Category Archives: Commons

Critical Reflections on Ownership (M. Warnock)

Author(s)

Mary Warnock

Keywords

ownership, gardens, Locke, Hume, philosophy, private ownership, common ownership, property, responsibility, global environmental degradation, Romantic Movement, nature

Abstract

In this thought provoking work, Mary Warnock explores what it is to own things, and the differences in our attitude to what we own and what we do not. Starting from the philosophical standpoints of Locke and Hume, the ownership of gardens is presented as a prime example, exploring both private and common ownership, historically and autobiographically. The author concludes that, besides pleasure and pride, ownership brings a sense of responsibility for what is owned and a fundamental question is brought to light: can we feel the same responsibility for what we do not, and never can, own? Applying this question to the natural world and the planet as a whole, a realistic and gradualist perspective is offered on confronting global environmental degradation. Critical Reflections on Ownership examines the effect of the Romantic Movement on our attitudes to nature and is a salient commentary on the history of ideas.

Citation

Warnock, Mary (2015) Critical Reflections on Ownership. Cheltenham: Elgar

Paper

Critical Reflections on Ownership

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The Human Rights System as a Conceptual Framework for Environmental Law (R. S. Pathak)

Author(s)

R.S. Pathak

Keywords

Environmental Rights, Natural Order, Future Generations, Common Concern of Mankind, Indigenous People, Anthropocentrism, Environmental Philosophy, Refugees, International Law, Enforcement Procedures

Excerpt

The fundamental significance of environmental protection in shaping the quality of life of a people was reflected, from the commencement of the second half of this century, in the enacted constitutional law of a large number of countries, which include both developed and developing nations. There is a growing volume of environmental legislation and an increasing number of environmental protection agencies.
And as the gap closes between the developed and the developing countries in regard to the significance of the environmental philosophy, an enlarging consensus has become possible in the adoption of global policies and programmes providing for environmental protection.
Environmental law is concerned with our natural heritage and our cultural heritage. The natural heritage includes the atmosphere, the oceans, plant and animal life, water, soils, and other natural resources, both renewable and exhaustible. Our cultural heritage includes the intellectual, artistic, social, and historical record of mankind. Natural heritage is linked with cultural heritage, the survival, protection, and progress of both being interdependent. Man is the bridge between the two. Cultural heritage is the product and record of human perceptions of the natural order through visual, ethical, or mystical perspectives. It issues from man’s vision of his natural heritage. In turn, the protection and preservation of man’s natural heritage depends on human attitudes emanating from cultural, ethical, and religious beliefs.

Citation

(1992) in Environmental Change and International Law: New Challenges and Dimensions, Edith Brown Weiss ed., Chapter 8 (United Nations University Press: Tokyo)

Paper

The Human Rights System as a Conceptual Framework for Environmental Law

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Which direction for international environmental law? (Anderson)

Author

Paul Anderson

Keywords

Sustainability, governance, neoclassical economics, distributive justice, democracy, commons

Abstract

An enduring challenge to international environmental law is to facilitate the resolution of environmental problems faster than they are being caused. Prominent among potential foundations for substantive international environmental law to this end are (a) neoclassical economic theory (NET) and (b) distributive justice and deliberative democratic theories. Building upon existing critique, this paper makes two broad arguments. The first is that despite the influence of NET’s market-based prescriptions, solutions lie not in introducing and extending the privatization and pricing of nature, but instead in subsuming markets within an expanded and enriched public sphere that is characterized inter alia by decentralized, deliberative democratic decision-making. This contention suggests a need to reform substantive environmental law that is informed by NET. The second argument made is that limitations, in particular, of the deliberative democratic approach to environmental problems (e.g., prospects of achieving consensus on natural resource use and the efficacy of any consensus that might be reached) may be overcome by combining it with common key resource control – to put it crudely, by combining meaningful political with economic democracy. This revised foundation would offer a potentially viable foundation for IEL. It also offers guidance for incipient efforts to democratize environmental regulation.

Citation

(2105) 1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 98-126

Publication

Which direction for international environmental law?

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Community stewardship: the foundation of biocultural rights (Bavikatte and Bennett)

Author(s)

Kabir Sanjay Bavikatte and Tom Bennett

Keywords

Biocultural rights, stewardship, property, environment, law, nature, indigenous people, customary law, commodity, post-development, political ecology, commons, Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya Protocol, traditional resource rights

Abstract

The term ‘biocultural rights’ denotes a community’s long established right, in accordance with its customary laws, to steward its lands, waters and resources. Such rights are being increasingly recognized in international environmental law. Biocultural rights are not simply claims to property, in the typical market sense of property being a universally commensurable, commodifiable and alienable resource; rather, as will be apparent from the discussion offered here, biocultural rights are collective rights of communities to carry out traditional stewardship roles vis-à-vis Nature, as conceived of by indigenous ontologies.

Citation

2015 1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 7-29

Paper

Community stewardship: The foundation of biocultural rights

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David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons – Book Review (A. Grear)

Author

Anna Grear

Keywords

business as usual, collective commons, commoners, digital commons, dispossession, market, neoliberal ideology, norms, property rights, urban food production, values

Abstract

At a time when there is widespread disillusionment with ‘business as usual’, attention is turning, thanks in part to the high-profile publication of books such as Jeremy Rifkin’s, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, towards the notion of ‘collective commons’ as an
alternative paradigm to neoliberal free-market economics.

David Bollier’s book broadens the focus to identify the centrality of commons (and ‘commoning’) to an epochal shift in consciousness now emergent across the world. Such scholarship suggests that a fundamentally different mode of being appears to be surfacing from beneath neoliberal market hegemony and the assumptions of ‘business as usual’ – presenting a renaissance of something much more ancient in the light of which the free market economy and the rise of homo economicus stand revealed as a historical anomaly.

This book provides a short, engaging and important introduction to the commons and to the dynamics of commoning, while unsettling important mainstream assumptions underlying life in the ‘real world’ of neoliberal globalization and the duopoly of the state-market complex.

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 213-9

Paper

David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner – Book Review

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