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Human Right to a Safe Environment & Planetary Rights - Essay Example

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Instructor Name: Class Information: Date: The Relevance of Inter-Generational Human Environmental Rights While the need to have rights for people who are living is a relatively easy and well-accepted argument, there is considerable debate about whether it is possible to have a social contract between a living generation and one that will exist in the future…
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Human Right to a Safe Environment & Planetary Rights

Download file to see previous pages... This can be explained within the concept of planetary rights, which suggests that the current generation needs to work together to ensure the interests of future generations. Protecting the planet for the future is more than a charitable goal, if we do not do so we are violating the rights of future generations. The environment is directly influenced by the collective action of humankind, giving mankind the ability to improve, keep constant or degrade the environment. This means that regardless of intent, the actions that occur in the present have an impact on future generations, forming a relationship between the two groups of people that are distanced by time. This relationship means that humankind cannot argue that future generations are arbitrary, because both action and non-action will impact them. Take for example the notion of power plants. A power plant causes considerable pollution to the air around it and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it can also be the source of polluted water downstream. These factors influence the current generation, but can also have long-standing impacts on the environment for the future. Who is it that creates these effects? Directly, it is the company or person involved in the pollution, but this is not a fair assessment. The pollution from power plants and technology throughout the globe comes from a consumption driven society that demands convenience and large amount of electricity (Hiskes 1352-1353). As such, the collective behavior of humans as a race is destroying the environment, and this creates the responsibility to attempt to minimize this damage for the generations that will follow us. Arguments often consider that an environmental or planetary approach cannot effectively fall within rights language, as the language itself implies certain legalisms. Nevertheless, environmental rights is a realistic and plausible use of rights language that passes justificatory tests. The term rights is often used within environmental rhetoric and political statements so often that it risks losing its meaning. Yet, the right to a safe environment is more than rhetoric, and is distinct from other applications of the phrase within environmentalism. The right for a safe environment is focused on humans, and does not consider the rights of organisms or of the planet itself, and this gives the term legitimacy (Nickel 282-283). However, steps are involved to move environmental rights away from being broad concept that is mostly rhetoric based and into a defined and practicable right. One of these aspects is to narrowly define what is meant by the term. For example, what does the right to a safe environment mean? This depends on how the word safe is defined. Safe could mean that there is no crime, that the air is breathable or that the level of diversity is close to what it was for the previous generation. One definition is that the environment provides safety from environmental risks. However, this term also needs defining, as there needs to be a determination of what is considered to be safe and what the ranges are (Nickel 284-285). This shows that there is the potential for the right to a safe environment to be defined in narrow terms to ensure that it can effectively be treated as a right, and that it is not an arbitrary phrase used in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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