Ecological Integrity and Global Governance : Science, ethics and the law book cover
1st Edition

Ecological Integrity and Global Governance
Science, ethics and the law

ISBN 9781138618282
Published June 7, 2018 by Routledge
218 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

It is increasingly argued that a focus on environmental sustainability is fundamental to effective and equitable governance, and ultimately for the good of mankind. This book argues that, in the face increasing environmental challenges, it is essential to recognise the role that ecological integrity has played, and must play, in governance for environmental sustainability in order to ensure the future survival of life on earth.

Ecological integrity encompasses not only the necessity of respect for nature, but also the human right to a sound and healthy environment. The author shows that on this basis, acceptance of its primacy in law and governance is key to a sustainable and equitable future for all. The book presents a uniquely informed treatise on the term, its origins, evolution and position in current debates, exploring the conflicts which have so far prevented its acceptance.

Written by a leading scholar on the subject, this book provides the most in-depth exposition of ecological integrity available to increase understanding of this crucial concept and encourage its adoption in governance and international law.

Table of Contents


1. Ecological Integrity between Ethics and Law

2. Integrity in Conflict

2.1 Integrity in Conflict

2.2 Capitalism and Globalization in Conflict with the Integrity of Life- Support Systems

2.3 Biological/Ecological Integrity and Cosmopolitan Theory

2.4 International Law v. Cosmopolitanism: The Need for Global Governance

2.5 Concluding Thoughts and Plans for the Next Steps

3. Integrity against Racism in Conflict Situations and Migrations

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Disintegrity in Conflicts

3.3 Disintegrity and the Racist Roots of the Fight against Terrorism

3.4 Disintegrity and a Major Threat to Humanity

3.5 The Effects of Unlivable Environments: Forced Migrations, Displaced Persons and Desperate Asylum seekers

4. Air, Food and Water: Ecointegrity for the Survival of Present and Future Generations

4.1 Introduction

4.2 The Right to Food and Ecological Integrity

4.3 "Feeding the World Without GMOs?"

4.4 Water, Air, and Climate Change: Integrity and one Earth

4.5 From One Health to the Dynamic Processes of the Wild

4.6 Concluding Thoughts

5. Ecological Integrity as Basic Human Right and the Principle of the Common Heritage of Humankind

5.1 Introduction

5.2 A Possible Role for the Principle of the Common Heritage of Mankind

5.3 The Natural Heritage and the Travaux Preparatoire for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention

5.4 Possible Future Developments?

6. Ecologically Based Governance and the Future of Integrity

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Toward a Middle Path: An Attempt to Moderate and Control Ecosystem Harm

6.3 Global Ecological Governance and "the Law of the Commons"

6.4 Green Governance and "Nature’s Trust"

6.5 Other Proposals for Green Governance and Sustainability: Major Obstacles

7. The Integrity of the Earth: A Moral and Legal Imperative for Survival

7.1 Introduction: Laudato Si’, The June 18, 2015 Papal Encyclical

7.2 Overview of Positive Findings for Ecologically Based Governance

7.3 Review of Problems and Obstacles in the Best Strategies Reviewed

7.4 The Defense of Integrity and Ecological Governance

7.5 Ecological Integrity and the Common Heritage Principle Again

7.6 Concluding Thoughts

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Laura Westra is professor emerita (philosophy), University of Windsor, Canada and a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Law, University of Milano (Bicocca), Italy. 


"Global Environmental Governance has many flaws as is commonly known, but this book uncovers their root cause. Summarizing much of her impressive lifework, Laura Westra makes a strong case for ecological integrity as a fundamental principle to guide law and governance. Governments and decision-makers ignore this book’s vital message at their peril."Klaus Bosselmann, University of Auckland, New Zealand. 

"With this new book, Laura Westra has added to her prodigious output of scholarly work on the topic of ecological integrity. She continues to give meaning to the vital concept, this time with an emphasis on its importance to law and global governance. Most of Westra's past work on ecological integrity, including on environmental ethics, policy and law, human rights and global justice is interwoven throughout this masterful analysis."Kathleen Mahoney, University of Calgary, Canada. 

"Laura Westra offers an impressive multidisciplinary discussion of the concept of "ecological integrity" aimed at developing it as a working legal category in the making of a cosmopolitan and yet practical ecology of law. This is the best kind of contribution that a philosopher can offer to the challenges of Anthropocene. A must-read."Ugo Mattei, co-author of Plunder: When The Rule of Law is Illegal and of The Ecology of Law

"The sustainability of the human enterprise hangs on entangled threads of ecological integrity and social justice swinging precariously in the void yet to be occupied by effective global governance. Laura Westra’s latest book weaves the safety net of science, ethics and international law the world community needs to save itself from itself."William Rees, University of British Columbia, Canada. 

"Westra has followed the scientific, ethical, philosophical, legal, social, local, and global dimensions of ecosystem integrity across three decades. She is on the front lines in her clarion call that ecosystem integrity is foundational for respecting life on this wonderland Earth." – Holmes Rolston III, Colorado State University, USA. 

"The lack of consideration for "ecological integrity" is the key to explain how states and corporations disregard human rights, public health, as well as problems posed by forced migrations, food and water deprivation and climate change. This book is not radical, but radically logical and even balanced in its proposals."Tullio Scovazzi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.