Contribution working group by:

Lysete Sandra Hernández Gámez

Msc Environmental Change and Management, ECI, Oxford

PhD Researcher

University of East Anglia

Environmental Science, CSERGE

United Kingdom

Empirical implications of the alternative vision of Earth as subjects of rights

The conceptualization of the Earth within the dominant economic system is that of the exploitable services. Ecosystems are viewed as producers and this way fall in the economic language daily, so that way the management of resources is aimed at minimizing costs, maximizing profits, supply and demand. One example is the emerging carbon market and offsetting of emissions, where forests are seen as sinks of CO2, as potential means of escape to continue polluting notwithstanding the urgency of reducing emissions. The rationality that dominates is that of finding ways to efficiently exploit this “service” (the carbon capture and storage), while obtaining a benefit, such as allowing the polluter to continue doing so.From an opposite perspective, the alternative view where the Earth is a subject of rights, which is seen as “service” in the econPmic system, is now recognized as a “function”. All those processes and biogeochemical cycles are functions of a huge dynamic living system, Gaia.

Recognizing that such processes and cycles are vital functions and not just services, it is possible to distinguish the current economic system interaction with nature has devastating consequences. For example, the consequences of “offset” emissions without a net reduction of these, you will find a devastating impact on the role of carbon capture and storage in forests, because for that role, who “offset” their emissions continue to pollute. Scientific studies such as those that are based on reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have shown that a real reduction in emissions of pollutants is essential, regardless of forest conservation.

Additionally, another empirical implication of the alternative vision of Earth as a subject of rights, is on the argument of the current system based on economic incentives to act, if there is no strategic gain or profit, there is a mobilization of resources, is same, if the polluter to compensate for their emissions do not get this benefit, not finance the conservation of one hectare of forest. By contrast, the alternative view can clarify that there is no incentive more important than the principle already known by some cultures and now supported by scientific information, human life ends, if there is no life on Earth.