Theorizing the Health Environment Advocacy Rhetoric (HEAR) Nexus

The multifront threat to environmentalism, which aims to protect and preserve the natural environment, can emerge anywhere from the street corner to the courtroom, but the threat is so pernicious that its pervasiveness is virtually invisible. The forces of environmentalism may appear to be neutralized, or in other words, silenced as the law of the corporation strengthens. Environmentalism has offered a promising response to the post-materialism of industrialization, but American environmentalism fails to fully account for equity of vulnerable communities and peoples. My law review article explores ways that environmentalism through activism, advocacy and litigation is silenced. In my article, I provide an alternative framework for examining the silencing of environmentalism through what I refer to as the Health Environment Advocacy Rhetoric (HEAR) nexus.  The theorization of the HEAR nexus shows how a network of medical, legal, and rhetorical studies can support environmentalism in ways previously underexamined. I explore Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits, Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) cases, Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) actions, deportations, self-deportations, and other methods used and compelled by governments and corporate entities to limit, delay, and thwart efforts of environmental work and the environmentalists themselves. Recognizing what causes this silencing can lead to efforts to reclaim the environmental space. In fact, the international manifestations of environmentalism offer more emphasis on integrating lands, livelihoods, and lives with ecological harmony. The article aims to be the klaxon for resistance and change in environmentalism.

See also:

The Practice of Justice

The Zealous Advocacy of Justice in a Less Than Ideal World

Performing critical interruptions: Stories, rhetorical invention, and the environmental justice movement

Environmentalism, Values, and Social Change


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Nadia Ahmad

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