Human Rights and the Environment: What's the connection?
"...The question of whether and how to apply human rights to the environment is far from academic. An international rule of law has begun to emerge, if intermittently and painfully, over the last century. More recently, environmental destruction has become an international issue, most prominently regarding climate change but also regarding air and water pollution crossing boundaries, toxic substances shipped around the world, and biodiversity shrinkage. Indeed, there is something of a race going on between international instruments to preserve the environment (for the sake of humanity, if not for the ecosystems themselves) and the tide of environmental degradation. In this race, degradation is ahead and widening its lead. The United Nations is a frail, contentious institution with power allocated asymmetrically, but it’s all we’ve got. The emerging concept that all humans have rights to a safe, clean, healthy, supportive environment may be one key in the quest for sustainability."