Acknowledging the Un-Acknowledged

Mr Charles Louisson1

1Victoria University Of Wellington, Wellington, Wilton, New Zealand

Environmental victims struggle to be meaningfully acknowledged or accommodated by Western criminal justice systems and as a consequence, are left with few to no avenues which might lead to environmental victims obtaining some form of meaningful justice. This inclination of criminal justice systems to stifle such acknowledgment of environmental victims comes not only from the cumbersome procedural and administrative mechanisms of the law itself, but from the confused informational landscape surrounding the dangers associated with harmful environmental phenomena and the disparate social and cultural perceptions of what constitutes an environmental victim to begin with. This paper examines the ‘unacknowledgement’ of environmental victims within the context of historical pollution focusing on a decommission legacy landfill situated on Wellington’s Southern coastline New Zealand. Through the implementation of an Eco-Marxist theoretical framework in combination with the analysis of state documents pertaining to the decommissioned landfill buffered by the addition of ten semi structured interviews conducted with impacted residents, this paper constructs a holistic view of the experiences involved in initially becoming, and living as, an environmental victim of historical pollution. The research concluded that state and corporate sponsored agnosis was pivotal in obfuscating the potential harms associated with the landfill pollution leading potentially afflicted residents to become disenfranchised and disillusioned with the insufficient state mechanisms in place to offer some form of meaningful remedy.


Charles Louisson is a Postgraduate Researcher working for the University of Victoria Wellington New Zealand. Charles is an aspiring green criminologist who primarily contributes to the fields of historical pollution, environmental victimisation, leachate contamination, agnotology, ainigmology, fields which his Masters thesis ‘Seeping Ugly’ focused on in addition to numerous other related green criminological subjects. His research seeks to examine the many facets of being an environmental victim, how these experiences are accommodated by criminal justice systems, as well as the issues and complexities surrounding the establishment of culpability within the arena of environmental crimes and adverse phenomena.


Dec 10 2021