New Approaches to Conservation Law
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
There are substantial ethical objections to a market-based approach to biodiversity. The Land Ethic, Deep Ecology and Wild Law all call (in different ways) for humans to see themselves as part of the natural world, not as its masters who are free to buy, sell or destroy it. To the extent that schemes rely on the creation of habitats to balance losses which are being permitted to occur, there are concerns that these are inherently different from authentic habitats, and that returning land to its ‘wild’ state can destroy valuable human heritage. There are also concerns that some matters are inherently unsuited to a market-based approach and that there needs to be an appreciation that the application of such thinking alters our perception of relationships between parties and with the things being traded. It must be recognised, though, that existing legal approaches also embody choices which are relevant here and far from uncontestable.
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