Multispecies Justice in the Wetlands


  • Ursula K. Heise University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jon Christensen University of California, Los Angeles



Environmental justice, multispecies justice, biodiversity, urban nature, restoration


      This essay discusses the rise of "justice" as a central concept around which environmental thought and debates have been organized over the last thirty years, and briefly places the notions of environmental justice and multispecies justice into the more general context of theories of justice since John Rawls. It uses the case of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Los Angeles, whose future is hotly contested between different environmentalist groups, as a case study to illustrate the complex trade-offs that environmental decision-making currently confronts, and to suggest in what ways the invocation of multispecies justice changes the participants in the community of justice and the way in which their claims on humans' moral consideration should be weighed.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ursula K. Heise, University of California, Los Angeles

Ursula K. Heise is Professor of English and affiliate faculty of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at University of California, Los Angeles, and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. She was President of ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment) in 2011 and continues to serve on ASLE's Executive Council. Her major interests focus on contemporary literature, environmental culture in the Americas, Western Europe and Japan, and on cultural theory. Her books include Chronoschisms: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism ( Cambridge University Press 1997), Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Nach der Natur: Das Artensterben und die moderne Kultur (After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture, Suhrkamp, 2010). She is editor of the bookseries, Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment with Palgrave-Macmillan and co-editor of the series Literature and Contemporary Thought with Routledge. She is currently working on a book called Where the Wild Things Used to Be: Narrative, Database, and Endangered Species.

Jon Christensen, University of California, Los Angeles

Jon Christensen teaches and conducts multidisciplinary research at UCLA focusing on equity and the environment, strategic environmental communication, and journalism, media, and storytelling. He is an adjunct assistant professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Luskin Center for Innovation, Department of History, and Center for Digital Humanities at UCLA. He is a journalist-in-residence at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, a founder of the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies in the IoES, editor of LENS Magazine, and a producer of ‘Earth Focus,’ a documentary series produced in collaboration with KCET/PBS SoCal/LinkTV and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. He is also a partner and strategic adviser at Stamen Design, a National Design Award-winning interactive design and technology firm specializing in mapping, data visualization, and strategic communications. Jon was executive director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, an interdisciplinary center for research, teaching, new media, and journalism at Stanford University before coming to UCLA. He has been an environmental journalist and science writer for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Nature, High Country News, and many other newspapers, magazines, journals, and radio and television shows. Jon was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 2002-2003 and a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University in 2003-2004, before returning to Stanford to work on a Ph.D. in environmental history and the history of science.






Articles: New Ecocritical Practices