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Energy Solutions, Neo-Liberalism, and Social Diversity in Toronto, Canada

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 16:05 by Cheryl Teelucksingh, Blake Poland
In response to the dominance of green capitalist discourses in Canada’s environmental movement, in this paper, we argue that strategies to improve energy policy must also provide mechanisms to address social conflicts and social disparities. Environmental justice is proposed as an alternative to mainstream environmentalism, one that seeks to address systemic social and spatial exclusion encountered by many racialized immigrants in Toronto as a result of neo-liberal and green capitalist municipal policy and that seeks to position marginalized communities as valued contributors to energy solutions. We examine Toronto-based municipal state initiatives aimed at reducing energy use while concurrently stimulating growth (specifically, green economy/green jobs and ‘smart growth’). By treating these as instruments of green capitalism, we illustrate the utility of environmental justice applied to energy-related problems and as a means to analyze stakeholders’ positions in the context of neo-liberalism and green capitalism, and as opening possibilities for resistance.

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