'Critical Natural Capital' and Social Justice (Part II)
I SUGGESTED at the end of the previous chapter that the connection between environmental sustainability and Distributive justice is fundamentally a contingent one, and I want now to pursue this thought in connection with work done by Amartya Sen on human welfare, and in discussion of possible principles of distribution. My comments on Sen will show that concern for human welfare need not necessarily lead to a concern for environmental sustainability and my comments on distributive principles will simultaneously confirm the contingency of the relationship between justice and sustainability, and open up the range of distributive principles that might tighten this relationship. In this context, distribution accord ing to need is usually advanced as the most likely candidate, but I shall outline a case for desert too. Finally, I shall spend some time considering debates regarding the acquisition of property in natural goods, and regarding the role that property in such goods might play in strategies for environmental sustainability, before concluding with some comments on compensatory justice in this rather special context of discussion of a non-substitutable good--critical natural capital.
A glance at Box 4 in the table of conceptions of environmental sustainability developed in Chapter 2 will remind us that the princi