Edited by Jordi Jaria-Manzano and Susana Borrás
Chapter 8: The fragility of climate, human responsibility and finding the impetus to act decisively – investigating the potential of the ethics of care
The burgeoning climate change crisis is, understandably, spurring efforts to press human rights law into service to address some of its manifest impacts on people. This approach is, however, subject to inherent limitations – above all, the inevitably anthropocentric nature of human rights law means that, significant as it may prove, it cannot adequately carry the burden of addressing anthropogenic climate change. The shortcomings of existing approaches to law and policy in addressing this ‘super-wicked’ problem mean that a pernicious disengagement with issues must be addressed. In this context, where cumulative human activity is now recognised as posing an existential threat, finding new ways to conceive the human/environment relationship become imperative. Giving effect to the juxtaposition between human rights and human responsibility offers one potential route to do so. Meaningfully progressing human responsibility beyond the conceptual in international environmental law has, however, proven highly problematic. To revivify the debate, this chapter probes the possibilities of applying an eco-feminist-framed, ecologically informed iteration of the responsibility-rooted feminist ethics of care as a foundation for refashioning the human/environment relationship in a grounded, holistic and sustainable fashion, more fit to address the challenges we now face.
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