Environmental Justice and International Environmental Law (Gonzalez)


Carmen G Gonzalez


Environmental justice, sustainable development, equity, ethics, colonialism, post-colonialism, special and differential treatment, common but differentiated responsibility, ecological debt, climate change, human rights, environmental human rights, Aarhus Convention, transnational corporations


Environmental justice lies at the heart of many environmental disputes between the global North and the global South as well as grassroots environmental struggles within nations. However, the discourse of international environmental law is often ahistorical and technocratic. It neither educates the North about its inordinate contribution to global environmental problems nor provides an adequate response to the concerns of nations and communities disproportionately burdened by poverty and environmental degradation. This article examines some of the root causes of environmental injustice among and within nations from the colonial period to the present, and discusses several strategies that can be used to integrate environmental justice into the broader corpus of international law so as to promote social and economic justice while protecting the planet’s natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.


Shawkat Alam, Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan, Tareq M R Chowdhury, Erika Techera (eds.),ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (Routledge, 2013); Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 12-11.


Environmental Justice and International Environmental Law