UPF and RWI Lecture / Does the Nature Have Rights?


This event is part of a series of human rights related lectures which the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is co-organising with its collaboration partner the Association of Foreign Affairs (UPF)

Time and venue: 16 May, 19.00-20.30
Location: Edens Hörsal
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“In Descent of Man, Darwin observes that the history of man’s moral development has been a continual extension in the objects of his social instincts and sympathies.”

With these words, Christopher Stone began a 1972 article in the Southern California Law entitled “Should Trees Have Standing.” Two years later, the article became a book. Thirty-five years after that, the book still had a level of relevance (and resonance) sufficient for Oxford University Press to decided that a commemorative edition was justified.

Why do so many of us find the idea that nature might have rights so compelling? Why do so many others find the idea so preposterous? Why do so many serious scholars – of both human rights and environmental policy – avoid the issue altogether? And, in an age when no human interest is without ecological preconditions and no element of the non-human environment is immune to human influence, do these questions even matter anymore?

These and other aspects of the topic will be discussed by Walter F. Baber, Fulbright Chair of Public International Law at the Institute.

Walter F. Baber is the 2017/18 Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Public International Law at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and the Faculty of Law at Lund University. He was the 2009 Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Environmental Policy at the Politecnco di Torino, a Visiting Fellow in the Research School of the Social Sciences at Australian National University in 2012, and the 2016 Fulbright Visiting Professor of Political Science at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

Baber holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina and the J.D. from the University of San Diego. He is a professor in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program and the Graduate Center for Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Long Beach. He is also an Associate of the Center for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra and a member of the Lead Faculty Group of the Earth System Governance Project.

Baber is the author of four books and over fifty journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers. His 2009 book, Global Democracy and Sustainable Jurisprudence: Deliberative Environmental Law (co-authored with Robert V. Bartlett) won the 2011 International Studies Association Book Award for international ethics.
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Free entrance for all UPF members and RWI staff
Students: 40 SEK
Non-students: 50 SEK