Beyond sax and welfare interests: A case for environmental rights

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

In "The Search for Environmental Rights," Joseph Sax argues that each individual should have, as a right, freedom from environmental hazards and access to environmental benefits, but he makes clear that environmental rights do not exist and their recognition would truly be a novel step. Sax states that environmental rights are different from existing human rights and argues that the closest analogy is welfare interests. In arguing for environmental rights, I follow Sax's direction and draw from the work of those who are the most relevant in establishing environmental rights. I consider Joel Feinberg's notion of welfare interests, Henry Shue's notion of basic rights, and James Nickel's right to a safe environment. I draw from Mill's harm principle, the superfund legislation, and the Clean Air Act to illustrate the existing ethical and legal bases for establishing environmental rights. Finally, I discuss positive and negative duties that such rights might carry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Ethics
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy

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