The Earth Charter, Ecological Integrity and Social Movements: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Earth Charter, Ecological Integrity and Social Movements

1st Edition

Edited by Laura Westra, Mirian Vilela


290 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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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.

Table of Contents

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

About the Editors

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection