Category Archives: Ecocentrism

Competing Narratives and Complex Genealogies: The Ecosystem Approach in International Environmental Law

Author

Vito De Lucia

Keywords

Ecosystem Approach, international environmental law, anthropocentrism, ecocentrism

Abstract

The ecosystem approach, broadly understood as a legal and governance ‘strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources’ is being increasingly adopted within a wide variety of international environmental legal regimes. From freshwater to oceans, from biodiversity to fisheries, from Antarctica to climate adaptation, the approach provides a narrative, a policy approach and in some cases legally binding obligations for States to implement what has been called a ‘new paradigm’ of environmental management. Responding to hopes of arresting, and reversing, the increasingly negative trends of resource depletion and ecological degradation affecting most ecosystems in the world, the ecosystem approach promises to ‘protect the environment, maintain healthy ecosystems, preserve biological diversity, and achieve sustainable development’, all at once. This article problematises the ecosystem approach in order to highlight its complex genealogies, and its contested and slippery character, which makes it susceptible to discursive capture by competing narratives.

Citation

(2015) 27/1 Journal of of Environmental Law, 91-117

Paper

Competing Narratives and Complex Genealogies: The Ecosystem Approach in International Environmental Law

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Liberal Democracy and the Rights of Nature: The Struggle for Inclusion (R. Eckersley)

Author(s)

Robyn Eckersley

Keywords

econcentricism, democracy, rights of nature, liberal democracy, liberalism

Abstract

Is there a necessary, in‐principle connection between ecocentric values and democracy or is the relationship merely contingent? Is it possible to incorporate the interests of the non‐human community into the ground rules of democracy? Through an immanent ecological critique of the regulative ideals and institutions of liberal democracy, it is suggested that ecocentric values and democracy can be connected to some extent ‐ at least in the same way that liberalism and democracy are connected ‐ through an extension of the principle of autonomy and the rights discourse to include ecological interests. However, the move from autonomy, to rights, to an ecologically grounded democracy encounters a number of hazards, not all of which can be successfully negotiated owing to the individualistic premises of the rights discourse. While the rights discourse may be extended to include human environmental rights and animal rights in relation to captive and domesticated species, it becomes considerably strained and unworkable (ontologically, politically and legally) in relation to the remaining constituents of the biotic community.

Citation

(2007) 4 Environmental Politics 169

Paper

Liberal Democracy and the Rights of Nature: The Struggle for Inclusion

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ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE (C. MILLER)

Author

Christopher Miller

Keywords

environmental rights, ecocentric, human rights,  law, litigation, wildlife

Abstract

Environmental Rights offers new perspectives on contemporary debates over rights and environmental issues, criticising the traditional ecocentric formulation and the view that it is meaningful to speak of environmental rights as a sub-set of human rights, infringed when individuals experience an environmental quality falling below a recognized standard. Drawing on key theories of contemporary philosophers and jurists, as well as case reports from judicial decisions in English, European and US courts, the book examines recent developments within environmental law and policy in the UK and the European Union. Specific rights of the individual are examined – the right to clean air and water, access to information, the right to participate in environmental decisions – as well as practical obstacles to the exercising of such rights, including problems of scientific evidence, high cost of litigation, legal recognition of environmental pressure groups. Beginning with an examination of the notion of rights to the environment and to the identification of such rights, the book moves on to describe the arena (town and country planning) in which many of the subsequent debates over rights have originated. The rights discourse is then developed in the context of specific elements of the environment: the atmosphere, water, ionising radiation, land wildlife, before the final chapter discusses the legal protection currently enjoyed by certain animal species, and examines the idea of ecocentric rights. Christopher Miller concludes that the environment does not lend itself to a rights discourse but rather one which stresses the important duties which individuals must assume if environmental threats to human welfare are to be averted.

Citation

Chris Miller, Environmental Rights: Critical Perspectives (Routledge, 2012)

Book

Environmental Rights: Critical Perspectives

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Should trees have standing: 40 years on? (A. Grear)

Author

Anna Grear

Keywords

GNHRE, Christopher Stone, trees, philosophical engagements

Abstract

When Professor Philippe Sands suggested over lunch at the formal public launch conference for the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment and the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE) in Bristol, in June 2010, that we should dedicate a special edition of the journal to Stone’s iconic 1972 article, ‘Should Trees Have Standing?’, the idea immediately struck an exciting chord. The contributions in this special edition more than amply fulfil the rich promise of that initial suggestion. Each of the contributors has generously provided a philosophically rich and thoughtful engagement with Stone’s iconic work, and he, in turn, has provided a typically intellectually engaged – and engaging – response.

Citation

(2012) Issue 0 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 1

Paper

Should Trees have standing? 40 years on

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Human Rights and the Environment: In Search of a New Relationship (A Grear)

Editor

Anna Grear

Keywords

GNHRE, human rights, environment, philosophy, legal doctrine, policy, praxis, activism, new framework for human rights and the environment

Abstract

This collection of papers searches for a new framework for conceptualising the complex nexus between human rights and the environment. Drawing together philosophy, legal doctrine, policy, praxis and activism, the papers reflect a workshop at the Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law with members of the GNHRE network.

Citation

(2013) 3/5 Onati Socio-Legal Series 796-990

Journal Edition

Human Rights and the Environment: In Search of a New Relationship

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