Environmental Justice

Sophia Kopela
Ben Mayfield
Saskia Vermeylen

At a time of acute ecological crisis and urgency, environmental justice is increasingly becoming an important part of environmental law.  Environmental justice provides a critical lens through which to study wider societal and philosophical questions about the relationship between nature and culture and raises questions about equity and fairness in relation to the distribution of environmental harm and benefits. However, environmental justice and its relationship with environmental law remains uncertain especially due to the diversity of approaches of what environmental justice is and how it can be attained.

In this conference we are interested in papers contributing to a theoretical debate about procedural, substantive and distributive justice and how it intersects with environmental law in general and environmental damage in particular.  Papers could also examine from a comparative law approach and with reference to different levels of regulation (i.e. national, transnational, supranational (EU) and international) how laws and regulation can be used to achieve environmental justice. Finally, we are also interested in theoretical and practical contributions in the area of earth jurisprudence and wild law to question how concepts of environmental justice can further the debate how to protect nature for its own intrinsic non-economic value.

Some of the themes and questions the papers may want to explore are:

  • To what extent can environmental justice determine what is (un)fair, to whom it is (un)fair and how does this relate to wider socio-legal debates about rights, fairness and entitlements to justice?
  • How can environmental justice contribute to wider questions about environmental law in general and environmental damage in particular?
  • Is the environment a global common that needs to be protected for its intrinsic value and how does this rights-based approach intersect with environmental justice?
  • How does current international environmental law intersect with principles and functions of environmental justice?
  • How are principles of fairness and equity been interpreted and applied in environmental law?
  • What is the relationship between environmental damage and property rights and how do certain property regimes create an unfair and non-equitable environment?  
  • What is the empirical evidence of environmental justice influencing international and/or national environmental lawmaking? What is the role of NGOs, civil society and grassroots environmental justice movements in this respect?
  • What is the relationship between environmental and social justice with respect to the satisfaction of human needs?
  • How can human rights perspectives contribute to environmental justice?
  • How does inter- and intra-generational equity relate and contribute to environmental justice?
  • How should governments respond to local, national and international environmental crises?

Abstracts may only be submitted via the Easy Chair Platform. They must be no longer than 300 words and should include your title, name and institutional affiliation and your email address for correspondence.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 18th January 2016.