Tag Archives: law

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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The logic of ecosystems: capitalism, rights and the law of ‘ecosystem services’ (B.Pardy)

Author

Bruce Pardy

Keywords

law, ecosystem service, capitalism, environmental right, market, ecosystem, negative right, property right, natural selection, evolution

Abstract

‘Ecosystem services’ consist of natural processes on which humans depend, such as photosynthesis, waste decomposition, pollination, and water and air purification. Current proposals for the targeted protection of ecosystem services ignore the logic of ecosystems: interactions between organisms are driven by competition for resources in a contest for survival, in which successful adaptations are responses to system conditions. Preserving or protecting ecosystem services is not possible without protecting the operation of the system within which they exist. Ecosystems have no purposes, interests or objectives, but only dynamics and consequences. While changes to ecosystems can harm human interests, ecosystems themselves cannot be harmed, but only changed. Therefore, the question for environmental law is not whether ecosystem services deserve protection, but whether people have a right to ecosystem services. Contrary to prevailing academic opinion, the answer to this question lies within the principles of capitalism. In its pure form, capitalism is a system of governance based upon the logic of ecosystems, modified in only one main respect: in interactions between people, physical interference is prohibited. Competition is thus transformed from physical struggle into a contest for commercial survival. The principle of non-interference is the conceptual foundation of negative human rights, including self-ownership, property rights, and the freedom to contract in markets. The question is: does the principle of non-interference mean that people have a right to restrict other people from changing ecosystems?

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 136-152

Paper

The logic of ecosystems: capitalism, rights and the law of ‘ecosystem services’

 

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Confronting a Rising Tide: A Proposal for A Convention on Climate Change Refugees (B. Docherty and T. Giannini)

Author(s)

Bonnie Docherty and Tyler Giannini

Keywords

law, climate change, refugees, national borders, international law, climate change prevention, remediation, human rights protection, humanitarian aid

Abstract

This Article proposes a new legal instrument to confront the issue of climate change refugees. It defines climate change refugees as people whom climate change forces to relocate across national borders. The existing international legal framework — including its laws and its institutions — does not adequately address the emerging crisis. The proposed instrument should create obligations to deal with both prevention and remediation of the climate change refugee problem. First, the instrument should establish guarantees of human rights protections and humanitarian aid for a specific class of people. Second, it should spread the burden of fulfilling those guarantees across the home state, host state, and international community. Finally, it should form institutions to implement the provisions, including a global fund, a coordinating agency, and a body of scientific experts. The comprehensive instrument, drawing on a range of legal precedent and academic literature, would provide a solution that is legally sound, meets humanitarian needs, and is tailored to the specific circumstances of climate change refugees.

Citation

(2009) 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review 349.

Paper

Confronting A Rising Tide: A Proposal for A Convention on Climate Change Refugees

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Human Rights, the Environment and the Tehran Declaration (J. Blake and B. Boer)

Author(s)

Janet Blake and Ben Boer

Keywords

human rights and environment nexus, Tehran Declaration, law, policy, development, environmental protection

Abstract

The International Conference on Human Rights and the Environment took place in Tehran in May 2009, and was attended by around 150 participants, including 10 international speakers. Iran was an appropriate setting for this conference for a number of reasons. It is the home of the Proclamation of Tehran (1968) that set out fundamental principles in the field of human rights, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance for Wildfowl (1971), one of the earliest truly global conservation conventions. It is fitting also to recall the International Conference on Environment, Peace and the Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures 2 which produced the Tehran Communiqué, later transmitted by President Khatami to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as an input to the Millennium Review Summit in New York
in September 2005. Building on these, the 2009 con­ference resulted in a further document, entitled the Tehran Declaration on Human Rights and the Environment.

Citation

(2009) 39 Environmental Policy and Law 302.

Paper

Human Rights, the Environment and the Tehran Declaration

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Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations: Law, Environmental Harm and the Right to Health (L. Westra)

Author

Laura Westra, President of the Global Ecological Integrity Group (GEIG)

Keywords

social justice, rights of future generations, environmental justice, law, environmental harm, health, right to health, human rights

Abstract

The traditional concept of social justice is increasingly being challenged by the notion of a human-kind which spans current and future generations. This book is the first systematic examination of how the rights of the unborn and future generations are handled in common law and under international legal instruments. It provides comprehensive coverage of the arguments over international legal instruments, key legal cases and examples including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, industrial disasters, clean water provision, diet, HIV/AIDS, environmental racism and climate change.

The result is the most controversial and thorough examination to date of the subject and the enormous ramifications and challenges it poses to every aspect of international and domestic environmental, human rights, trade and public health law and policy. Also covered are international agreements and objectives as diverse as the Kyoto Protocol, the Millennium Development Goals and international trade.

In many countries, a three-month-old foetus can be aborted – so what does the law say about the poisoning of an unborn child by a toxic spill, HIV infection or the future damage of climate change?This is a powerful book that examines the right of the unborn to health – essential for governments, polluting industries, NGOs and lawyers dealing with pollution, health and the rights of the unborn. It offers a comprehensive coverage of key international legal instruments, cases from Bhopal to Chernobyl, and arguments on environmental harm, justice and the rights of future generations to health.

‘Laura Westra’s book is a welcome addition to the growing body of work on environmental jurisprudence and the link to social justice’ Elizabeth May, Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada ‘If outrage against social injustice galvanizes your life, Laura Westra’s magisterial Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations is the single book you must read and use this year’ Robert Goodland, former Chief Environmental Adviser to the World Bank Group ‘Westra brings another important interdisciplinary perspective on this topic.’ Journal of Human Rights.

Citation

Laura Westra, Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations: Law, Environmental Harm and the Right to Health (Earthscan, 2006)

Book

Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations: Law, Environmental Harm and the Right to Health

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