restricted access The Theoretical Foundations of Intergenerational Ecological Justice: An Overview

While few would deny that present generations have a moral obligation to preserve the environment for future generations, some theorists reject the existence of a legal duty in this regard. This article takes the opposite view. It argues that ample juridical as well as ethical social justice theory—contractarian distributive and reciprocity-based theories prominent among them—establishes that future generations have a legal right to a clean and healthy environment. But most helpful in ensuring intergenerational ecological justice, the author contends, is a respect-based theory of social justice which at its core honors the values that underwrite human rights law and policy inclusively conceived and embraced.