Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Human rights and nature (#journal)

Human rights and nature: intercultural perspectives and international aspirations

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.

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