Human Dignity and the Adjudication of Environmental Rights

Dina Lupin Townsend, Visiting Researcher, University of Witwatersrand and Research Consultant specialising in international environmental law, indigenous peoples' rights and legal theory

Focusing on contemporary debates in philosophy and legal theory, this ground-breaking book provides a compelling enquiry into the nature of human dignity. The author not only illustrates that dignity is a concept that can extend our understanding of our environmental impacts and duties, but also highlights how our reliance on and relatedness to the environment further extends and enhances our understanding of dignity itself.

‘Dina Townsend’s extraordinary book catches us constantly by surprise: can pragmatism help us rethink the connection between human dignity and environmental protection? Can human dignity be also posthuman? Do the definitions of dignity found in history, in courts of law, and on the field converge? Townsend’s findings are nuanced, astonishingly well-argued, and consistently convincing. The work effortlessly flits through issues of temporality, universalism, identity, indigenous jurisprudence amongst others, applying Townsend’s erudite contrapuntal method and finally leading to a soaring possibility for rethinking dignity as a major instrument of environmental protection.’
– Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, University of Westminster, UK

‘By drawing attention to the environmental dimension of human dignity, Dina Townsend uncovers an account of humanness that erodes the distinction between human and environmental interests. This book is an invaluable read for everyone – but in particular legal scholars and practitioners, law-makers and judges – interested in a deep legal analysis of the fundamental link between human rights and the environment.’
– Christina Voigt, Professor, University of Oslo, Department of Public and International Law, Norway

For too long, human rights and environmental advocacy have lived in separate camps. But as climate change and environmental degradation threaten to dramatically alter the lives we lead, new ways of thinking about human rights and human lives need to be developed to meet current challenges. Dina Townsend's book does just that: she provides a new theoretical approach to human dignity that recognizes the integral place of the natural environment in the human experience, and from there, she demonstrates how environmental dignity can and must be integrated into modern human rights practices. This is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the next generation of human rights advocacy.’
– Erin Daly, Widener University, Delaware Law School, US

2020 304 pp Hardback 978 1 78990 593 9 £85.50 £95.00 $121.50 $135.00

Elgaronline 978 1 78990 594 6

Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. is registered in the UK at: The Lypiatts, 15 Lansdown Road,
Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2JA. Registered number: 2041703

How To Order


Get up to 20% discount when you order online

By Email

UK/ROW: [email protected]

N/S America: [email protected]

By Phone

UK/ROW: +44 (0) 1242 226934

N/S America: +1 413-584-5551

Connect With Us

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

For news, views and offers


Read our Blog

For news, views and debate from our authors and readers.

For More Information

UK/ROW: [email protected]

N/S America: [email protected]