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Reversing the ecological degradation that is rapidly spreading globally requires radical action at various levels of society. In this transition, the legal framework could create pathways for ethically sound, yet effective, techno-socio-economic developments. Most legal systems are failing, as they are built on ‘strong’ anthropocentrism, where humans’ interests are prioritized over those of nature. This approach is particularly prominent in some fields of private law, such as intellectual property regimes. This article focuses on the alternative, namely to create a ‘rights of nature’ (RoN) framework in order to curb and, ideally, reverse the continuing environmental decline. In this regard, we argue that to better respect nature, law should follow ‘weak’ anthropocentrism, identified in this paper as an approach that assigns higher intrinsic value to humans but also recognizes intrinsic value in non-human nature. To this end, an inclusive concept of ‘nature’ that encompasses both humans and non-human elements of nature, and where non-human elements of nature also become legal subjects with a degree of legal capacity, could provide a viable alternative. We concretize this vision via elaborating on how such an approach could divert, in particular, traditionally ‘strong’ anthropocentric regimes such as (intellectual) private property law towards achieving more eco-friendly outcomes.
|Publication status||Published - 15 Feb 2021|
|MoEC publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- private law
- intellectual property law
- environmental ethics
Field of science