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Catherine Iorns Magallanes

Abstract New Zealand does not recognise any human right to a healthy environment, nor have existing human rights been extended to enable any remedies for violations through degraded environments. In contrast, the recognition of indigenous rights and the resolution of land claims has led to the recognition of indigenous environmental rights and responsibilities. The protection of indigenous worldviews and indigenous environmental management has led to the adoption of measures for environmental protection that go beyond simple claims to rights; they instead implement complex notions of communal responsibility and guardianship on the part of individuals, communities and the state. This chapter discusses Māori environmental rights and relationships in New Zealand, focusing on the innovative use of legal personhood for natural features. It concludes that Māori indigenous rights to land, resources and culture have resulted in a new way to not only protect the environment but to reconceive our relationship with the environment.
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Catherine J. Iorns Magallanes

This Chapter discusses ways in which law can be used to incorporate indigenous cosmologies within a Western society and legal system, and better protect the natural environment in the process. It first addresses indigenous beliefs about humans’ relationship with nature, and how the indigenous cosmology contrasts with dominant and prevailing Western and liberal ideas. The Chapter then explores examples of the recognition of the right of Maori to have their cosmology upheld in New Zealand (NZ) law. In order to understand the current position, the history of the Treaty of Waitangi is first explained, as is the mechanism adopted to address the Maori grievances arising from its many breaches by the NZ government. Next, different aspects of NZ law are addressed, from recognition of Maori interests and cosmology in mainstream resource management decision-making, to special arrangements designed specifically to implement Maori cosmology in the management of NZ’s natural resources. Two such special arrangements are focused on, ones that have recognized in law the Maori view that the natural environment should be treated more as a person rather than simply as a resource. The author suggests that such incorporation of Maori cosmology in the NZ legal system is altering mainstream constructions of nature through normalizing the indigenous constructions. Thus the protection of indigenous rights to culture and religion could better protect a healthy environment for everyone.

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Catherine Iorns Magallanes and Linda Sheehan

If we want to encourage the emergence of the new economy that is envisaged in his book, then the legal framework that supports it will need to change. This chapter outlines the essentials of a legal framework that arises from a paradigm that recognizes the importance of nature and re-prioritizes humans’ place within it. It focuses on three essential elements: the recognition of the intrinsic value of nature, the recognition of inherent rights of nature, and the establishment of a framework of human responsibility for nature. Such a legal framework would entail a paradigm shift; however, adoption of such elements in law can also help achieve such a shift in mindset as well as in practice. To this end, this chapter includes examples of existing and proposed laws adopting these three essential and intertwined elements, with global focus areas that include California and Aotearoa New Zealand.

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S Ravi Rajan, Kirsten Davies and Catherine Iorns Magallanes

Abstract This chapter describes some of the principles underlying environmental human rights and identifies the most common types of environmental claims made. In doing so, it discusses the different types of claims about the environment and human rights, and their legal and philosophical foundations; it explores how advocacy organizations and scholars in the environmental social sciences have bridged environmental concerns with human rights; and addresses the topic of intra- and inter-generational rights to the environment.
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Kirsten Davies, Sam Adelman, Anna Grear, Catherine Iorns Magallanes, Tom Kerns and S Ravi Rajan

The Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change responds to the profound crisis of human hierarchies now characterizing the climate crisis. The Declaration, initiated prior to the 2015 COP 21 meeting by scholars from the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), is one of a convergence of initiatives reflecting the need to understand human rights as intrinsically threatened by climate change. This article introduces the Declaration, the necessity for it, its philosophical and legal background and its support by contemporary cases providing evidence of the escalating legal need for such a tool. A key aim of the Declaration is to trace out a potential normative approach for establishing responsibility towards the planet and redressing unevenly distributed vulnerabilities and climate injustices while recognizing that it is vital that respect for human rights should be understood as an indispensable element of any adequate approach to climate change. The Declaration strives to offer a compelling level of ethical appeal, as well as to be legally literate and philosophically rigorous. The drafting process engaged scholars and communities from across the world, prioritized indigenous involvement, and drew on indigenous ontologies and epistemologies. Newer philosophical approaches such as new materialist understandings of lively materiality also informed the drafting process. Accordingly, the language of the Declaration creates space for non-Western ways of seeing and being as well as responding to insights emerging from new scientific understandings of the world.