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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Environmental Rights Revolution

A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment

The right to a healthy environment has been the subject of extensive philosophical debates that revolve around the question: Should rights to clean air, water, and soil be entrenched in law? David Boyd answers this by moving beyond theoretical debates to measure the practical effects of enshrining the right in constitutions. His pioneering analysis of 193 constitutions and the laws and court decisions of more than 100 nations in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa reveals a positive correlation between constitutional protection and stronger environmental laws, smaller ecological footprints, superior environmental performance, and improved quality of life.

468 pages

Law and Society

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Emergence and Evolution of a New Human Right

1 Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment: The Context

2 The Right to a Healthy Environment: Framing the Issues

3 The Prevalence and Enforceability of Environmental Provisions in National Constitutions

4 The Influence of International Law

Part 2: The Constitutional Right to a Healthy Environment in Practice

5 A Framework for Assessing the Legal Influence of the Right to a Healthy Environment

6 Latin America and the Caribbean

7 Africa

8 Asia

9 Eastern Europe

10 Western Europe

Part 3: Evaluating the Impacts of Environmental Provisions in Constitutions

11 Lessons Learned: Practical Experiences with the Right to a Healthy Environment

12 Do Environmental Provisions in Constitutions Influence Environmental Performance?

13 An Idea Whose Time Has Come


Appendix 1. Research Methods

Appendix 2. Online Database: All Current Environmental Provisions from National Constitutions




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