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Erin Daly and James R May

Rights to human dignity and to environmental quality have evolved co-incidentally, if independently, as drivers in modern constitutionalism. Most constitutions recognize a right to a quality environment, a right to human dignity, or both. Both rights are relatively recent inventions, and few – if any – modern constitutions are adopted or amended without attention to both of these features. Moreover, they share commonalities, inter alia, related to identifying causes of action, appropriate parties, and the scope of judicial review and remedies. And both involve complex legal, philosophical, and political dimensions.

Notwithstanding such positive correlations, courts from around the globe have been considerably more inclined to engage constitutionalized rights to human dignity than constitutionalized rights to a quality environment. Moreover, jurists, advocates and scholars have tended to overlook or ignore threads entwining human dignity and environmental rights jurisprudence. This article aims to tie up these loose ends.

After sampling both dignity and environmental rights jurisprudence and then examining the associations between the two, this article concludes that environmental and dignity rights jurisprudence can correspond in more mutually complementary ways. First, dignity can play a more prominent place in judicial treatment of environmental rights. Second, dignity rights jurisprudence can do more to engage the ways in which environmental degradation diminishes human dignity. As the two areas develop in tandem, jurisprudential outcomes in each area stand to benefit.

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James R. May and Erin Daly

Environmental constitutionalism is a new concept for protecting local and global environmental conditions by invoking national and subnational constitutional law. As constitution-drafters in all legal traditions commit to environmental stewardship, protection and sustainability, courts are increasingly called upon to vindicate protected environmental rights in both their substantive and their procedural aspects. Designed for judges, advocates, and policy-makers as well as scholars in the field, this research review discusses key writings on environmental constitutionalism from around the world, drawing attention to its contours, its challenges, and its potential for enhancing both environmental protection and constitutional governance in theory and context.
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James R. May and Erin Daly

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James R. May and Erin Daly

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James R. May and Erin Daly

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Erin Daly and James R May

Worldwide the constitutions of about three-quarters of nations address environmental matters in some fashion. The content of these constitutional provisions vary widely; some include a commitment to environmental stewardship, whilst others recognize a basic right to a quality environment, or ensure a right to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters. This chapter provides an introduction to and overview of the field of global environmental constitutionalism. It surveys the variety of environmental provisions in national and subnational constitutions, and examines several key challenges in implementation and adjudication. Ultimately, constitutional law fosters an expansive and holistic approach to the challenge of environmental protection because it deploys a wide range of legal tools, and because constitutionalism reflects the basic principles of a society, and the authority of the sovereign in decision making.
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James R May and Erin Daly

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Erin Daly and James R May

Abstract Environmental rights are indivisible with many other human rights, including rights to dignity, life, liberty, health, education, family and well-being. This indivisibility informs the legitimacy of environmental rights as human rights around the world. This chapter interrogates the nature of the relationship between environmental and other human rights, so that it may be determined whether and to what extent the vindication of environmental rights enhances or impedes the enjoyment of other human rights. It concludes that indivisibility contributes to a tension throughout the canon of environmental human rights law because environmental rights are intrinsically supportive of some human rights and detrimental to others, depending on the circumstances of each case.
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Erin Daly and James R May

Abstract The right to dignity is an important constitutional right that has been recognized and vindicated in courts around the world, in a wide variety of factual and legal settings that span the catalogues of both civil and political rights and socio-economic and cultural rights. Recently, as courts have begun to recognize the relationship between human and environmental rights, they have increasingly turned their attention to the ways in which environmental degradation, including that which is caused by climate change, affects the right to live with dignity. Thus, courts from countries as diverse as Nigeria, Ireland, and Pakistan have recognized that the right to dignity includes a right to live in a clean and stable environment. This chapter describes the burgeoning right to human dignity as it is recognized in constitutions and by courts around the world, and then describes how that right informs constitutional environmental adjudication and can advance environmental and climate justice.