1st Edition

The Earth Charter, Ecological Integrity and Social Movements

Edited By Laura Westra, Mirian Vilela Copyright 2014
    290 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    290 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society, with ecological integrity as a major theme. This book provides a series of analyses of ecological integrity as it relates to the Earth Charter, social movements and international law for human rights. It is shown how the Earth Charter project began as a United Nations initiative, but it was carried forward and completed by a global civil society initiative. 

    The drafting of the Earth Charter involved the most inclusive and participatory process of its time ever associated with the creation of an international declaration. This process is the primary source of its legitimacy as a guiding ethical framework. The Earth Charter was finalized and then launched in 2000 and its legitimacy has been further enhanced by its endorsement by over 6,500 organizations, including many governments and international organizations. In the light of this legitimacy, an increasing number of international lawyers recognize that the Earth Charter is acquiring the status of a soft law document.  

    The book also shows the strong connection between ecological integrity and social justice, particularly in the defence of indigenous people, and includes contributions from both the North and the global South, specifically from Central and South America.

    Prologue: Summons to a New Axial Age: The Promise, Limits, and Future of the Earth Charter 

    Ron Engel 


    Mirian Vilela 


    Laura Westra 

    Part 1: The Earth Charter and the Search for Common Ground 

    1. The Rule of Law Grounded in the Earth: Ecological Integrity as a Grundnorm 

    Klaus Bosselmann 

    2. The Earth Charter, the Commons and the Common Heritage of Mankind Principle 

    Prue Taylor

    3. Realising Earth Democracy: Governance from Below 

    Peter Burdon 

    Part 2: International Law, Ethics and Social Movements 

    4. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Presenting the Problem as the Solution 

    Mihir Kanade 

    5. Norms For Scientific Claims Made in The Face of Scientific Uncertainty: Lessons From the Climate Change Disinformation Campaign 

    Don Brown 

    6. What a Difference a Disaster Makes-or Doesn’t: A Comparative Case Study of Governmental and Popular Responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy 

    Sheila Collins 

    Part 3: International Law, Human Rights and Ecological Integrity 

    7. The Law of Transboundary Groundwater 

    Joseph Dellapenna 

    8. Oceans for Sale 

    Jeff Brown and Abby Sandy 

    9. Land Grabbing, Food Security and the Environment: Human Rights Challenges 

    Onita Das and Evadné Grant 

    10. Is a Green New Deal Strategy a Sustainable Response to the Social and Ecological Challenges of the Present World? 

    Eva Cudlínová 

    11. Frack Off! – Law, Policy, Social Resistance, Coal Seam Gas Mining and the Earth Charter 

    Janice Gray 

    Part 4: Indigenous Voices for Integrity 

    12. Canadian Avatar: Reshaping Relationships Through Indigenous Resistance 

    Kathleen Mahoney 

    13. Sharing the River of Life: The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign 

    Jack Manno 

    14. Indigenous Laws and Aspirations for a Sustainable World 

    Linda Te Aho 

    15. Moving Toward Global Eco-Integrity: Implementing Indigenous Conceptions of Nature in a Western Legal System 

    Catherine Iorns Magallanes 

    Part 5: Government Decisions, Environmental Policies and Social Movements 

    16. Society, Changes and Social Movements: The Case of Brazil 

    Leonardo Boff and Mirian Vilela 

    17. Environmental Sustainability Beyond The Law: A Venezuelan Perspective 

    María Elisa Febres 

    18. Costa Rica: The First Latin American Country Free of Open Pit Gold Mining 

    Eugenia Wo Ching 

    19. The Earth Charter. An Environmental Policy Instrument in Mexico – a Soft Law or Hard Policy Perspective 

    Francisco Javier Camarena Juarez


    Laura Westra is Professor Emerita (Philosophy) , University of Windsor, Canada, and Sessional Instructor at both the Faculty of Law, University of Milano (Bicocca), Italy, and the Graduate Faculty of Environmental Studies, Royal Roads University, Canada.

    Mirian Vilela is the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Earth Charter Center on Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace, in San Jose, Costa Rica.