Purpose: The purpose of this exercise is to provide you an opportunity to analyze the environmental and social consequences of animal agriculture using sociological concepts in general and content about the environmental regulation in particular. It will help you develop and sharpen your skills of analysis, assessment, and succinct writing, which are useful for classroom success and a variety of professional work settings.
Task: First, watch the documentary Right to Harm. I’ve contacted the makers of the film and UO, and both have allowed us to have access to it. It is available here and here.
Then, in a logically organized and thoughtful response of 1-2 pages, approximately 300-500 words, answer the two parts of the prompt below. Read the prompt carefully and respond to each part of the prompt.
Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) pose significant environmental and health threats to rural communities across the United States. Right to Harm highlights these costs, as well as how state legislatures foster political climates that prioritize the economic rights of large agricultural corporations over the human rights of people. Specifically, the film details how Right to Farm laws, which deny nuisance lawsuits against agricultural operations, protect agribusiness. Using case studies across several states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, and Arizona, the film tells the story of people and communities fighting to protect what they value, namely, the right to clean air and clean water. In this exercise, we will be exploring these themes through the lens of environmental justice, using concepts from the past two weeks and using this film as a springboard for next week, which investigates critical approaches to environmental justice.
In the first part of your response, analyze the film through concepts learned this week, especially disproportionate outcomes based on income and race. Use these guiding questions to write this part of your response:
Is this an instance of contested illness or environmental injustice? What factors associated with this environmental conflict make it one or the other?
In the documentary, Dr. Sacoby Wilson describes the issue as environmental racism, especially in Eastern North Carolina. How is this an instance of environmental racism?
In the second part of your response, summarize the problem of CAFOs as an issue of governance . Use these guiding questions to write this part of your response:
How do right to farm laws protect large agricultural operations? How do these laws reflect the priorities of state legislatures? How are individuals and communities trying to transition from a “big money politics” to a “citizen politics”? Use evidence from the examples used in the documentary to support your response.
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