1st Edition

Ecological Law in Practice Case Studies for a Transformative Approach

Edited By Geoffrey Garver Copyright 2025
    276 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a series of ‘ecological law’ case studies, designed to illustrate in concrete, real-world ways how ecological law would transform law in a range of diverse contexts.

    Ecological law is an emerging, and currently mostly theoretical, discipline grounded on the need to shift away from anthropocentric legal systems, which aim to promote economic growth using strong protections of private property regimes and state sovereignty, to ecological approaches, which emphasize ecocentrism, the primacy of ecological limits and intragenerational, intergenerational and interspecies fairness and justice. The ecological law case studies presented in this book apply the theoretical principles and concepts of ecological law to diverse real-world situations or activities in several countries and contexts. Taking up a range of examples from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria, the United States and internationally, the book demonstrates the concrete relevance of ecological law to contemporary sustainability challenges, as it reveals pathways for overcoming real-world challenges in the implementation and public acceptance of ecological law.

    This book will appeal to researchers, scholars and policy makers working in the area of environmental law and governance; as well as others with relevant interests in sociolegal studies, human geography, political science, and environmental studies.

    1. Introduction 

    Geoffrey Garver

    2. Overview of Ecological Law Case Studies 

    Geoffrey Garver 

    Nine Case Studies 

    Part I Development projects 

    3. A proposed phosphate mine and fertilizer plant in Anitápolis, Brazil 

    Cristiane Derani, Gabriela Pinheiro, Adrian Amaral, Ângela Maria Konrath and Taisi Copetti 

    4. Ecological law and Quartier Dix30, Canada’s first “Lifestyle Centre” 

    Geoffrey Garver 

    Part II Wild plants and animals 

    5. Human impacts on Posidonia oceanica in the Mediterranean Sea: Bringing together ecological law and green criminology 

    Esteban Morelle-Hungría and Pablo Serra-Palao 

    6. We are all in the same pod: How ecological law can revitalise the Southern Resident Orcas 

    Rosalind Warner and Kriss Kevorkian 

    Part III Restoration of damaged sites and ecosystems 

    7. Restoration, protection, and legal personhood of River Ethiope in Nigeria 

    Irikefe Dafe, Geoffrey Garver, Ngozi Finette Unuigbe and Grant Wilson 

    8. Ecological restoration at three Australian regulatory sites: Opportunities for a law beyond the human? 

    Emille Boulot and Joshua Sterlin 

    Part IV International engagements 

    9. Ecological trade in North America: A radical transformation of CUSMA-USMCA 

    Geoffrey Garver and Carla Sbert 

    10. Ecological law and marine biodiversity on the High Seas 

    Sarah Reiter and Dillon Post 

    Part V Community and civil society engagements 

    11. Intergenerational justice, right to healthy environment and rights of nature: The role of German civil society in the transition to ecological law 

    Stefan Knauss 

    Synthesis and Conclusion 

    Geoffrey Garver


    Geoffrey Garver is Part-time Professor at Concordia University, Montreal, and Research Associate and Course Lecturer at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

    “Our devastatingly changing climate and other anthropogenic impacts confront humans with the reach of our entanglement in the Earth's systems. The case studies in this volume from around the world provide laser sharp focus on the legal dimensions of this entanglement through the concepts of Ecological Law, a crucial diagnostic that goes beyond the obvious limitations of environmental regulation and contains the seeds for re-envisioning legal systems that are self-consciously part of life Earth.” Professor Kirsten Anker, McGill University Faculty of Law, Canada 

    “At the core of contemporary law are regimes of private property, state sovereignty and economic growth that are ecologically blind. This book is an eye-opener. Its case studies lay bare the tensions between those who cannot - or refuse to – see ecological reality and those who do. Compulsory reading for anyone interested in contemporary law and how it must change.” Professor Klaus Bosselmann, University of Auckland, New Zealand 

    Ecological Law in Practice breaks new ground by rigorously analyzing how core tenets of ecological law - ecocentrism, ecological primacy, and justice - could concretely reshape human-Earth relations. The 9 meticulously researched case studies, spanning Indigenous rights, biodiversity protection, trade agreements and beyond, provide an invaluable roadmap for re-envisioning law to respect planetary boundaries and nurture mutually enhancing relations between humans and nature. A must-read for anyone grappling with how to realign legal systems for the Anthropocene.” Professor Peter Burdon, Adelaide Law School, Australia

     “Ecological law presents a radical alternative to conventional environmental law insofar as it strives to achieve the deep structural changes we urgently need to see in our relations with each other and with the more-than-human world. But much of the emerging knowledge about ecological law remains abstract and theoretical. This exciting new volume, edited by Geoffrey Garver, a leading proponent of ecological law, and authored by diverse experts from around the world, offers a first important exploration of how ecological law functions in practice. This is a fundamentally important work that will significantly expand the horizon of opportunities and possibilities that ecological law practically offers for living well together in the Anthropocene.” Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis J. Kotzé, North-West University, South Africa