Skip to main content
Vindicating Environmental Rights: Constitutional Protection for Present & Future Generations
Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads
  • Erin Daly, Widener University School of Law, USA
  • James May, Widener University School of Law
Ceremonial Mootcourt Room
Start Date
2-7-2012 1:30 PM
End Date
2-7-2012 2:50 PM
Our presentations will chronicle and assess the jurisprudential dimensions of constitutional environmental rights worldwide, encapsulating the preliminary findings of our book, Vindicating Environmental Rights: Constitutional Protection for Present & Future Generations, Cambridge, 2013), especially pertaining to provisions regarding rights to water, and procedural rights. The constitutions of about 160 nations address environmental matters in some fashion, some by committing to environmental stewardship or the rights of nature, others by recognizing a basic right to a quality environment and still others by ensuring a degree of public participation in environmental decision making. Most people on Earth live under constitutions that protect environmental rights in some way. Despite their ubiquity in constitutions, environmental rights have not often been energetically pursued in courts. Nevertheless, we find the trend of judicial enforcement is positive and powerful, given the increased adoption of constitutionally embedded environmental rights and the growth of constitutional jurisprudence generally in all regions of the world. And the more attention these rights receive in courts around the world, the more attention they receive in public discourse. The papers analyze two aspects this jurisprudence: the right to water, and the phenomenon of procedural environmental rights, showing what factors influence the implementation of these rights worldwide. The co-authors are recognized leaders in this field, and have published widely on this subject, including in the IUCN E-journal. Professor May’s expertise is in environmental, natural resources, and constitutional law. He is the editor and author of Principles of Constitutional Environmental Law (American Bar Association, Environmental Law Institute, 2011). Professor Daly’s expertise is in comparative constitutional law; she is the author of Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground (U. Penn Press 2007, pa. 2010), and the forthcoming Dignity Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).
Citation Information
Erin Daly and James May. "Vindicating Environmental Rights: Constitutional Protection for Present & Future Generations" (2012)
Available at: