Environmental Mobilities: An Alternative Lens to Global Environmental Governance

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8 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the relations between movement, the environment, and governance through the cases of cruise tourism, plastics in the oceans, and environmental migration. It does so by means of a mobilities perspective, which has its origins in sociology and geography. This perspective shifts the analytical focus toward mobilities and environmental problems to understand their governance, as opposed to starting with governance, as many global environmental governance studies do. We coin the term environmental mobilities to refer to the movements of human and nonhuman entities and the environmental factors and impacts associated with these. Environmental mobilities include movements impacting on the environment, movements shaped by environmental factors, and harmful environmental flows, as we illustrate by means of the three cases. We demonstrate how zooming in on the social, material, temporal, and spatial characteristics of these environmental mobilities can help illuminate governance gaps and emerging governance practices that better match their mobile nature. In particular, a mobilities lens helps to understand and capture environmental issues that move, change form, and fluctuate in their central problematique and whose governance is not (yet) highly or centrally institutionalized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-126
JournalGlobal Environmental Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

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