Justice and the Environment: Conceptions of Environmental Sustainability and Theories of Distributive Justice

By Andrew Dobson | Go to book overview

Conclusion
I PROPOSE to conclude in two parts. First, shall outline and briefy describe eight theses on environmental sustainability and social justice which can be distilled from the body of this book. I shall then, second, take up a question that has ghosted the text and try to resolve it. This question derives from the way in which the discussion of the relationship between justice and sustainability has been divided up into discrete 'sections', corresponding to each of the conceptions of environmental sustainability developed and described in Chapter 2. This enabled us to establish points of distributional conflict within conceptions of sustainability (e.g. between present generation wants and future generation needs in Conception A), but it obscured (or discouraged) discussion of conflicts across these conceptions. What I want to do in the second part of this Conclusion, then, is to take up the question of whether there can be an overarching idea of social justice which will be compatible with as many of the intentions of environmental sustainability as possible. I shall pursue this question by considering the claims of two contrasting approaches to generating such an idea: that of Peter Wenz ( 1988), and that of Bryan Norton ( 1991). But first, let me outline the theses.First thesis: the discourses of sustainability and justice may be related in three fundamental ways: (i) the environment as something to be distributed, (ii) justice as functional for sustainability, (iii) 'justice to the environment'.
i. All theories of justice are about the distribution of something and one answer to the question of what this 'something' might be is: environmental goods and bads. This

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Justice and the Environment: Conceptions of Environmental Sustainability and Theories of Distributive Justice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents xi
  • PART I 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1- Environmental Politics And Distributive Justice 12
  • PART II 31
  • 2- Three Conceptions Of Environmental Sustainability 33
  • 3- The Dimensions of Social Justice 62
  • PART III 85
  • 4- 'Critical Natural Capital' And Social Justice (part L) 87
  • 5- 'Critical Natural Capital' And Social Justice (part Ii) 132
  • 6- 'Irreversibility' and Social Justice 165
  • 7- 'Natural Value' and Social Justice 216
  • Conclusion 240
  • References 263
  • Index 275
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