Ecological Citizenship - A New Landscape for Human Rights Debate?
The vision of an ecological citizenship, and a new conception of the good life that has evolved out of ecological justice movements worldwide highlights not only principles o f equity, equality, and justice, but also incorporates an emphasis on human rights. A conception of human rights is explicit within both the movement and academic works on notions of ecological citizenship. However, within the global justice movement, the notion of human rights embraces is one that interprets human rights broadly, beyond the current international regime, and beyond the current commitments of those in the international arena. This paper argues that this understanding of human rights revives and breathes new life into questions about the connection between human rights and the environment. Using climate change campaigns as a case study, the paper examines the formulation of rights used within environmental justice advocacy. The conception of human rights mobilised is that of a right to environment, in contrast to deep ecologist and animal rights activists' calls for rights of the environment. The environmental justice view is composed of three separate sets of human rights: the right to a sustainable livelihood; the right to traditional and cultural use of the environment; and the right to sovereignty and place. These understandings of a human right to the environment represent a departure from previous discussions and debates about the right to environment which typically focus only on the right to a sustainable livelihood or a clean environment. Thus, the practice of environmental justice movements provides significant new ways of conceiving and understanding the connection between the environment and rights.
Australasian Political Studies Association Conference 2005