Environmentalism: Recounting A ‘Third World Approaches To International Law’ Perspective

Shambhavi Srivastava

Global warming and climate change, among many other environmental maladies that the world faces today, have been the focal point of international treaties and dialogues since the inception of an international movement to protect the environment. However, we can all agree that despite being the focus of international law’s attention for the last 30-40 years, these issues have only seemed to worsen. One reason for this is a glaring lack of political will and the other is the lack of consensus between the developed and developing States on how to protect the environment. This is not unprecedented given that relation between persons and even between States is determined by economic parameters and the priority for developing States today is to achieve economic equality at par with their already developed counterparts.

This economic equality can be obtained through either of the following two means: (a) the developing States continue with their rampage of natural resources in their quest to become developed States, or (b) the developed States are made liable to contribute to mitigating carbon emissions proportionate to their output of greenhouse gas emissions in the course of their industrialization. The former is unacceptable and the latter is increasingly difficult. The nations of the Global South have often demanded a proportionate share of the burden in protecting the environment from the richer states of the Global North as these are the ones which contribute unequally to causing environmental harm.[1] However, in turn, the developed States have either pulled out from the Agreements they initiated, for instance, the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or worse still, have refused to acknowledge the problem itself.[2] Sustainable development may be the hue and cry of the world; especially, the third world States who will bear the brunt of collapse in environmental balance yet unsurprisingly, there is no consensus on how to make sustainable development actionable. The North-South divide in this matter is stark. Owing to its imperial and colonial roots[3], international environmental law (IEL) is also unfavourably tilted against the Global South.

Environmental Colonialism

The idea that developing countries like India and China are equally to blame for the heating up of the planet and must share the blame for the same is an excellent example of ‘environmental colonialism’[4]. Looking at data evidence[5] from the last hundred years, countries like China and India have a very minimal share in the overall accumulation of greenhouse gases. It is, therefore, a pertinent question as to how concrete data gets ignored and political motivations reinforce such claims. In this context, it must be discussed how IEL is a tool that has been used for perpetuating environmental colonialism even in the post-colonial era.

Given the unrepresentative roots of international environmental law, it would not be wrong to state that IEL is trapped within western modernity[6]. The notion of environmentalism on global platforms like the United Nations and various international legal instruments was initiated by the First World countries once their populations started facing the adverse impacts of rapid industrialization. This environmental consciousness was contemporaneous to the decolonization of various Third World nations on the promise that development activities will be undertaken, markets will remain open and consumption will continue. In the tussle between two competing objectives, economic considerations inevitably prevailed because of its deep disciplinary history. Thus environmentalism turned out to be not a paradigm shift in thought that advocated for “protecting and conserving the natural resources and planet” but only a tiny step forward from “utilization of natural resources” to “EFFICIENT utilization of natural resources”[7].

International law unavoidably incorporates this concept of environmentalism as the world continues to suffer from the belief that western philosophy is the epitome of human thought. But even though environmental law has become a specialized field of study, its implementation is handicapped due to its parochial nature.

The Way Forward

To remedy this handicap, international lawyers must step up in their efforts[8] to interpret and apply IEL in an inclusive manner. Environmentalism need not be confined to the accepted definition that the West has extended. Limiting ourselves to the age-old development versus conservation debate would be to stick ourselves to a binary. It is rather imperative to encompass alternative ideas and recognize the disciplinary interconnection between law, politics, economics and environment studies. Nature is dynamic and hence should not be viewed as a mere object of governance. Rather, it should be allowed to stretch legal understandings and even change them if need be.

Some examples of the movements that challenge existing concepts and notions of environmentalism are class actions on behalf of future generations in the Philippines[9], law reform recognizing the rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia[10], rights of indigenous persons in places like South Asia[11] and the Arctic[12], climate justice for small island nations[13] which are most vulnerable to climate change, etc. These movements are not new and there are many others like these. However, they have been constantly ignored, silenced or suppressed. This is evident from the murders of environmental activists, in India[14] and worldwide[15].

Activism in the name of the environment has been thought to be a threat to capitalism and consumption. While it is true that rampant consumerism is the reason behind environmental degradation, it is not necessarily true that giving priority to ecological concerns is going to need an overhaul of the existing economic system. This has been discussed by the author elsewhere[16]. What is required is to escape from the binary of “development or environment” that has continued from the colonial era and percolated our international legal instruments. The blame game between developed and developing countries only distracts us from reaching a sustainable solution.

The environment and its constant changes should govern our actions and not the other way round. Environmentalism needs to be a bottom-to-top approach where local communities and their interaction with nature determines conservation strategies rather than the North-South divide which is a legacy of years of colonialism. For this, international lawyers, especially representative of the neglected communities of the Global South have to engage with IEL and strive towards making the provisions inclusive through interpretative strategies to end the implementation crisis.

This brings us back to the beginning of this discussion. Even the most difficult of things is possible if there is a will to bring change. Therefore, as citizens of a world that is under the danger of collapsing due to the pressures humans have exerted on it, we must know our consequences, make our fellow human beings aware of the same and pressurize our political leaders to listen to the ones who will inherit the Earth they leave behind.

About The Author
Shambhavi Srivastava is currently pursuing LL.B Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi. She is keenly interested in International law and Constitutional law.

Photo Credits: Studio Ghibli


[1] Usha Natarajan and Julia Dehm, Where is the Environment? Locating Nature in International Law, available at: https://twailr.com/where-is-the-environment-locating-nature-in-international-law/

[2] US is hotbed of climate change denial, major global survey finds, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/07/us-hotbed-climate-change-denial-international-poll

[3] Antony Anghie, “The Evolution of International Law: colonial and postcolonial realities”, Vol. 27 No. 5, Third World Quarterly, pp 739-753 (2006)

[4] Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain, Global Warming in an Unequal World 1 (Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, 2003)

[5] CO2 Country Profile: Our World in Data, available at: https://ourworldindata.org/co2/country/united-states?country=USA~IND~CHN~GBR

[6] Brian-Vincent Ikejiaku, “International Law in Western made Global Law: The Perception of Third World Category”, Vol. 6 Issue 2-3, African Journal of Legal Studies, pp 337-356 (2014)

[7] Usha Natarajan, “TWAIL and the environment: The state of nature, the nature of the State, and the Arab Spring”, Vol. 14, Oregon Review of International Law p. 177 (2012)

[8] Kishan Khoday, Vanessa Lamb, et.al., “Locating Nature: Making and unmaking International Law: Introduction”, Vol. 27 Issue 3, Leiden Journal of International Law p. 571 (2014)

[9] Oposa v. Factoran, G.R. No. 101083 (1993), available at: https://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1993/jul1993/gr_101083_1993.html

[10] Law of Rights of Mother Earth, available at: https://bolivia.infoleyes.com/norma/2689/ley-de-derechos-de-la-madre-tierra-071

[11] Samina Luthfa, “Transnational Ties and Reciprocal Tenacity: Resisting Mining in Bangladesh with Transnational Coalition”, Vol. 51 Issue 1, Sociology pp. 127-145 (2017)

[12] Trade in Seal Products, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/biodiversity/animal_welfare/seals/seal_hunting.htm

[13] Fighting an Existential threat: small island states bringing climate change to the UN Security Coucil, available at: https://www.clingendael.org/sites/default/files/2018-03/PSI_PB_Small_Island_States_Climate_Change_UNSC.pdf

[14] Record 212 environmentalists killed in 2019, watchdog says, available at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/record-212-environmental-activists-killed-in-2019-says-watchdog/article32217916.ece

[15] Land and Environmental Defenders, available at: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/environmental-activists/

[16] Unlearn, Re-orient and Govern: Exploring the Justiciability of DPSPs for Sustainable Development, available at: https://www.tscld.com/post/unlearn-re-orient-and-govern-exploring-justiciability-of-dpsps-for-sustainable-development

Recommended Articles


  1. I’m more than happy to uncover this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!!

    I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new information in your web site.

  2. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well
    written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful
    info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly

  3. Excellent blog post. I absolutely love this website.
    Stick with it!

    Check out my blog :: VitaSilkLux Serum

  4. A lot of thanks for your entire work on this web site.
    Ellie delights in conducting internet research and it’s really easy to understand why.
    All of us hear all concerning the lively manner you present practical things via the blog and welcome contribution from some
    others on this subject matter and our favorite princess is really discovering so much.
    Have fun with the rest of the year. You are always performing a really great job.[X-N-E-W-L-I-N-S-P-I-N-X]I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and
    also with the format on your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you modify it your self?

    Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice
    weblog like this one these days.

    Also visit my blog post – Mili Tac Smartwatch

  5. Hi Dear, are you in fact visiting this web page daily,
    if so then you will without doubt get pleasant experience.

    my site – Nitro Strive Nitric Oxide

  6. Wow! Thank you! I constantly wanted to write on my site something like that.

    Can I include a portion of your post to my site?

    Also visit my site Allura Fresh Cream

  7. Excellent post but I was wanting to know if you could write
    a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.

    my web-site :: http://www.mufun.online

  8. Ԍ᧐od answers in return of this question with fim argumеnts and telling all about that.

  9. Whoah this weblog is fantastic i like reading your articles.
    Keep up the great paintings! You realize, many persons are looking round for this info, you can help them

    my page – Kathi

  10. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, good site!

    Look at my page Jolt Alpha Review

  11. It’s remarkable in support of me to have a web page, which is helpful for my know-how.
    thanks admin

    Also visit my website … Truvita CBD

  12. You can definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.

    At all times follow your heart.

    My site … 888ad.cn

  13. What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable know-how regarding unpredicted emotions.

    Also visit my website – Rhino Spark

  14. Upcomer eSports delivers live scores and fantasy betting for eSports.

  15. I truly treasure your work, Great post.

    my web site – Nitro Strive Review

  16. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this blog on regular basis to take updated
    from most up-to-date news update.

    Review my site :: TechPro Wifi Booster Review

  17. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
    on the video to make your point. You definitely know
    what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

    Feel free to surf to my web page; Bitcoin X App Reviews

  18. If it’s the casino you are interested in, the
    SugarHouse casino will not let you down.

  19. I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view,
    if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

    Take a look at my page … Ice Box Air Cooler Reviews

  20. Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to
    give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?

    Many thanks!

    My web page :: Fred

  21. Wow, this article is pleasant, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, thus I am
    going to convey her.

    Also visit my website – Allura Fresh Reviews

  22. Nice weblog right here! Also your web site loads up very
    fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink to your host?
    I wish my website loaded up as quickly as
    yours lol.

    My page; Essential Nutrition Male Enhancement Reviews

  23. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m
    impressed! Extremely useful information specially the last part
    🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

    my web blog … Essential Nutrition Keto Review

  24. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful
    & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and
    aid others like you helped me.

    Also visit my web blog – Allura Fresh Cream

  25. My brother ѕuggested I might likе this website.
    He was once еntiгely right. This sսbmot actually made my
    ⅾay. You can not ƅelieve just һow much tike I һad spent for
    this information! Thanks!

  26. I’ll immediately snatch your rss as I can not find your
    email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly let me recognise so that I
    may just subscribe. Thanks.

    my site … Ice Box Air Cooler Price

  27. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your website in web explorer, would check
    this… IE nonetheless is the market leader and a huge part of people will leave out your great writing because of this problem.

    Feel free to surf to my web page: Ice Box Air Cooler Review

  28. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your site
    in web explorer, might check this… IE still is the marketplace leader and a good
    portion of folks will omit your great writing due to this problem.

    Feel free to visit my site :: Ice Box Air Cooler

  29. Woh I like your blog posts, saved to fav!

    Check out my site … Truvita CBD Review

  30. My brother suggested I might like this web site.
    He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for
    this info! Thanks!

    Also visit my homepage :: http://forum.adm-tolka.ru/viewtopic.php?id=273990

  31. DC-3 is a three-digit game with 3 strategies to play and nine methods to

  32. Ⲛormaqlly I don’t learn post on blօgs, however I would like to saʏ
    that this write-up very forced me to check oսt and ԁ᧐ so!
    Үourr writing style has beden amazed me. Thank үou, very great

  33. If you are going for finest contents like myself,
    simply go to see this web site all the time since it presents feature contents, thanks

    Here is my site Nichole

  34. Some genuinely prime articles on this website,
    saved to favorites.

    Here is my web-site :: http://www.atomy123.com

  35. hello!,I love your writing so much! percentage we communicate extra approximately your post on AOL?
    I require an expert on this space to unravel my problem.
    Maybe that’s you! Taking a look ahead to look you.

    Also visit my webpage … ViagRx Reviews

  36. Some really fantastic work on behalf of the owner of this site, dead outstanding

    Here is my web page :: Ice Box Air Conditioner Reviews

  37. What’s up mates, pleasant piece of writing and fastidious arguments commented here, I am truly enjoying by these.

    my blog :: Keto Lite Keto Pills

  38. Thanks for some other excellent post. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such info.

    my homepage http://myweddinglight.us/index.php?action=profile&u=128528

  39. What’s up Dear, are you really visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so after that
    you will definitely obtain nice knowledge.

    my webpage :: http://www.comptine.biz

  40. I got this web site from my friend who told me on the topic of
    this web site and at the moment this time I am browsing this
    web site and reading very informative articles or reviews here.

    my web page … Slimingo Keto

  41. What’s up mates, how is the whole thing, and what you desire to say regarding this paragraph,
    in my view its actually remarkable in favor
    of me.

    Feel free to surf to my web-site … MaxBrute Review

  42. Hello are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the
    blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my
    own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your
    own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Here is my site: Gaia’s Choice CBD Ingredients

  43. you’re really a good webmaster. The site loading speed is amazing.
    It seems that you’re doing any distinctive trick.
    In addition, The contents are masterpiece.

    you’ve done a great job on this topic!

    Here is my page: Gaia’s Choice CBD Review

  44. Appreciation to my father who shared with me regarding this website, this webpage is truly amazing.

    my site … https://www.medflyfish.com/index.php?action=profile;u=49801

  45. Heya this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.

    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice
    from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    Also visit my webpage – MaxBrute Reviews

  46. Magnificent items from you, man. I’ve take into accout your stuff
    previous to and you’re simply too excellent. I actually like what you
    have got right here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which through which you
    are saying it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to stay it smart.
    I can not wait to read much more from you. This is
    actually a terrific website.

    Feel free to surf to my site Viking XL Review

  47. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar
    one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam responses?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    My homepage; Keto Boom BHB Ingredients

  48. Hello! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward
    to all your posts! Carry on the great work!

    Feel free to visit my homepage … Extreme Shred Keto

  49. I adore gathering utile information, this post has got me even more info!

    My web blog; Keto Boom BHB

  50. Thank you for your blog post. Jones and I are actually saving for a new publication on this subject and your short article has made all of us to save money.
    Your thoughts really resolved all our issues.

    In fact, a lot more than what we had recognized previous
    to the time we ran into your excellent blog. I actually no
    longer have doubts and also a troubled mind because you have attended to each of our needs
    in this post. Thanks

    Here is my page: vip5.moisait2021.ru

  51. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added
    I receive four emails with the exact same comment.
    There has to be a way you can remove me from that
    service? Appreciate it!

    my web blog; Xoth Keto

  52. Great write-up, I’m normal visitor of one’s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

    My page … http://agrocase.ru/index.php?action=profile;u=47062

  53. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your web site is very
    cool. I am impressed by the details that you
    have on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject.
    Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles.
    You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched
    all over the place and just could not come across.
    What a great web site.

    Also visit my web site :: clubriders.men

  54. Wow! Thank you! I continuously needed to write on my website something like that.
    Can I implement a portion of your post to my site?

    my homepage … Pure Optimum Keto Reviews

  55. I think other web site proprietors should take this website as
    an model, very clean and great user friendly style and design,
    let alone the content. You are an expert in this topic!

    Also visit my homepage Slimingo Keto Reviews

  56. I still can not quite think that I could end up being one of those studying the
    important guidelines found on your blog. My family and I are truly thankful on your
    generosity and for presenting me the opportunity to pursue our chosen profession path.
    Thanks for the important information I managed to
    get from your blog.

    Feel free to surf to my web-site … marchegabonais.com

  57. Thanks for any other wonderful post. Where else could anyone
    get that kind of info in such an ideal manner of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such information.

    Also visit my web blog; Viking XL Review

  58. Right now it seems like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform
    available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    my web page: SoloVolt Charger

  59. I was examining some of your blog posts on this site and I
    think this web site is real instructive! Keep posting.

    Take a look at my blog – Slimingo Keto Pills

  60. Thank you for another informative website. Where else could I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal manner?
    I have a challenge that I’m just now running on, and I have been on the glance
    out for such information.

    Here is my blog :: New Flow XL Male Enhancement Review

  61. Some times its a pain in the ass to read what
    people wrote but this site is real user genial!

    Take a look at my blog post: Slimingo Keto

  62. Howdy I am so thrilled I found your blog, I really found
    you by error, while I was browsing on Google for something else,
    Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a marvelous post and a
    all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have saved
    it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back
    to read a lot more, Please do keep up the great job.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post :: Gentille Derma Cream

  63. Wonderful paintings! This is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the web.
    Shame on the seek engines for not positioning this post upper!
    Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)

    Also visit my website: http://cozumubuldum.com

  64. Admiring the dedication you put into your website and detailed information you
    provide. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once
    in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Excellent read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS
    feeds to my Google account.

    Also visit my blog post – Pure Optimum Keto Burn

  65. Many thanks for being my lecturer on this area. I enjoyed your current article a lot and most of all enjoyed reading
    the way you handled the areas I widely known as controversial.
    You happen to be always rather kind to readers really like
    me and aid me in my life. Thank you.

    my blog post: MaxBrute

  66. I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!!
    I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things you

    Visit my web-site … Gaia’s Choice CBD Oil

  67. Thank you so much pertaining to giving everyone an update on this topic on your
    site. Please realise that if a fresh post appears or if any changes occur about
    the current write-up, I would be thinking about reading more and focusing on how to make good using of those approaches
    you reveal. Thanks for your time and consideration of other men and women by making this site available.

    Feel free to visit my web site; Herman

  68. I got what you intend, thank you for posting.
    Woh I am thankful to find this website through google.

    Here is my web-site … Slimingo Keto Review

  69. Just wanna input on few general things, The website design is perfect, the articles is really good :D.

    Feel free to surf to my website; Max Extend Male Enhancement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!