To Right a Wrong: Thinking Geographically about Rights and the Environment — ASN Events

To Right a Wrong: Thinking Geographically about Rights and the Environment (14790)

Jo Gillespie 1
  1. The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

At first glance there is an inherent tension between environmental protection and human rights commitments.  Inalienable human rights place the human first and foremost which can sit at odds with protection of the non-human. However, there are a growing number of scholars who advocate that environmental conditions may actually be enhanced by adopting a Human Rights discourse in environmental problem solving. The argument is that a ‘Human Rights Based Approach’ can enhance participation, accountability and transparency in decision-making, and these features are also sought in order to secure better environmental outcomes.  Extending the ambitious narrative of rights to environmental concerns is an emerging academic concern.  We also know that the rule of law is no longer autonomous (if it ever was) from other disciplinary perspectives.  In particular, environmental law, as a creature of environmental protection, is particularly susceptible to influence from cognate disciplines. This paper considers how human rights, as a feature of, or embodied in the mechanisms of law, can be enhanced through geographical enquiry.   In an age where we continue to witness environmental degradation and human rights infringements, can these two parallel narratives be brought together in a new post-post modern discourse led by geographically informed legal scholarship?