About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

37 N. Y. L. Sch. L. Rev. 583 (1992)
Human Right to a Healthy Environment: An International Legal Perspective, The

handle is hein.journals/nyls37 and id is 589 raw text is: THE HUMAN RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT:
AN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PERSPECTIVE
I. INTRODUCTION
The earth is threatened by a mounting global environmental crisis.
This crisis is due, in large part, to human activities that place tremendous
strains on the natural processes that help keep the conditions of the planet
within livable limits. One approach to addressing the problems of global
environmental deterioration is to recognize the right to a healthy
environment as a human right. Some commentators have suggested that
such a right is already emerging as one of several third-generation
solidarity rights.' The right would protect people individually-a
characteristic shared by all human rights2-by imposing more effective
obligations on governments and by providing individual remedies for
environmental deprivations. Beyond this individual component, the right
would also protect people collectively-a characteristic shared by all
third-generation rights3-by requiring collective action and cooperation
© Copyright 1993 by the New York Law School Law Review.
* The author would like to thank Professor Lung-Chu Chen and Professor Linda
Keenan for their valuable comments and suggestions during the preparation of this note,
and Professor Nadine Strossen for her inspiration in pursuing this topic.
1. Stephen P. Marks, Emerging Human Rights: A New Generation for the 1980s?,
33 RUTGERs L. REv. 435, 439-44 (1981) (noting that third-generation solidarity rights
include the rights to a healthy environment, development, peace, the common heritage,
communication, and humanitarian assistance). A number of writers have explored the
existence of and the rationale for recognizing the right of an individual to a clean and
healthy environment. See, e.g., ALEXANDRE Kiss & DINAH SHELTON, INTERNATIONAL
ENViRONMENTAL LAW 21-31 (1991); W. PAUL GORMLEY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND
ENVIRONMENT: THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION 48-55 (1976); W. Paul
Gormley, The Right to a Safe and Decent Environment, 28 INDIAN J. INT'L L. 1 (1988);
Charles Maechling, The Emergent Right to a Decent Environment, HUM. RTs., Aug.
1976, at 59, 68-73; Melissa Thorme, Establishing Environment As a Human Right, 19
DENv. J. INT'L L. & POL'Y 301 (1991); Henn-Jiiri Uibopuu, The Internationally
Guaranteed Right of an Individual to a Clean Environment, 1 COMP. L. Y.B. 101
(1977). For a discussion of environmental rights and whether the Bill of Rights to the
United States Constitution should be amended to include them, see Eric T. Freyfogle,
Should We Green the Bill?, 1992 U. ILL. L. REv. 159.
2. See generally Louis B. Sohn, The New International Law: Protection of the Rights
of Individuals Rather Than States, 32 AM. U. L. REV. 1 (1982) (tracing the development
of international human rights).
3. See Marks, supra note 1, at 441.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most