To the Anthropocene and Beyond: The Responsibility of Law in Decimating and Protecting Marine Life
(2020) 11:1-2 Transnational Legal Theory 180
23 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2020 Last revised: 25 Sep 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2020
As marine life spirals towards mass extinction in this age of the Anthropocene, law seems incapable of preventing negative human impacts on marine biodiversity. As humanity realises its geological agency, what is the responsibility of law for marine life within the Anthropocene? This article explores this question by first theorising the concept of the Anthropocene within law, focussing on the concept of responsibility. It then analyses, based on critical environmental law theory, the core marine biodiversity norms from a historical and structural perspective. The article finds that the law of the sea is moulded by liberal constitutive processes, namely economic growth. Law is not passive in the Anthropocene; it is one of the institutions that brought the era forth. The article concludes that to ensure responsible human geological agency, law must be used strategically to destabilise the dominant paradigm and reform it in something that recognises our responsibility towards the oceans and the biosphere.
Keywords: law of the sea, marine biodiversity, Anthropocene; green legal theory, critical environmental law, critical legal theory, transnational law, international law, responsibility
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation