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THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE 2016$
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Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190848194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190848194.001.0001

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Rethinking Rights in the Age of the “Anthropocene”

Rethinking Rights in the Age of the “Anthropocene”

The Potential of a Gandhian-Informed Jurisprudence for Forging Robust Environmental and Public Health Protections

Chapter:
(p.134) Rethinking Rights in the Age of the “Anthropocene”
Source:
THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE 2016
Author(s):

Karen C. Sokol

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190848194.003.0007

The current age of climate change—what geologists call the “Anthropocene”— lays bare the falsity of the “rights” dichotomy dominant in Western legal theory. Under that dichotomy, civil and political rights are conceived of as separate from, and more important than, the right to basic health and environmental protection. The author argues that two of the key principles in the Indian texts on which Gandhi based his theory of civil disobedience—love for all beings (ahimsa) and the interconnectedness of all beings and the Earth—provide a basis for dismantling this “rights” dichotomy. The author then discusses other theories of rights that could accommodate a Gandhian-informed unified theory—one that includes civil, political, environmental, and public health rights on equal footing. Such a reconceptualization of rights is necessary to respond to the immense global environmental and public health threats we all face in the age of the Anthropocene.

Keywords:   ahimsa, Anthropocene, climate change, environmental law, Gandhi, Indian philosophy, public health, rights theory, satyagraha

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