Journal of Human Rights and the Environment

Classical environmentalism and environmental human rights: an exploration of their ontological origins and differences

S Ravi Rajan * *

Keywords: environmentalism, classical environmentalism, environmental human rights, ontology, sustenance, security


This article offers an exploration of the ontological differences between classical environmentalist perspectives and those of environmental human rights advocates. It has two substantive parts. The first section is a historical survey of central tenets of traditional forms of environmentalism, which discusses the aesthetic, utilitarian and scientific frameworks therein. The second section similarly examines environmental human rights and, in particular, two key concepts: sustenance rights and security rights. The concluding section summarises the central normative and ontic differences between these two traditions.

Author Notes

I would like to thank the Yale Agrarian Studies seminar for very useful feedback on the first draft of this article. I am also grateful to Karen Morrow for her patience, and to Sue Dickinson, for her meticulous proof reading. I am especially indebted to Dr Anna Grear for her encouragement and understanding during the process of converting the draft into this article. I remain solely responsible for any errors of omission or commission.

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