What is the impact of human rights on the protection of Nature?
Considering the development of human rights law
during the last century and the parallel degradation of the environment, it could be concluded that human rights have
had a negative impact on environmental protection. This article aims to investigate
whether this is true, and if so, how the issue can be addressed. The
article challenges the mainstream 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. 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.