Tag Archives: civil rights

Pursuing Environmental Justice with International Human Rights and State Constitutions (Neil A. F. Popovic)

Author

Neil A.F. Popovic

Keywords

environmental justice, environmental rights, international human rights, state constitution, environmental racism, environmental degradation, poverty, social rights, environmental hazards, inequality, civil rights

Extract

I. Introduction

Notwithstanding the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the law, environmental racism thrives in the United States. Its manifestations include toxic waste dumps on indigenous lands, hazardous industrial facilities in communities of color, lead paint in decrepit housing projects, and use of dangerous pesticides in industrial agriculture. Environmental racism feeds on and perpetuates the social, economic and political marginalization of low-income communities and communities of color. As such, environmental racism in the United States represents a serious blight on the country’s human rights record.

Discriminatory siting decisions for environmentally hazardous facilities and uneven enforcement decisions do not necessarily result from consciously racist policy choices. More likely, they issue from a political and social system that marginalizes the participation and concern of communities of color, often through ostensibly neutral criteria. The effect, however, is no less racist than overt discrimination.

The United States has a substantial body of both environmental and civil rights laws, but none of these laws addresses the link between racism and environmental quality. 2 At best, environmental laws can enhance protection of the environment while civil rights laws can facilitate the rectification of overt racial discrimination. Neither body of law, however, addresses the impact of environmental degradation on human communities, and neither deals specifically with environmental racism.

Citation

(1996) 15 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 338 pp. 344-47

Paper

Pursuing Environmental Justice with International Human Rights and State Constitutions

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Integrated Justice: Human Rights, Climate Change, and Poverty (S. L. Kass)

Author(s)

Stephen L. Kass

Keywords

human rights, climate change, poverty, justice, economic rights, civil rights, political rights, social rights, cultural rights

Abstract

The human rights community in the United States has remained largely silent on the human rights implications of climate change, the most far-reaching change in the Earth’s environment since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. 1 Many U.S. human rights organizations have also ignored or treated as background the growing numbers of people living or dying in extreme poverty in the developing world. Yet climate change is certain to exacerbate the severe environmental and economic conditions already faced by billions of people. These conditions contribute to widespread violations of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights that are the central concern of human rights organizations.

This Article outlines a role that human rights organizations in the United States and elsewhere can play in linking environmentally irresponsible conduct by governments and corporations to the violation of basic human rights. In addition, this Article identifies rights-based remedies for those violations. The goal is neither to assert a new right to a clean (or cooler) environment nor to prescribe specific climate change policies to governments or others. However, climate change and related environmental decisions made by governmental and corporate authorities must now take into account both procedural and substantive human rights and the impact of those decisions on the world’s poor. For the same reason, organizations committed to overcoming poverty, defending the environment, and protecting human rights should revise their tendency to view challenges, in developing nations and elsewhere, through a single lens and should pursue, either together …

Citation

(2009) 18 Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 115.

Paper

Integrated Justice: Human Rights, Climate Change, and Poverty

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Civil Justice in the Mountains: The Bolivian Andes (J. Akin)

Author

Jena Akin

Key words

climate change, mountain ecosystems, environmental justice, indigenous communities, human rights, civil rights, Bolivian Andes

Abstract

The article discusses the effect of climatic change on mountain ecosystems and reflects the concerns of environmental justice. The vulnerabilities of indigenous communities and mountain ecosystems to climate change along with the protection of fundamental human rights are also discussed. It depicts the re-categorization of environmental justice as a civil rights issue. It uses the example of the Bolivian Andes to demonstrate the climate change impacts on high-altitude indigenous communities.

Citation

(2012) 23 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy 433.

Paper

Civil Justice in the Mountains: The Bolivian Andes As Grounds for Climate Reform

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Translantic Movements of Justice: A Story of Inspiration and Diversity (O.W. Pedersen)

Author

Ole Windahl Pederson

Keywords

UK , environmental justice, NGOs, grassroots, civil rights

Abstract

This paper aims to analyze environmental justice in the United Kingdom (UK) in light of the achievements of the highly successful environmental justice movement in the United States. The paper describes how the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and grassroots groups pursuing environmental justice aims in the UK have shaped their campaigning and methods, in spite of the lack of a civil rights movement upon which to base their work and draw inspiration from. This has forced the UK environmental justice groups to look elsewhere for inspiration and has led to a situation where the connotation of environmental justice is one of diversity and multiplicity. Nevertheless, and in spite of this diversity, the NGOs aspiring to achieve environmental justice in the UK have been successful in forcing the issue of equity and justice into the public debate and political scene in the UK.

Citation

(2009) 2 Environmental Justice 35

Paper

Translantic Movements of Justice: A Story of Inspiration and Diversity

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Human Rights and Climate Change: Constructing a Case for Political Action (M. Limon)

Author

Marc Limon

Keywords

Global warming, climate change, human rights, policy, international movement

Abstract

On March 28, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 7/23 on human rights and climate change, which, for the first time in a U.N. resolution, explicitly recognized that climate change “has implications for the full enjoyment of human rights.” While this may appear a classic case of stating the obvious, the words are potentially highly significant both for climate change policy and for human rights policy. This Article will look at the implications of Resolution 7/23 for global climate change responses. It will argue that the application of human rights principles and norms can bring a range of benefits to international and national efforts to respond to global warming, and that the obstacles to doing so are mainly practical difficulties, related in particular to the entrenched “path dependence” of the two policy areas. This Article will also turn this premise around to suggest ways in which the issue of climate change could or should affect international human rights policy. In particular, it will argue that the issue of climate change points to the need for a reconceptualization of human rights, and suggests the need for a reconsideration of the utility of environmental rights. The Article mainly reflects the views of a political rather than a legal practitioner, although these views are necessarily embedded in law.

This Article is divided into four sections. First, it offers a brief overview of the international movement to draw linkages between climate change and human rights, an effort with which the Maldives has been intimatelyinvolved. Second, it summarizes our current understanding of the nature and extent of those linkages. Third, it asks whether human rights principles should be integrated into climate change policy–what is the value added and what are the potential risks? Fourth, this Article presents some initial ideas on how the international community might usefully and practically operationalize the human rights-climate change interface in order to contribute to better policy responses. Finally, turning the overall premise around, this Article suggests ways in which international human rights law might adapt in response to the challenges posed by climate change and, in this respect, might perhaps learn from principles applied in environmental law.

Citation

(2009) 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review 439

Paper

Human Rights and Climate Change: Constructing a Case for Political Action

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail