In the presence of anthropogenic climate change, gross environmental degradation, and mass abject poverty, many political theorists currently debate issues such as people's right to water, the right to food, and the distribution of rights to natural resources more generally. However, thus far many theorists either focus (somewhat arbitrarily) only on one particular resource (e.g. water) or they treat all natural resources alike, meaning that many relevant distinctions within the group of natural resources are overlooked. Hence, the paper will start with an analysis of the various forms which natural resources can take and how this might influence one's conception of resource rights. In so doing, the paper argues that we have to carefully distinguish between the actual physical resources people might control and how we distribute these, and the life-sustaining benefits each and every person draws from sustainable and functioning ecosystems. Based on this distinction, the paper will argue for a right to the benefits of life-sustaining ecosystem services as a universal basic right every person has. Further distributive claims with respect to particular physical resources would thus be limited by the requirements of such a basic right.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science