Earthly Goods: Environmental Change and Social Justice

Earthly Goods: Environmental Change and Social Justice

Earthly Goods: Environmental Change and Social Justice

Earthly Goods: Environmental Change and Social Justice

Synopsis

Global environmental change raises profound moral issues with which society has only begun to grapple. What does fairness mean in dividing responsibilities for problems of global warming between rich and poor nations? Does the environment itself have moral standing and, if so, how should its conflicts with the interests of people who depend on the land for their livelihood be resolved? How can the interests of the poor, of indigenous peoples, and of future generations be properly accommodated in a political discourse about environmental policy which is dominated by industrialized states? This book extends the debate both within and across disciplines, engaging philosophers, geographers, political scientists, economists, sociologists, and environmental activists from four continents. The essays address the role of science in global change and argue that western science does not provide morally disinterested solutions to environmental problems. They discuss the role of state and substate actors in the international politics of the environment, and then use accounts of actual negotiations to argue for the centrality of social justice in reaching desirable and equitable agreements. They conclude that a framework for social justice under conditions of global environmental change must include community values and provide for participatory structures to arbitrate among competing interests.

Excerpt

This book has its origins in a 1992-93 series of workshops and a conference on global environmental change and social justice organized jointly by the Peace Studies Program at Cornell University, Carleton University, and Université d'Ottawa.Our aim was to bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to tackle together the knotty issues raised for environmental policymaking when social justice concerns are taken seriously. Participants included philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, historians, geographers, economists, biological scientists, and lawyers. Construction of a shared discourse among so many disciplines did not come easily, but we were rewarded in the final conference by a sustained discussion of the issues raised in this book. Most of the papers included here were presented at both a workshop and the final conference, and all have been revised in response to group discussion.

The book covers four major themes. Henry Shue, Wendy Donner, Will Kymlicka, and lain Wallace and David Knight lay out alternative frameworks for evaluating social justice from different philosophical perspectives.Christian Reus-Smit, Joseph Camilleri, and Smitu Kothari discuss the role of the state and of substate actors in the international politics of the environment.Sheila Jasanoff and Steven Yearley take up the question of the role of science in framing the debate on global environmental change and the use of science as a resource by various actors in actual negotiations.Finally, Peter Timmerman provides an account of international negotiations in which the themes of . . .

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