Crossing boundaries: water and the rights paradigm: Louis Kotze


Louis Kotze


Water, climate change, planetary limits, watery ontology, water regulation


There is limited water on Earth. With an exponentially growing global population and ever expanding needs, humanity is blindly and with disquieting determination venturing into unchartered territory. Some refer to this unchartered territory as an ‘unsafe operating space’ for humans in the Earth system. There is a realization that we are crossing those planetary boundaries that represent the dynamic biophysical ‘space’ of the Earth System within which humanity has to date evolved and thrived. These planetary boundaries ‘respect Earth’s “rules of the game” or, as it were, define the “planetary playing field” for the human enterprise’.

The argument that we are now pressing against planetary boundaries seeks to refocus our attention on the non-negotiable planetary preconditions that humanity needs to respect in order to avoid the risk of calamitous global environmental change.


(2014) 5/1 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 1-4


Crossing boundaries: water and the rights paradigm