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Equity refers to the distribution of wealth or power and is closely related to notions of justice, fairness, and equality. The concept permeates several disciplines of social thought, including prominent roles in economics, geography, and political philosophy. Equity concerns have become inextricably bound to environmental quality. This intrinsic relationship between equity and the environment takes many forms across space and at different scales, yielding the paired concept of environmental equity.

Empirical trends in world economic development, such as uneven resource exploitation and disparate vulnerability to environmental harms, underscore the prevalence of environmental inequities among nations, economic classes, and cultural groups. These inequities have coalesced into at least three interrelated topics pursued by environmental equity activists and scholars: environmental justice, natural resource access, and intergenerational equity.

Environmental ...

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