The Environmentalism of the Poor has the explicit intention of helping to establish two emerging fields of study - political ecology and ecological economics - whilst also investigating the relations between them. The book analyses several manifestations of the growing 'environmental justice movement', and also of 'popular environmentalism' and the 'environmentalism of the poor', which will be seen in the coming decades as driving forces in the process to achieve an ecologically sustainable society. The author studies, in detail, many ecological distribution conflicts in history and at present, in urban and rural settings, showing how poor people often favour resource conservation. The environment is thus not so much a luxury of the rich as a necessity of the poor. It concludes with the fundamental questions: who has the right to impose a language of valuation and who has the power to simplify complexity? Joan Martinez-Alier combines the study of ecological conflicts and the study of environmental valuation in a totally original approach that will appeal to a wide cross-section of academics, ecologists and environmentalists.