This is the third of a series of six essays by Professor Burns Weston and me, derived from our book Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights and the Law of the Commons, published by Cambridge University Press. The essays originally appeared on CSRWire. I am re-posting them here to introduce the paperback edition, which was recently released.
In the previous two essays in this series, we outlined our approach to Green Governance as a new model or paradigm for how we can relate to the natural environment. We also stressed how “Vernacular Law” – a kind of socially based “micro-law” that evolves through commons activity (“commoning”) – can establish legitimacy and trust in official state law, and thereby unleash new sorts of grassroots innovation in environmental stewardship.
In this essay, we explore another major dimension of the large shift we are proposing: how human rights can help propel a shift to Green Governance and thereafter help administer such governance once achieved.
Nothing is more basic to life than having sustainable access to food, clean air and water, and other resources that ecosystems provide. Surely a clean and healthy environment upon which life itself depends should be recognized as a fundamental human right.