Greenwashing the settler way: Sara Salazar Hughes, Stepha Velednitsky, Amelia Arden Green, Amelia Arden Green, ‘Greenwashing in Palestine/Israel: Settler colonialism and environmental injustice in the age of climate catastrophe’, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 2022


Abstract: Israeli innovations in “green” technology are ostensibly aimed at sustainable resource management and climate change mitigation. But sustainable development and environmental (in)justice in Palestine/Israel need to be examined through interdisciplinary perspectives that account for the broader settler colonial and neoliberal contexts in which they occur. Taking into account the historical and geographic context of Israel’s scientific development, we argue that Israel’s green technologies are fundamentally structured by the Zionist project of appropriating Palestinian lands. Within settler colonial analysis, environmental injustice comprises part of a broader pattern of settler domination of Indigenous ecological relations, requiring attending not to ‘equity’ in relations with the state and environment but a reckoning with settler privilege and the return of land to Indigenous communities. We analyze the use of environmental infrastructures—specifically in the areas of waste management, renewable energy, and agricultural technologies (“agritech”)—as mechanisms for land appropriation and dispossession in Palestine/Israel. Our analysis of ‘greenwashing’ as a rhetorical strategy asserts that regardless of the ecological impact of individual technologies, in Israel’s settler colonial context they further indigenous dispossession and elimination and are therefore incommensurable with long-term socio-ecological resilience. Through this analysis of Israeli greenwashing, we discuss Israeli sustainability initiatives and technological innovations not as ahistorical discourses, commodities, or technologies, but as elements of a historically situated settler colonial project.

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