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13 Gonz. J. Int'l L. 1 (2009-2010)

handle is hein.journals/gjil13 and id is 1 raw text is: 




         The Perceived Conflict between Human Rights and
                         Environmental Protection:

      How organized religion can reconcile the viewpoints and promote
                              sustainable consumption
                                     Steven Bader*

                                     Introduction

       In November 1992, 1,700 leading scientists issued a warning to humanity that

expressed concern with unchecked human activity and its effect on the planet.1 The

committee cautioned: Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put

demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable

future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that

growth.2

       This warning suggests a direct relationship between human population and

environmental degradation. Ironically, population growth and environmental protection

are addressed in two separate areas of international law3 and in many ways appear to

conflict. Recently, jurists have begun to recognize this disconnect and have promoted

identification of a link between the two.4 Some in the international community, known as

Neo-Malthusians, have suggested stagnant population growth will solve many

* J.D. Candidate 2010, Gonzaga University School of Law. I would like to thank the editorial board and
staff of the Gonzaga Journal of International Law for all of their help and suggestions in preparing this
piece for publication. I would also like to thank Professor Upendra Acaharya for his guidance and input on
this multifaceted area of international law and policy.
1 See Union of Concerned Scientists, 1992 World Scientists Warning to Humanity,
http://www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html (last visited October 25, 2009). The warning
began, Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and
often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. Id.
2 -d.
' See Alison Lindsay Shinsato, Increasing the Accountability of Transnational Corporationsfor
Environmental Harms: The Petroleum Industry in Nigeria, 4 N.W. U. J. INT'L HUM. RTS. 186-87 (2005).
' See, Gab~ikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hung. v. Slovk.), 1997 I.C.J. 7, 91 (Sept. 25) (separate opinion of
Vice-President Weeramantry) (writing that protection of the environment is likewise a vital part of
contemporary human rights doctrine, for it is a sine qua non for numerous human rights such as the right to
health and the right to life itself').

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