Tag Archives: nature

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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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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Giving Nature Constitutional Protection: A Less Anthropocentric Interpretation of Environmental Rights (J. J. Bruckerhoff)

Author(s)

Joshua J. Bruckerhoff

Keywords

nature, anthropocentricism, constitutional rights, environmental rights, environmental health, environmental protection, biodiversity, jurisprudence

Abstract

Is it possible to use constitutional rights to protect the intrinsic value of nature? This question should seem somewhat paradoxical. Constitutional rights are, by their very nature, anthropocentric-they confer a right to people and to people only.1 This Note argues, nonetheless, that it is possible to use constitutional environmental rights to defend nature from environmental harm. Many countries (and some U.S. states) purport to grant their citizens a constitutional “right” to a healthy environment.2 These constitutional environmental rights remain largely untested in the courts;3 however, when they have been invoked, most courts have construed the right very narrowly. The courts hold that the right to a healthy environment only restricts state action that is likely to cause environmental harm that creates a signiflcant threat to human health, such as pollution.4

This current understanding and enforcement of environmental rights is flawed because it is too anthropocentric.  A right to a healthy environment should actually guarantee a healthy environment, not just an environment that satisfies minimal health standards for humans. This Note argues why environmental rights should protect nature’s biodiversity and how this goal can be accomplished within a workable constitutional-rights framework.

Scientists warn that human activities are threatening the survival of the world’s plant and animal life.5 Moreover, mounting evidence illustrates the importance of protecting nature’s biological diversity, or biodiversity.6 This evidence shows that biodiversity is critical to both overall environmental health and human well-being. Incorporating biodiversity protection into constitutional environmental rights will ensure that the rights will actually guarantee a truly healthy environment for present and future generations.7

There are two principal avenues for incorporating biodiversity considerations into environmental rights jurisprudence. First, the constitutional provision should link the concept of environmental rights with a broader definition of environmental health. Some current constitutions already accomplish this goal by not just guaranteeing a “livable” or “healthy” environment but by granting “a right to an ecologically balanced environment”8 or, stated more profoundly, a right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”9 second, and more importantly, courts should interpret and apply environmental rights more broadly. Because courts are unlikely to expand environmental rights on their own initiative, advocates of environmental rights should (1) highlight the scientific evidence that illustrates the interrelationship between biodiversity and human health and (2) emphasize the nexus between cultural values-specifically the rights of indigenous peoples-and overall environmental health.10 Ultimately, this Note aims to establish a workable constitutional framework for how citizens could rely on environmental rights to protect biodiversity.

This Note is divided into five parts. Part I emphasizes the importance of biodiversity law in environmental protection and explains the differences between anthropocentrism and biocentrism. Part II explains why a constitutional environmental right should be part of a comprehensive environmentalprotection regime. It also presents an argument for why environmental rights should be less anthropocentric. Subsequently, Parts III and IV discuss the two principal avenues for incorporating biodiversity considerations within environmental rights jurispmdence. Part III discusses how the constitutional text itself affects both the enforceability and application of environmental rights. It explains why most environmental rights provisions have not been enforced and notes that even when courts have enforced the right, they have limited its reach. Therefore, it outlines how an effective environmental right should be written to guarantee that it provides biodiversity protection while remaining individually enforceable. …

Citation

(2008) 86 Texas Law Review 615

Paper

Note, Giving Nature Constitutional Protection: A Less
Anthropocentric Interpretation of Environmental Rights

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Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of War (R.P. Tucker)

Author

Richard P. Tucker

Keywords

War, environment, nature, environmental damage, military strategies, timber, disease, American Civil War

Abstract

How has war changed and damaged the environment? How has nature influenced war? As the first collection of essays on war and environmental history, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally heralds the advent of a major new field of study. Contributors to the volume explore the dynamic between war and the physical environment from a variety of provocative viewpoints. The subjects of their essays range from conflicts in pre-colonial India and early colonial South Africa to the U.S. Civil War and twentieth-century wars in Japan, Finland, and the Pacific Islands. Among the topics explored are:

* the ways in which landscape can influence military strategies;

* why the decisive battle of the American Civil War was fought;

* the impact of war and peace on timber resources;

* the spread of pests and disease in wartime.

Citation

Richard P. Tucker, Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of War (Oregon State University Press, 2004)

Book

Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward and Environmental History of War

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Human rights and nature: intercultural perspectives and international aspirations (C. Gianolla)

Author

Cristiano Gianolla

Keywords

human rights, Earth, Nature, environment, indigenous people, intercultural dialogue, environmental justice, common inheritance of Humanity, living commons

Abstract

What is the impact of human rights on the protection of Nature? Considering the rapid development of international human rights law during the last century and the parallel degradation of the environment leading to climate change, it could be concluded that human rights have had a negative impact on environmental protection, or at least that they have not had a positive impact on it. This article aims to investigate whether this is true, and if so, how the issue can be addressed. The article challenges the mainstream (western) approach to human rights and proposes that intercultural perspectives provide the basis for alternative approaches with the potential to recognize and better protect the environment. The argument focuses on the indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Bolivia and identifies, in respect to environmental justice, a bridging movement between the western and non-western conceptions of human rights. It argues that the protection of Nature would benefit from the evolution of the concept of the ‘common inheritance of Humanity’ into the concept of the ‘living commons’, thereby identifying Nature and Humanity alike as living beings to be protected at the international level. The underlying supposition of the argument is accordingly that Nature is a living being with its own dignity and therefore is a subject rather than an object: Nature should not be reduced to an object and consequently, should not be protected simply due to Nature’s instrumental role in relation to the well-being of human beings.

Citation

(2013) 4/1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 58-78

Paper

Human rights and nature: intercultural perspectives and international aspirations

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