Chapter 4 addresses the fact that people’s feelings are difficult to incorporate in today’s environmental decision-making procedures, given those procedures’ reliance on objective, rather than subjective, arguments. The purpose of this chapter is to show that science and technology can turn feelings into facts, hence enhancing the functioning of public participation procedures. To this extent, the chapter first describes the legal duty in environmental decision making – found in both EU and international law – to include the relationship between facts and science on the one hand, and feelings and emotions on the other hand. Second, the chapter discusses how digital information and communication technologies (ICT) and geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to operationalize the emerging scientific paradigm of ecosystem services. Third, the chapter links ecosystem services science to the legal framework for the protection of fundamental rights, focusing mainly on cultural ecosystem services. In this way, the chapter discusses the possibility of producing information that is legally binding.
Abstract This chapter provides an insight into the main environmental principles shaping the evo-lution of EU law. The aim is to give an overview of the scope, functions and limitations of the core environmental principles. The following questions will be addressed: how did the European environmental principles emerge? Is there a difference between the general and specific environmental principles? What is the relation between the principles at the European level and at the national level? What are the main functions of the EU environ-mental principles? Is the territorial scope of the principles limited to the territory of the EU? Do the principles have binding effects? Can the principles be applied by the Courts? What are the possible trends in the evolution of the European environmental principles?