Transformative environmental justice (EnJUSTICE)

Climate mitigation measures often fail to include small(er) countries, Indigenous people, and local citizens by not incorporating their social systems, values, and ways of knowing in policy development.

This contrasts with the principle of Nordic openness traditionally followed in Nordic political culture by engaging stakeholders in public policy implementation. The expansion of EU laws into more areas of national and regional governance also challenges this strand of regional political culture.

Additionally, national political institutions are also poorly aligned with the cross-border, global, and long-term impacts of environmental degradation. In sum, current power imbalances and unequal representation make a just energy transition extremely challenging.

A just transition by greening the Nordics in an equitable way through democratic engagement and citizen-involvement has pushed its way into mainstream environmental debates, policy discourses, and is now a feature of Nordic strategies. However, policy debates have been criticized for framing the process in a techno-managerial manner.

A legitimate and just decision-making process for the energy transition anticipates a representative system centering public engagement and the deliberation of all stakeholders, regionally, and across borders aligned with the Nordic-Baltic aspiration to include all citizens in the green transition.

The Transitional Environmental Justice (EnJUSTICE) research project aspires to bring the voices of excluded/marginalized communities (including Indigenous and grassroots local communities) in Greenland, Lithuania, and Sápmi into the Nordic-Baltic green transition strategy debate. The proposed project investigates forms of democratic engagement with the explicit aim of balancing the unequal distribution of power between Indigenous and grassroots local communities and powerful stakeholders in formulating key policies toward fossil-free energy production in the region. We will partner with Indigenous and local grassroots communities in Greenland, Lithuania, and Sápmi to understand how their struggles for environmental justice may inform one another and help the Nordic approach to green transition into a holistic understanding of environmental justice informed by community-based and decolonial action.