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date: 16 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The environmental justice movement has made “justice” a key concept in environmental ethics. This chapter examines what “justice” offers to environmental ethics and argues that an ecologically aware theory of justice—or “justice on one planet”—is likely to be very different from the liberal conceptions of justice that dominate contemporary political theory. Three sets of environmental challenges to liberal theories are distinguished. The first emphasizes the importance of ongoing debates within liberalism about the currency, spatial scope, and temporal scope of justice. The second relates to issues that have been at the center of debates between liberals and their critics, specifically, challenges to the distributive paradigm, individualism, and anthropocentrism. The third questions the liberal conception of the environment: as part of the economy, passive or controllable, infinitely divisible, always able to provide circumstances of moderate scarcity, and as property. “Justice on one planet” requires us to reconceptualize justice.

Keywords: justice, environmental justice, ecological justice, liberalism, distributive justice, intergenerational justice, anthropocentrism, environment-economy relations, ecology, circumstances of moderate scarcity

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