Abstract: Consider the following intuitive conservation dilemma: Is it possible to condemn the mining of the Grand Canyon by a poor generation while condoning this generation’s mining of an unremarkable small canyon? I argue that several prominent egalitarian, utilitarian, and communitarian theories of environmental justice are unable to navigate this seemingly simple dilemma. I then argue that a novel, pluralist theory of environmental justice committed to both respect for the separateness of persons and to the collective good can navigate this dilemma. Such a theory can justify treating the natural world as akin to a common inheritance of humankind. Just as inheritances are often subject to equal division among the heirs followed by some redistribution of shares to address overall disadvantage, so, too, the natural world should be subject to an intergenerational equal division of rights followed by some redistribution of rights to address disadvantage. I demonstrate that this way of allocating rights to the natural world can justify protecting the Grand Canyon while also allowing the small canyon to be mined.
Speaker: Joseph Mazor
A hybrid event for Uehiro Centre Members and Associates (booking not required).
Zoom: please request the joining link from from firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-person venue: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Suite 1 Seminar Area, Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe’s Street, Oxford OX1 1PT (buzzer 1)