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Earth system law and the legal status of non-humans in the Anthropocene

Gellers, Joshua C. 2020. Earth system law and the legal status of non-humans in the Anthropocene. Earth System Governance (online first).

Abstract

Who belongs to communities of justice in the Anthropocene? While Western and non-Western traditions alike have typically afforded legal recognition primarily to humans and secondarily to some non-human entities under limited conditions, arrival of the Anthropocene suggests a new approach is needed in order to address the range and origins of injustices occurring within the Earth system. Beginning with a discussion of Earth system law and how its expansive scope accommodates non-traditional legal subjects, the essay proceeds with an overview of the rights of nature movement. I then present a comparative analysis of rights of nature cases adjudicated in Ecuador, Colombia, and India. From the foregoing evidence I argue that both theory and practice support broadening the universe of entities capable of qualifying as legal subjects eligible for legal rights to include both natural and artefactual non-humans, a move integral to obtaining socio-ecological justice under Earth system law.

Full article available here

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