From Ecosystem Services to Ecological Solidarity
Chapter 3 in Westra, Laura, Gray, Janice, Gottwald, Franz-Theo (Eds.), The Role of Integrity in the Governance of the Commons. Governance, Ecology, Law, Ethics. Springer, 2017, pp.37-50
14 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Last revised: 10 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 21, 2016
In 2016, anthropologist Veronica Strang suggested that ‘justice’ - more precisely, ‘relational justice’ - is when we recognise, appreciate and uphold value in others. All-embracing discussions of ‘Other’ and ‘Others’ have been extensively narrated elsewhere, and there is no need for us to paint their full canvas here. Moreover, what is of great interest for us here is not that much the ‘Other’ or ‘Others’, but rather questions of justice against the background of recognising, appreciating and upholding ‘value’, in its broad sense, of others. In this chapter, we will attempt to enquire how and why our society arrived at the point of monetary valuation, and the following contractualisation and commodification of natural functioning of ecosystems.
We undertake a study of how much an economic valuation of ecosystems is encouraged and imposed in and through a broader mainstream neo-classical economics vision of nature and biodiversity. This study aims at answering the following central question: how the interests of nature could be (re-)thought and represented beyond the economic valuation of ecosystems, if at all?
We set the stage with an overview of key conceptual elements of the above interface. We continue with the analysis of the discourse, politics and principle of ecosystem services and potential effects of that concept in theory and practice of law; as well as of possible ways of contestation and resistance that include the ecological solidarity – a principle that emerged in French law theory and practice. Drawing on lines of ecological solidarity, we close the chapter with a discussion on a further possibility of just relationship between humans and other species and ecosystems as a viable alternative to monetary valuation and contiguous exploitation of ecosystems by humans. Lastly, we offer our concluding remarks.
Keywords: International environmental law and policy, ecosystems, ecosystem services, ecological solidarity
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation