Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Environmental rights are human rights

Environmental Justice believes that everyone has the right to live in a healthy environment with access to enough environmental resources (e.g. land, food, water and air) for a healthy life. The poorest and least powerful people in the world are most likely to be missing these conditions and environmental justice seeks to change that inequality. .

Friends of the Earth UK have been one of the pioneering organisations in formulating ideas around Environmental Justice. They have developed ideas coming originally from US based environmental groups that were concerned about the tendency of polluting industries to be sited near poor urban populations or indigenous peoples' reservations. Over the years the concept has been broadened to tackle issues such as the high level of pollutants found in the fish consumed by Inuit populations and others that live largely on fish. Most recently environmental rights are encompassing the rights of climate change refugees, people who are losing their homes due to rising sea levels or other changes caused or exacerbated by climate change.


It's a global issue, one where the people affected are rarely the people who are causing the problems. It is the industrial countries of the north (and increasingly the rapidly developing countries of Asia) who are burning the fossil fuel that's causing the sea level rises that threaten the very existence of some low lying island states.

Environmental rights are human rights. People's health and livelihoods depend upon their access to a healthy environment.

In September 2003, the Cartegna Declaration was developed from the International Conference of Environmental Rights and Human Rights held in Cartagena, Colombia.

This is just a brief introduction to a vast topic. For an in depth look at Environmental Justice from a UK based perspective, you can read Friends of the Earth's detailed briefing.

This post is part of Blog Action Day, which this year is focussed on Human Rights. 

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

10 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Thumbs UP for a clean environment. Great post!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I agree 100%. They are intertwined and go hand in hand. Very thought-provoking.

Cat Mom said...

Good afternoon, Juliet. I ponder these things every time I take a shower. I am so grateful for the clean water I am privileged to have. I used to live by a Superfund cleanup site. Miraculously, I am still alive. Whew. P.S. Have the insect houses been rebuilt somewhere else?

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Cat Mom, yes clean water is something we take for granted too often. As to the insect houses, I don't think they've been rebuilt anywhere, I'll blog about it if I find out!

Christina said...

The title says it all. I am sharing this one.

Rabbits' Guy said...

I wonder if a man and a woman who live in the squalor of the slums of, say, Mexico City, think their baby has that right?

Gillena Cox said...

Environmental justice, definitely gets my thumbs up

Much love...

Crafty Green Poet said...

eileen, Optimistic, Christina - thanks!

Rabbits Guy - I think the man and woman you mention are unlikely to know they have the right themselves, people often take their circumstances as a given



veganelder said...

I'm curious as to whether "everyone" means all living beings or only those who belong to the group called human?

Crafty Green Poet said...

veganelder, unfortunately I think that the idea of environmental justice as generally used, only refers to humans. The fight for justic for other species is in most cases a lot further behind.