Category Archives: Individualism

Biomedical ethics: Muslim perspectives on genetic modification (F. Agha Al-Hayan)

Author

Fatima Agha Al-Hayan

Keywords

Insan (person human); insaniyyah (humanism, humanity humaneness); genetic modification (GM); genetically modified foods (GMF); genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Abstract

Technology pertaining to genetically modified foods has created an abundance of food and various methods to protect new products and enhance productivity. However, many scientists, economists, and humanitarians have been critical of the application of these discoveries. They are apprehensive about a profit-driven mentality that, to them, seems to propel the innovators rather than a poverty-elimination mentality that should be behind such innovations. The objectives should be to afford the most benefit to those in need and to prevent hunger around the world. Another major concern is the safety of genetically modified food. Muslims, as well as those in other religious communities, have been reactive rather than proactive. Muslims must connect scientific knowledge and ethical behavior based on faith. In Islam, there is no divide between the two. God has commanded us to seek knowledge and make discoveries to better our lives and our environment. We are trustees of this world and everything in it. The poor, the sick, and the wayfarers have a right to be fed and cared for. God reminds Muslims continuously that the earth and all the heavens belong to God; therefore, no one should feel hunger, no one should suffer or be prevented from sharing this bounty.

Citation

(2007) 42(1) Zygon(r), 153-162

Paper

Biomedical ethics: Muslim perspectives on genetic modification.

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Wild law: sustainable development and beyond? (B. Pontin – editorial)

Author

Ben Pontin (editorial)

Keywords

Wild law; legal theory; Earth jurisprudence; governance; sustainable development; climate change.

Abstract

This is an editorial in ELM that introduces an issue that is dedicated to Cormac Cullinan’s legal theory that was put forward in ‘Wild law: a manifesto for Earth justice’. The theory is centred upon ‘Earth jurisprudence’; a radical shift from prevailing legal theory. Although human needs and rights are intrinsic to ‘Earth jurisprudence’ Cullininan goes further than simply the physical and material well being of humans this editorial gives a brief overview of wild law and its place in environmental law.

Citation

(2007) 19(2) Environmental Law and Management, 59-62.

Paper

Wild law: sustainable development and beyond?

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Teaching and learning guide for: environmental justice (J. Sze, J. London)

Author

Julie Sze and Jonathan London

Keywords

Environmental justice; environmental racism; urban; planning; public health; law; ethnic studies; public policy; social movements; environmental and social inequalities.

Abstract

Over the last 25 years, the environmental justice movement has emerged from its earliest focus on US social movements combating environmental racism to an influential global phenomenon. Environmental justice research has also undergone spectacular growth and diffusion in the last two decades. From its earliest roots in sociology, the field is now firmly entrenched in several different academic disciplines including geography, urban planning, public health, law, ethnic studies, and public policy. Environmental justice refers simultaneously to a vibrant and growing academic research field, a system of social movements aimed at addressing various environmental and social inequalities, and public policies crafted to ameliorate conditions of environmental and social injustice. Academia is responding to this social problem by offering courses under various rubrics, such as ‘Race, Poverty and the Environment, Environmental Racism, Environmental Justice’, ‘Urban Planning, Public Health And Environmental Justice’, and so on. Courses on environmental justice offer students opportunities to critically and reflexively explore issues of race and racism, social inequality, social movements, public/environmental health, public policy and law, and intersections of science and policy. Integrating modules on environmental justice can help professors engage students in action research, service learning, and more broadly, critical pedagogy.

This article offers an overview of the current state of the field and offers a range of resources for teaching concepts of environmental racism, inequality and injustice in the classroom.

Citation

(2009) 3(6) Sociology Compass, 1022-1028.

Paper

Teaching and learning guide for: environmental justice.

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Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity (R. Boelens, et al)

Editor(s)

Rutgerd Boelens, David Getches and Armando Guevara Gil

Keywords

Water, land, culture, livelihoods, identity, multicultural societies, indigenous communities, local communities, social mobility, sustainability

Abstract

Water is not only a source of life and culture. It is also a source of power, conflicting interests and identity battles. Rights to materially access, culturally organize and politically control water resources are poorly understood by mainstream scientific approaches and hardly addressed by current normative frameworks. These issues become even more challenging when law and policy-makers and dominant power groups try to grasp, contain and handle them in multicultural societies. The struggles over the uses, meanings and appropriation of water are especially well-illustrated in Andean communities and local water systems of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia, as well as in Native American communities in south-western USA. The problem is that throughout history, these nation-states have attempted to ‘civilize’ and bring into the mainstream the different cultures and peoples within their borders instead of understanding ‘context’ and harnessing the strengths and potentials of diversity. This book examines the multi-scale struggles for cultural justice and socio-economic re-distribution that arise as Latin American communities and user federations seek access to water resources and decision-making power regarding their control and management. It is set in the dynamic context of unequal, globalizing power relations, politics of scale and identity, environmental encroachment and the increasing presence of extractive industries that are creating additional pressures on local livelihoods.

While much of the focus of the book is on the Andean Region, a number of comparative chapters are also included. These address issues such as water rights and defence strategies in neighbouring countries and those of Native American people in the southern USA, as well as state reform and multi-culturalism across Latin and Native America and the use of international standards in struggles for indigenous water rights. This book shows that, against all odds, people are actively contesting neoliberal globalization and water power plays. In doing so, they construct new, hybrid water rights systems, livelihoods, cultures and hydro-political networks, and dynamically challenge the mainstream powers and politics.

Citation

Rutgerd Boelens, et al (eds), Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity (Earthscan, 2010)

Book

Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity

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Real Property and Peoplehood (K.A. Carpenter)

Author

Kristen A. Carpenter ( University of Denver , USA )

Keywords

Property, peoplehood, sacred sites, public lands

Abstract

This Article proposes a theory of real property and peoplehood in which lands essential to the identity and survival of collective groups are entitled to heightened legal protection. Although many Americans are sympathetic to American Indian tribes and their quest for cultural survival, we remain unable to confront the uncomfortable truth that the very thing Indian peoples need is their land, the same land that the U.S. took from them. This is especially the case with regard to the sacred sites of Indian peoples, whose religions and cultures are inextricably linked to those sites. Federal law permits the United States to destroy sacred sites essential to Indian ceremonial practices. The Supreme Court has held that destruction of sacred sites does not impinge on individual religious belief and falls within the government’s powers as an owner of the public lands. Although recent federal policy has evolved in favor of accommodating Indian sacred sites practices, land management agencies use their considerable discretion to permit competing uses of the public lands – such as natural resource development and tourism – that threaten the physical integrity of sacred sites. Such decisions devastate Indian people and undermine our shared expectation of free exercise rights for all Americans. Thus, federal law needs to prioritize Indian interests in sacred sites over competing uses of the public lands. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a legal theory justifying such a position.

My theory of real property and peoplehood furthers the work of scholars who have recognized the relationship between human beings and property, albeit in other contexts. Most influentially, Professor Margaret Jane Radin has long argued for special legal protection of property that expresses an individual’s sense of self and therefore cannot be translated into a monetary value. But whereas Radin focuses on property that expresses individual personhood, I am interested in property that expresses collective peoplehood. As a descriptive matter, this concept of peoplehood reflects that, even in the United States where the individual rights paradigm dominates, individuals affiliate themselves along sub-national political, religious, ethnic, and cultural lines and their exercise of fundamental liberties occurs in those contexts. As a normative concept, John Rawls has argued that as a matter of reasonable pluralism, liberal states like the United States should recognize peoples and treat them fairly. To do otherwise is to fall short of our best democratic principles, such as the idea that all Americans are entitled to religious freedom. Working at the confluence of Radin and Rawls, the Article argues that Indian tribes are peoples whose legitimate interests in sacred sites deserve special legal protection as a testament to American liberty for both individuals and groups.

Citation

(2008) 27 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 313

Paper

Real Property and Peoplehood

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