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RegNet’s Associate Professor Miranda Forsyth and fellow convenors Brunilda Pali (Leuven Institute of Criminology) and Gema Varona (Basque Institute of Criminology) hosted more than 40 participant from all continents at the Environmental Restorative Justice (ERJ) workshop on 3–4 June 2021. Thanks to the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL) that created a smooth, efficient, yet highly convivial online atmosphere, the workshop was a unique opportunity to get together and discuss one of the most challenging issues in today’s society (environmental crime, harm, and conflicts) through the lens of restorative justice (RJ).
The first dimension of the seminar was to identify existing approaches to environmental harm and to pay due attention to the lineages or traditions that could be significant for developing ERJ perspectives. The second dimension was drawing the limits and the potential of ERJ by discussing its conceptual roots and challenges and lessons offered by the application of concrete cases. The third dimension was steered towards drawing the contours of the ERJ agenda, both practically and conceptually, in other words which alliances to pursue as we move forward, which explorations are the most productive ones?
During the seminar, participants saw a key role for RJ to play in a wide range of harms affecting the environment. They also identified a range of challenges, including the ways in which power can undermine or subvert restorative initiatives and the challenges of scale given the extent of so many environmental harms and the systems level at which many operate. A central theme was the need for success stories and examples to be made public and shared in ways that will inspire others, the need to generate awareness, find pathways, and stimulate motivation for action. In addition, participants challenged each other to consider not only the cognitive but also embodied experiences, not only the human but nature and animals and all who share our earth as well, and especially the need to engage with different knowledge systems.
Find out more about the workshop here.