The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Chapter 2: The effectiveness of the law in providing access to environmental justice: an introduction
Environmental justice includes three concepts: distributive justice, procedural justice and justice as recognition. In this chapter, I will consider the ways in which the law supports (or fails to support) these in practice. Distributive justice concerns the distribution of environmental goods (or benefits) and environmental bads (or burdens). Distributive justice is promoted by giving substantive rights to members of the community of justice to share in environmental benefits (such as clean air, water and land, green space and a healthful ecology) and to prevent, mitigate, remediate or be compensated for environmental burdens (such as pollution and loss of green space, biological diversity or ecological integrity). Claims about distributive justice involve addressing three questions: who are the members of the community of justice to whom distributive justice is due? What are the environmental benefits and burdens to be distributed? And, what are the principles or criteria of distribution to be applied? Just arrangements should be assessed not only in simple distributive terms, but also in how distributions of benefits and burdens affect the capabilities of members of the community of justice to achieve valuable functionings (both activities and states of existence or being).
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