Depleting Time Itself: The Plight of Today's "Human" Environment

Nicholas A. Robinson
2021 Environmental Policy and Law  
Earth, and its human societies, are seized with the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pervasive and escalating levels of pollution. In the 50 years since the 1972 UN Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE), States and UN Environment Program (UNEP) have created an entirely new body of international environmental law, and agreed on the UN Sustainable Development Goals for further socio-economic developments to help the 7.9 billion people on Earth today, and the
more » ... 1.5 more billion expected soon. The article highlights the accomplishments of the past five decades, launched in Stockholm. However, beyond depleting the resources of Earth's natural and physical environment, humanity has also depleted time itself. There is not enough time left to permit the pace of environmental law-making to lead to success. Political will has eroded too, leaving "business as usual" to continue to harm the environment. Fortunately, most nations have recognized the right to the environment, and the UN General Assembly is asked to do so in 2022. At the same time, courts around the world are increasingly enforcing environmental rights. If courts world-wide begin to enforce the right to the environment, pathways to attaining sustainable development can be developed beyond Stockholm+50 (2022).
doi:10.3233/epl-219016 fatcat:q7rs6gj7dbhxllqnap7yg3p5wa