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Environmental Values

Environmental Victims: Arguing the Costs

Christopher Williams

Environmental Values 6(1997): 3-30. doi: 10.3197/096327197776679194

The costs of anthropogenic environmental change are usually discussed in broad terms, for example embracing damage to the ecosystem or buildings. There has been little consideration of the direct human dimension - the cost to and of environmental victims - except in clinical terms.

In order to prevent and minimise environmental victimisation it seems necessary to present cost arguments to governments and commerce. This paper outlines the personal, social and cash costs of environmental victimisation, using the psycho-social literature, and brief case studies of intellectual disability, road transport and cross-border pollution. It is proposed that governments and commerce might not respond in obvious ways to these cost arguments, but 'trust' is identified as a cost that both may recognise. It is concluded that the concept of loss-costs should be central to any analysis, and the paper provides a 'Framework for comprehensive argument of the costs of environmental victimisation', in the form of a simple matrix.

KEYWORDS: Environmental justice, environmental victims, environmental economics, environmental costs, intellectual disability

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