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Ed Couzens, Tim Stephens, Cameron Holley, Saiful Karim, Kate Owens, Manuel Solis and Katie Woolaston
Class actions provide a mechanism for grouping together like claims; and, in doing so, can enhance access to justice and the integrity of our democratic processes. Environmental class actions have an important role to play in environmental governance including by providing compensation and remediation, shaping norms of conduct and promoting accountability. There are, however, various limitations on the usefulness of class actions in achieving environmental objectives. In particular, the class actions regime is procedural rather than substantive (it does not overcome limitations on the availability or utility of causes of action for addressing environmental harm); it attracts the operation of additional rules and jurisprudence which may make some actions more difficult or not well suited to being brought as class actions; and class actions tend to be expensive and risky. Accordingly (and notwithstanding a recent flurry) we are unlikely to see the opening of the dreaded floodgates. Rather, environmental governance will most likely continue to be supported by the appropriate and considered commencement and conduct of meritorious actions.
Edited by Anna Grear
This article outlines the environmental disaster that was phosphate mining on Banaba – or Ocean Island, as it was known to outsiders. The article tracks the tactics used by what became the BPC (British Phosphate Commissioners) in extracting phosphate from the island, resulting in the removal of 90 per cent of its soil and simultaneously alienating Banabans from their land, livelihoods and culture. This process took place over 80 years, finally ending in 1981. In the course of this extraction, Banabans were removed from what was fast becoming an uninhabitable environment in 1945, when they began life on the Fijian island of Rabi. This article reflects on the ongoing legacy of bitterness and grief experienced by Banabans, together with their attempts at obtaining restitution from the Company and the governments it represented. In this context, the art installation Project Banaba (2017; 2019) by Katerina Teaiwa is considered as a response to these histories. The article concludes with an examination of the literature that considers the removal of Banabans as a test case for climate-induced migration, noting that the singularity of the Banaban experience is not likely to be repeated, while also acknowledging the ongoing legacy of loss and grief for Banabans.
Ed Couzens, Tim Stephens, Katie Woolaston, Manuel Solis, Kate Owens, Saiful Karim, Cameron Holley and Evan Hamman
Anna Berti Suman, Sven Schade and Yasuhito Abe
In this article, we investigate how citizens use data they gather as a rhetorical resource for demanding environmental policy interventions and advancing environmental justice claims. While producing citizen-generated data (CGD) can be regarded as a form of ‘social protest’, citizens and interested institutional actors still have to ‘justify’ the role of lay people in producing data on environmental issues. Such actors adopt a variety of arguments to persuade public authorities to recognize CGD as a legitimate resource for policy making and regulation. So far, scant attention has been devoted to inspecting the different legitimization strategies adopted to push for institutional use of CGD. In order to fill this knowledge gap, we examine which distinctive strategies are adopted by interested actors: existing legitimization arguments are clustered, and strategies are outlined, based on a literature review and exemplary cases. We explore the conceivable effects of these strategies on targeted policy uses. Two threads emerge from the research, entailing two complementary arguments: namely that listening to CGD is a governmental obligation and that including CGD is ultimately beneficial for making environmental decisions. We conclude that the most used strategies include showing the scientific strength and contributory potential of CGD, whereas environmental rights and democracy-based strategies are still rare. We discuss why we consider this result to be problematic and outline a future research agenda.
Religious codes possess social control effects that can potentially change the behaviour of their adherents towards becoming pro-environment. In the case of Islam, Muslim-majority states since the time of the Prophet Muhammad have implemented Islamic environmental law to this effect. Unfortunately, accounts of its implementation today in the legal literature are scant, thereby requiring fresh insights that consider changes in the application of Islamic law in modern states. Generally, this article observes that the implementation of Islamic environmental law today takes two forms: first, implementation through constitutions; and, second, implementation through non-binding religio-legal instruments. Focusing on the second form, application in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia is analysed and evaluated. In these three Southeast Asian states non-binding religious rulings (fatwa) and mosque sermons (khutbah) have been used to implement Islamic environmental law. There are two key factors which contribute to ensuring that these non-binding instruments achieve their social control objectives: first, local legal and political contexts shaped by religion-state relations that help their implementation and legitimation; and, second, the pursuit of post-fatwa/khutbah follow-up action by religious authorities to put Islamic environmental law into actual practice.
Tom Sparks, Visa Kurki and Saskia Stucki
Legal animal rights may, in the short term, offer an efficient means to improve the living conditions of animals and how they are treated by human societies. This article argues that this shift to adopt an animal rights framing of the human-animal interaction might also risk producing certain counterproductive effects. It suggests that there is a need for a broader reassessment of the relationships between the human and animal worlds. This article posits that the adoption of legal animal rights as a workable legal solution for the better protection of animals has been increasingly accepted because rights frameworks rely upon a core premise of Western jurisprudence, namely legal subjectivism and the epistemological and axiological assumptions it conveys. The article argues that such an individualistic and dualist approach to legal animal rights will ultimately reveal itself to be insufficient and unable to capture animals as members of concrete social and environmental entanglements. Rather, a true legal revolution is required, which would evoke an ecological understanding of law itself.