1st Edition

Environmental Justice in Nepal Origins, Struggles, and Prospects

    290 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume provides a holistic compilation of the diverse range of emerging scholarship in critical environmental justice studies in Nepal.

    This book brings together environmental justice scholarship set within a robust conceptual framework, focusing on a diversity of case studies from Nepal. Its locale-specific contextualisation provides a unique analysis of the natural resource-based livelihoods common in the region, together with health and well-being impacts of urban and industrial developments in its rapidly changing political, economic, social, and ecological environment. Centring contributions from Nepalese scholars and practitioners, the volume spans a wide range of topics including the origins of environmental justice in Nepal, land and agriculture, conservation, infrastructure and development, Indigenous peoples, climate justice, and health equity. It reflects on the rise and development of social movements and public policy, discusses the further evolution of environmental justice, and highlights how the work of scholars, activists, and practitioners in the Nepalese context can enrich global conversations about social and environmental issues.

    The book will appeal to scholars, researchers, students, and activists in environmental justice, sustainable development, South Asian, and Himalayan studies.


    Narayan Belbase


    Leah Temper


    Jonathan K London, Jagannath Adhikari, Thomas Robertson

    Chapter 1: Introduction: Framing Environmental Justice Studies and Movements in Nepal

    Jonathan K London, Jagannath Adhikari, and Thomas Robertson

    Part 1: Origins

    Chapter 2: Towards a New Paradigm for Environmental Justice Studies in Nepal

    Jonathan K London and Sudikshya Bhandari

    Chapter 3: People’s Movements for Environmental Justice in Nepal: A Historical Perspective 

    Jagannath Adhikari

    Chapter 4: Environmental justice and the role of Nepalese judiciary: A missed opportunity

    Jony Mainali

    Part 2: Land, Forests and Agriculture

    Chapter 5: Environmental injustice in confronting gendered access to land in Nepal: Joint land ownership as a promising practice

    Srijana Baral, Kalpana Karki, and Kanchan Lama

    Chapter 6: Environmental Justice and Unfree Agricultural Labourers in the Eastern Tarai of Nepal

    Suresh Kumar Dhakal

    Chapter 7: Connecting Dalit Land Rights and Climate Justice

    Madan Pariyar and Arjun Biswakama

    Chapter 8: Environmental Justice and Pesticides 

    Kishor Atreya, Kanchan Kattel, Anisha Sapkota, and Hom Nath Gartaula

    Chapter 9: From Red to Green to Grey Hills: Reflections on the Four-Decade-Long Journey of Community Forestry and Environmental Justice in Nepal

    Sunita Chaudhary

    Part 3:  Conflicts over River and Lowland Conservation   

    Chapter 10: Protected Areas and Expendable Communities: Human-Animal Conflict Survivors and Unjust Compensation in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

    Dhirendra Nalbo

    Chapter 11: The River People and the Parks: Political Ecology of Conservation and Indigenous Livelihoods in Nepal’s Terai

    Naya Sharma Paudel, Sudeep Jana Thing, and Rahul Karki

    Part 4: Infrastructure and Indigenous Peoples

    Chapter 12: Disaster Is Social: Uneven Effect and Recovery from the 2015 Nepal Earthquake

    Mukta S. Tamang

    Chapter 13: Indigenous struggles for development justice in Nepal: Environmentalism on the ground

    Prabindra Shakya  

    Part 5: Urban Development and Environmental Justice

    Chapter 14: Ensuring Health, Hygiene and Dignity for Solid Waste Workers

    Prashanna Pradhan and Bhawana Sharma

    Chapter 15: Urban Environmental Justice: For Whom, From Whom? 

    Kirti Kusum Joshi

    Chapter 16: Cycling for Livelihood in Nepal: Seeking Justice on Two Wheels

    Tara Lal Shrestha and Bidhya Shrestha

    Chapter 17: Through the Haze: Air Pollution and Environmental Justice

    Arnico K. Panday and Arti Govinda Shrestha

    Chapter 18: Driving Towards Environmental Justice on the Streets of Kathmandu

    Bhushan Tuladhar

    Chapter 19: Building political capabilities through participation for environmental justice in informal housing in Kathmandu

    Sangeeta Singh and Bijay Singh

    Part 6: Climate Justice

    Chapter 20: Climate Change in Nepal through an Indigenous Environmental Justice Lens

    Pasang Yangjee Sherpa

    Chapter 21: Women, water and weather: Kavre villages adapt to the increasing impacts of the climate crisis 

    Sonia Awale

    Chapter 22: Applying a climate justice framework to understand inequities in urban water governance amid climate change challenges in Nepal

    Gyanu Maskey, Poshendra Satyal, Monica Giri, and Prajal Pradhan  

    Part 7: Health Equity

    Chapter 23: The stress of poverty in tackling tuberculosis in Nepal

    Marissa Taylor 

    Chapter 24: Impacts of Lead Contamination on Children’s Health in Nepal

    Meghnath Dhimal, Mandira Lamichhane Dhimal, and Madhusudan Subedi,


    Jonathan K London is Professor in the Department of Human Ecology/Community and Regional Planning at the University of California, Davis, USA.

    Jagannath Adhikari works mainly as independent researcher and, occasionally, teaches in Nepal and Australia.

    Thomas Robertson is a historian and the former director of Fulbright Nepal/USEF.

    “This groundbreaking book delves into Nepal's environmental challenges, providing valuable frameworks and lessons for global scholars, policymakers, and practitioners. Offering insights into the complex issues surrounding environmental justice issues in Nepal, the book discusses potential solutions for achieving just and equitable outcomes from environmental conservation.”

    Pema Gyamtsho, PhD, Director General, ICIMOD

    “The book uncovers the untold miseries of environmental inequity and injustice faced by the rural and urban poor in Nepal due to soil erosion, habitat destruction, deforestation, hazardous use of pesticides and chemicals as well as ill-conceived and implemented development projects. While the publication is Nepal focused, the lessons learned can be extremely valuable to other countries as well.”

    Hon. Kaylan Shrestha, Former Senior Justice Nepal Supreme Court

    “Here is a vital contribution to global Environment Justice (EJ) scholarship that takes seriously the axes of caste, ethnicity, gender, and internal colonialism in the making of land, livelihood, and resource struggles. In thinking critically across Nepal’s myriad political and liberation ecologies, this pathbreaking volume deepens our understanding of EJ both within and beyond the west.” 

    Malini Ranganathan, Associate Professor, American University, USA

    Environmental Justice in Nepal is a stunning and important contribution to global environmental justice scholarship. Grounded from the voices and standpoints of Nepalese activists and scholars, the collection not only addresses a wide range of topics (climate, land, health, conservation, development, land rights etc.), the volume collectively offers a new, unique and significant perspective on social dynamics, histories, and controversies of a vitally important place.” 

    Julie Sze, Professor, American Studies, UC Davis, USA

    “This extraordinary volume features scholarship and activism that chart an inspiring course for environmental justice in Nepal. The contributors powerfully demonstrate how diverse Nepali communities boldly confront ecological and climate threats intertwined with patriarchy, environmental casteism, and internal colonialism to promote innovative pathways toward environmental quality and dignified livelihoods.”

    David N. Pellow, Professor, Environmental Studies, UC Santa Barbara, USA 

    “We in the media used the acronym ‘EJ’ to mean ‘Environmental Journalism’. Now I realise that it also stands for ‘Environmental Justice’. This book is a must-read for us to understand that nature conservation and social justice are two sides of the same coin.”

    Kunda Dixit, Author of Dateline Earth: Journalism As If the Planet Mattered  

    “Environmental Justice in Nepal builds a transdisciplinary lens on environmental justice from uniquely Nepali standpoints that centre subaltern knowledge and experience. The chapters feature invaluable case studies that collectively establish Nepal as a crucial site of scholarly innovation for thinking through today’s planetary environmental challenges. Indispensable reading for students, activists, planners and scholars.” 

    Katherine Rankin, Professor, Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto, Canada