Resisting Global Toxics

From Urban and Industrial Environments

Resisting Global Toxics

Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice

By David Naguib Pellow

Examines the export of hazardous wastes to poor communities of color around the world and charts the global social movements that challenge them.





Examines the export of hazardous wastes to poor communities of color around the world and charts the global social movements that challenge them.

Every year, nations and corporations in the “global North” produce millions of tons of toxic waste. Too often this hazardous material—inked to high rates of illness and death and widespread ecosystem damage—is exported to poor communities of color around the world. In Resisting Global Toxics, David Naguib Pellow examines this practice and charts the emergence of transnational environmental justice movements to challenge and reverse it. Pellow argues that waste dumping across national boundaries from rich to poor communities is a form of transnational environmental inequality that reflects North/South divisions in a globalized world, and that it must be theorized in the context of race, class, nation, and environment. Building on environmental justice studies, environmental sociology, social movement theory, and race theory, and drawing on his own research, interviews, and participant observations, Pellow investigates the phenomenon of global environmental inequality and considers the work of activists, organizations, and networks resisting it. He traces the transnational waste trade from its beginnings in the 1980s to the present day, examining global garbage dumping, the toxic pesticides that are the legacy of the Green Revolution in agriculture, and today's scourge of dumping and remanufacturing high tech and electronics products. The rise of the transnational environmental movements described in Resisting Global Toxics charts a pragmatic path toward environmental justice, human rights, and sustainability.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262162449 358 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 3 figures; 3 tables; 2 box illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262662017 358 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 3 figures; 3 tables; 2 box illus.


  • This is the book many of us have been waiting for. While linking the global South and North, and drawing from a deep well of activist, academic, legal, and regulatory literatures, Pellow interrogates the unequal and deeply racialized relations embedded in the trading and dumping of hazardous wastes in poor communities and communities of color. Through critical advocacy research, he also charts the increasing sophistication of the resistance, namely the emerging transnational environmental justice movement networks, who are using a rights-based discourse to mobilize across national borders, and along racial, cultural, and class lines.

    Julian Agyeman

    Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University

  • David Pellow has written a book that brings together a sophisticated understanding of the global economic system and the evolving transnational environmental justice movement. His study treats race and class seriously and non-reductively. Anyone who wants to understand the forces that are shaping our understanding of environmentalism should turn to this book.

    Gerald Torres

    Co-author, The Miner"s Canary, Bryant Smith Chair, University of Texas Law School

  • Resisting Global Toxics provides a path breaking synthesis of the intersection of health, environment, and justice impacts of industrialization in the era of globalization. The book provides a rich blend of theoretical and activist perspectives and highlights the role of NGOs that are working to fill in the gaps in the absence of effective global governance. By drawing on his research and participation with grass roots groups, David Pellow is able to document a compelling and grounded form of global citizenship through the prism of race and class consciousness. He shows how local and transnational groups around the world are strategically addressing the full life-cycle impacts of globalizationfrom hazardous production through hazardous waste disposal. As he says, 'transnational environmental justice offenses require transnational responses'. This book provides authentic and compelling examples of such responses that are making real impacts.

    Ted Smith

    founder and Senior Strategist, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; Coordinator of International Campaign for Responsible Technology


  • Finalist, 2007 C. Wright Mills Award given by the Society for the Study of Social Problems