Transitional justice and ecological jurisprudence in the midst of an ever-changing climate

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Pelizzon, A 2014, 'Transitional justice and ecological jurisprudence in the midst of an ever-changing climate', in N Szablewska & S Bachmann (eds.), Current issues in transitional justice: volume 4 of the series Springer series in transitional justice, pp. 317-338. ISBN 9783319093901

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Peer Reviewed



What lessons can be learned from the field of transitional justice in regard to the current state of ongoing environmental changes? Reciprocally, what can the new field of ecological jurisprudence offer to the traditional concerns of transitional justice? Scientists are overwhelmingly unanimous in asserting that anthropogenic activities are contributing to a rate of environmental changes unprecedented in recorded history, transporting all human societies into an era of ongoing environmental transition. Such a state of permanent environmental change might require us to rethink our concepts of conflict—by re-discussing the idea of humans “at war with nature” as triggered by Cartesian philosophy—of society—by including within the idea of societies nonhuman agents and entities as well as human ones—and of justice—by extending beyond an anthropocentric view of justice toward an ecocentric one. The writings and theories of authors such as Thomas Berry (Earth Jurisprudence) and Cormac Cullinan (Wild Law) might indeed pose a creative challenge to traditional ideas of what constitutes transitional justice. As a result, it could be argued that radical jurisprudential changes, such as granting nature legal subjectivity in the Ecuadorian Constitution of 2008, may represent effective example of new adaptive strategies to ensure future forms of social stability in the midst of an ongoing state of environmental change.