This paper considers Western relations between ‘nature’ and ‘society’ through an examination of the social roles of non-human defendants in early law. I refer to the historical agency of ‘due process’ in upholding certain non-human rights to reflect on the emergent uses of due process in contemporary environmental law and climate change governance. The anthropocentrism intrinsic in Western societies continues to obstruct responses to climate change in new ways. However, evidence suggests that some emergent institutional changes may instead be driven by less normative ‘social’ assemblages. These necessarily reflect the highly complex, global and ocean-centric systems of climate within which human and non-human actors are inextricably connected. To reach any long-term environmental sustainability an ontological shift needs to occur that empirically recognizes these less anthropocentric geographies. Between ecological vulnerability and human resilience to climate change there is a renewed need to ask how these conceptually separated concerns can be more democratically aligned.
|Keywords:||Environmental Justice, Non-Human Rights, Democracy, Western Naturalism, Early Law|
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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