlooked, demonstrating how mainstream environmentalism displays and reproduces category and race inequalities. in accordance with over a decade of analysis in Kingston, Jamaica and Willemstad, Curaçao, Rivke Jaffe contrasts the environmentalism of principally middle-class pros with the environmentalism of inner-city citizens. The ebook combines a cosmopolitan dialogue of the politics of distinction with wealthy ethnographic element, together with brilliant depictions of Caribbean ghettos and elite enclaves. Jaffe additionally extends her research past ethnographic study, trying to comprehend the function of colonial heritage in shaping the present tendencies in toxins and concrete house.

A thorough research of the hidden inequalities of mainstream environmentalism, Concrete Jungles provides a political ecology of city pollutants with major implications for the way forward for environmentalism.

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While a system of plantations developed on Curaçao, the semi-​arid climate meant that export-​based agriculture was never the economic mainstay. Instead, the colony developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as an important transshipment hub for legal and illegal inter-​imperial trade, including the slave trade with South America; enslaved Africans passed through the island in transit to Spanish colonies or were made to work for the WIC. In addition to Dutch Protestant settlers and enslaved Africans, Curaçao’s population in this period also included Sephardic Jews who had fled the Catholic Inquisition in previously Dutch parts of Brazil.

It presents a broader comparative framework for understanding Willemstad and Kingston, emphasizing the historical trajectories that have shaped them in the present. In addition to marking the parallels and “Caribbean” characteristics that these two cities display, I elaborate on the contrasts between the two cases and flesh out the implications they have for analyzing urban pollution in relation to differentiations of race, class, and space. The chapter starts with an overview of the region’s historical urban development, exploring what the parameters of a Caribbean urbanism might be.

Another common complaint was the dust, which was a result not of the dump itself but of the garbage trucks that drove back and forth over the dusty, unpaved road all day. This dust, which could get “very wicked,” made everything dirty and caused respiratory ailments. The dump was plagued by regular fires that sometimes raged for weeks, caused by spontaneous combustion or sometimes lit by residents, and the smoke from the burning garbage also presented serious health hazards. Residents were, obviously, aware of these hazards; as Mosiah, a young Rasta farmer, summed it up: “Chemicals come out, toxic waste and germs, it’s not good for your health.

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