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EJ Atlas tutorial

In this video, Dr Iokine Rodriguez demonstrates the Environmental Justice Atlas - a tool that documents social conflict around environmental issues.
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Welcome to the Environmental Justice Atlas. In this video, I will be explaining to you how to use this internet tool. As you will see, it is very simple and easy tool to use. The dots you see in the world map that appears on the left side of the page are a representation of all the conflict recorded to the Atlas, with different colors assigned to different types of conflicts. As shown on the top right side of the page, at the time of filming, there were over 2,000 conflicts documented. Looking down from that side of the page you will see that the Atlas can be consulted through six main categories.
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If you click on legend you will see that the Atlas is organised in ten primary categories according to the types of conflicts, each represented by colored icon. For instance, yellow is conflicts over nuclear energy, orange is conflicts over mining, brown is waste-management conflicts, and so on. By clicking in each one of the icons the map will automatically show you the geographical location of the total of conflicts found under that category. If you move down to the ‘Browse maps’ tab, you can start consulting the map in a more refined way, according to country, the company involved, the commodity involved and the type of conflict.
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For instance, if you click by type we can see that over 50 different types of conflicts have been sub-categorised from the ten global categories mentioned before. The first on the list is land acquisition conflicts, of which, as you can see, there are over 500 cases on the atlas. This shows that land acquisition, sometimes referred to as land grabs, is one of the issues of greatest contention globally. Other categories include mineral or exploration, where there are almost 400 cases, dams and water distribution conflicts, with more than 300 cases, deforestation conflicts, with almost 300 cases, and so on.
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If you click, for instance, on deforestation in this list, the Atlas will show on the map the location each one of the conflicts listed on that subcategory. If you click on a specific case, for instance aerial fumigation with glyphosate in the Putumayo, Colombia, it will take you to its information page, where you can learn all about the conflict and the moralisation strategies used and their impact. You can also visit specific cases by clicking on the case on the map. Let us use the same Colombian case as an example. The first thing is to locate it on the map. So click home, which is top left on the screen and zoom in on the area you’re interested in.
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Our case is here in the southern border with Ecuador. When you click on the case, a box will pop up with some general information. If you click on ‘see more’ you will arrive at a detailed case study. Each case generally has some images in the top of the page, then a description of the conflict. Beneath this you can find basic data about the case, from the country and the site. Scrolling down, you can see information about the source of conflict, project details and actors, the conflict and immobilisation, impacts and outcome. In the outcomes section, you can see the question - “do you consider this a case of success?”
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In this particular case, the answer is yes because the project was stopped. And finally, if you’re interested in learning more about conflicts, you can consult the sources and materials section at the bottom of the right-hand panel, which includes legislation, links to newspapers, articles web pages, etc. You can also browse the Atlas by country and company. If you go back to the home page and click on the ‘Browse maps’ tab again, if you click on company, for example, you will see that there are over 30 conflicts documented just involving the Chevron company around the world.
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Additionally to the ‘Browse maps’ tab, you can use the Atlas with a filter tab, located above the ‘Browse maps’ tab to combine categories according to specific information you might be interested in analysing. Also, by clicking on the drop-down maps menu found on the top left corner of the page, you can consult any of the featured maps that have been produced with information existent in the Atlas. Featured maps are a collection of similar conflicts that put into context and explain in greater detail some of the driving forces and dynamics behind them.
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The map, for instance, called ‘Fracking Frenzy’, done in conjunction with Friends of the Earth, refers to fracking conflicts at a global scale, but there are other regional and local maps like, for instance, the map on mining conflicts in Latin America, or the map of environmental justice in Himachal Pradesh, India. So as you can see there are many different ways you can use the Environmental Justice Atlas to get an idea of how social movements and communities are mobilising across the world. One of the most valuable things about the Atlas is that it’s a public tool that has been produced in collaboration with movements, networks, groups and people across the world.
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In this sense, it’s a very good example of coproduction of knowledge between academic and activists. If you want to, you also can be part of the EJ Atlas. If you have information of a case that has not been uploaded, which you think should be in the Atlas, all you have to do is register and start uploading it.
In this video, Iokine walks you through the EJ Atlas web tool.
By the end of this tutorial you will have the knowledge to explore the EJ Atlas and find out more about thousands of documented environmental justice struggles.
In the next step you will be encouraged to explore the EJ Atlas yourself, so pay close attention!
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