Literature Review

Learn about cutting-edge Earth Law developments in journals from across the world! You can sort by topic, date, geography, and other categories.

Learn about cutting-edge Earth Law developments in journals from across the world!

Journal
Chapter 3: Pachamama as a Legal Person? Rights of Nature and Indigenous Thought in Ecuador (from Rights of Nature A Re-examination)
Ecuador

Andreas Gurmann

2021

November 17, 2023

Ecuador is so far the only country that explicitly guarantees rights of nature (RoN) on a constitutional level. The country’s 2008 constitution also clearly refers to indigenous thinking by invoking the principle of sumak kawsay and equating nature with Pachamama. Nevertheless, it is arguable whether rights of nature reflect Andean or Amazonian indigenous thinking. On the one hand, it can be argued that several indigenous groups see nature as a living, animate entity, and they even refer to it as a person. On the other hand, some scholars see a contradiction between RoN and Andean indigenous thinking, since the latter focuses on relationships rather than subjects. Western legal cultures are criticized for focusing on rights, and therefore provoking a confrontation between different personal rights, which ultimately causes disharmony in society. This chapter argues that taking indigenous thinking seriously can be very fruitful for the RoN debate. It elaborates its thesis in three steps. Firstly, it argues by using the concept of hybridity for taking indigenous thinking seriously in order to understand Ecuadorian rights of nature and unfold their transformative character. Secondly, it tries to present some core elements of Andean indigenous thinking concerning Pachamama and what we would call human–nature relations. To conclude, it will interpret RoN granted by the Ecuadorian constitution by considering their indigenous background as well as their postcolonial hybridity and demonstrate the comprehension of RoN might be enhanced by seeing legal personality and (subjective) rights from a non-western angle.

Indigenous Ecocentric Law
Pachamama
Rights of Nature
Journal
Buen Vivir (living well) in Ecuador: Community and environmental satisfaction without household material prosperity?
Ecuador

Jorge Guardiola, Fernando García-Quero

2014

November 17, 2023

This paper provides a quantitative approach to assessing whether the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of Ecuadorian people is dependent on income and employment or on more distinctive features relating to Buen Vivir ethos. The latter are reflected in the indigenous Buen Vivir ideology, based mainly on relations with the community, the environment and food sovereignty. The empirical analysis shows that both Buen Vivir features and factors such as income and unemployment status are significant in the models explaining SWB. Accordingly, economic policies should take into account the Buen Vivir ethos, that seems to be important for the SWB of the Ecuadorian people. This supports the conservationist political position, which focuses on protecting the environment and people's traditional livelihoods, rather than the extractive view, which regards people's welfare as merely dependent on income.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Nature & Buen Vivir in Ecuador: The battle between conservation and extraction
Ecuador

Jorge Guardiola and Fernando García-Quero

2014

November 17, 2023

Subjective wellbeing, economic policies, environmental protection, community, food sovereignty, Buen Vivir This post discusses a recent article published in Ecological Economics that provides a quantitative approach to assessing whether the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of Ecuadorian people is dependent on income and employment or on more distinctive features relating to Buen Vivir ethos. The latter are reflected in the indigenous Buen Vivir ideology, based mainly on relations with the community, the environment and food sovereignty. The empirical analysis shows that both Buen Vivir features and factors such as income and unemployment status are significant in the models explaining SWB. Accordingly, economic policies should take into account the Buen Vivir ethos, that seems to be important for the SWB of the Ecuadorian people. This supports the conservationist political position, which focuses on protecting the environment and people's traditional livelihoods, rather than the extractive view, which regards people's welfare as merely dependent on income.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Scaling up Buen Vivir: Globalizing Local Environmental Governance from Ecuador
Ecuador

Craig M. Kauffman, Pamela L. Martin

2014

November 17, 2023

How does the population of a small Ecuadorian province influence the development strategies pursued nationally and consequently push the global conversation toward an alternative model of sustainable development? This article explores watershed management reform in Tungurahua, Ecuador, to analyze how local communities challenged the dominant international model of sustainable development and drew on indigenous norms to offer an alternative. These communities resisted proposals by a transnational network advocating watershed management reforms that coupled conservation with markets for ecosystem services. Community members, however, did not reject the idea of reforming watershed management, and they negotiated with transnational advocates to create an alternative program rooted in indigenous norms. Tungurahua’s indigenous communities labeled their effort Mushuk Yuyay (Quichua for “new ideas”) to emphasize their departure from the development approach favored internationally. Their approach sought to realize the Quichua concept sumak kawsay (buen vivir in Spanish or wellbeing in English), which refers to living in harmony with nature, rather than dominating nature or removing human presence through conservation. In this study of Tungurahua’s watershed management reform, we show how the emerging ideal of sumak kawsay was institutionalized and put into practice

Buen Vivir
Journal
Buen Vivir: Praise, instrumentalization, and reproductive pathways of good living in Ecuador
Ecuador

Rafael Domínguez

2017

November 17, 2023

In this article, we trace the avatars of the official concept of Buen Vivir (Good Living), and its understanding and translation as Sumak Kausay in the new Constitution of Ecuador, where it was converted from a subaltern concept that emerged in the 1990s to the country’s trademark. Our main hypothesis is that although Buen Vivir may be described as a social phenomenon in some specific social contexts (such as among Amazonian Sarayaku indigenous communities), it mostly represents an invented tradition. As a subordinate hypothesis, we argue that Buen Vivir, which originally appeared at the margins of the State and political power, later became an empty signifier, allowing for its instrumentalization and co-optation by the Citizens’ Revolution and generating an opening for future prospects in the way of operationalization and internationalization that converged with efforts to promote alternative measures and notions of development to the GDP.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Buen Vivir: Today's tomorrow
Latin America

Eduardo Gudynas

2011

November 17, 2023

Eduardo Gudynas looks at the main trends of the discourse around Buen Vivir in South America. He looks at the rich and multiple discourses around Buen Vivir, as a political platform for different visions of alternatives to development. The paradox that development can be declared defunct and yet in the next step promoted as the only way forward is deeply embedded in modern culture. Therefore, any alternative to development must open paths to move beyond the modern Western culture. Buen Vivir, he argues gives that opportunity.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Chapter 22: Buen vivir and the rights of nature Alternative visions of development (from Routledge Handbook of Development Ethics)
International

Johannes M. Waldmueller, Laura Rodríguez

2018

November 17, 2023

Buen Vivir
Rights of Nature
Journal
The materialization of the Buen Vivir and the Rights of Nature: Rhetoric and Realities of Guayaquil Ecológico urban regeneration project
Ecuador

María Fernanda Ordóñez, Kelly Shannon and Viviana d’Auria

2022

November 17, 2023

In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to declare nature as a subject of rights based on the ‘Buen Vivir’ (Good Living) philosophy which is premised on an indigenous principle that envisions a world where humans are part-and-parcel of a larger natural and social environment. Although Ecuador’s constitution is groundbreaking from a legal standpoint, the question arises of how the rights of nature is spatially manifested beyond the designation of protected areas? To shed light on such interrogation, this article, based on qualitative research, focuses on the linear park component of the mega-project Guayaquil Ecológico heralded as a first materialization which champions the “Rights of Nature” under the vision of the Buen Vivir. It unravels the contested rhetoric and realities of the Guayaquil Ecológico linear park in a critical review of the as-built project in relation to the larger objectives of Buen Vivir. The Guayaquil Ecologico linear park promised to simultaneously upgrade both social and environmental dimensions. However, it did not fully address the complexity of Guayaquil’s socio-ecological context and some of the structural injustices of the estuarine territory. Buen Vivir was rhetorically mobilised to implement a project where aesthetic dimensions dominated, further perpetuating socio-ecological vulnerabilities through relocation and evictions. Furthermore, its implementation was dependent on a specific political moment, leaving it in a state of abandonment and neglect. The Buen Vivir philosophy—as a decolonial stance that challenges western forms of development—can offer a fundamental base to question current modes of territorial occupation based on extractivist planning and design strategies. It holds significant potential to serve as base to re-think the relationship between forms of settlement, natural dynamics, and worldviews.

Buen Vivir
Rights of Nature
Journal
The Buen Vivir: A Policy to Survive the Anthropocene?
Ecuador

Martin Calisto Friant, John Langmore

2014

November 17, 2023

This article examines the ideology and the politics of buen vivir as the government of Rafael Correa in Ecuador has implemented them from 2007 to 2013. The analysis focuses on the implications of this model, which is based on a traditional Andean world view. The article first explores the main components of buen vivir including its focus on strengthening democratic participation and environmental justice. Second, the implementation of this ideology is analysed through a review of the new constitution and government policies. Third, key outcomes are assessed through various social and economic indicators. Fourth, a critical approach to the government's interpretation of buen vivir is taken and the many contradictions and inconsistencies in its implementation are unfolded. Nevertheless, the policies of buen vivir have the potential to create innovative and inspiring solutions, especially in the face of the environmental and social challenges brought by the anthropocene.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Opportunities for green infrastructure under Ecuador’s new legal framework
Ecuador

Anna Serra-Llobet, M. Augusta Hermida

2017

November 17, 2023

Ecuador’s new constitution recognizes “rights of nature” and peoples’ right to benefit from the environment and natural resources that enhance the Buen Vivir (Quality of Life). The national plan for Buen Vivir calls for spatial planning to guarantee territorial and global environmental sustainability, increase people’s safety by minimizing the impact of natural hazards such as floods. Within this context, we analyzed opportunities for green infrastructure in Cuenca (Ecuador’s third largest city). We mapped existing green areas and linkages, analyzed the roles of implementing institutions with structured input from 33 government, academic, and industry experts. We found that fragmented authorities and often-contradictory mandates of different agencies prevented optimal management of open-space areas within the city. Moreover, planning efforts within the city of Cuenca are completely disconnected from the rapidly-urbanizing peri-urban areas outside the city limits, resulting in missed opportunities for connected green space for wildlife, human recreation, and water quality benefits.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Buen Vivir and forest conservation in Bolivia: False promises or effective change?
Bolivia

Federica Cappelli, Nicola Caravaggio, Cristina Vaquero-Piñeiro

2022

November 17, 2023

Can the principles of Buen Vivir support forest cover transition in Latin America? This paper explores the effects of the Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (Law 071), the fundamental law for regulating the rights of nature and the environment in accordance with the principles of Buen Vivir, in Bolivia. By means of a country-level panel dataset, we compare forest cover trajectories of Bolivia with the dynamics of a synthetic counterfactual that simulates what would have happened in the absence of the policy. Our results show that, in the absence of the Law 071, Bolivia would have experienced a different forest cover pattern. In particular, the recognition of the rights of Mother Earth has proven effective in supporting forest cover in the country despite the effect was modest in magnitude and declined over time. This evidence sheds light on the value of the institutional endorsement of informal Indigenous principles for sustainable development.

Buen Vivir
Journal
Buen Vivir and the Rights of Nature in National and International Law (from Global Governance of the Environment, Indigenous Peoples and the Rights of Nature)
Latin America

Linda Etchart

2022

November 17, 2023

In the context of the danger to human existence of climate change and loss of biodiversity, and the failure of governments to prevent deforestation and other human activities that result in unsustainable levels of carbon emissions, this chapter explores indigenous peoples’ relationship to nature and the lessons the West has learned from indigenous worldviews and practices. It traces the evolution of global indigenous environmental movements and the incorporation of sumak kawsay/suma qamaña and the Rights of Nature into the Ecuadorian and Bolivian constitutions. It indicates the ways in which indigenous cosmologies, and indigenous movements, have influenced intergovernmental bodies’ environmental initiatives and led to the incorporation of indigenous peoples’ rights into international law. The successful outcomes of rights of nature litigation in countries across the continents, including in Latin America, highlight the role of local judiciaries in protecting both indigenous cultures and the world’s wild places.

Buen Vivir
Earth Law
Earth Law in Latin America
Indigenous Ecocentric Law
Rights of Nature