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Biodiversity and Democracy: Rethinking Society and Nature

By: Paul M Wood

238 pages, no illustrations

University of British Columbia Press

Hardback | Jun 1999 | #97602 | ISBN: 0774806885
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NHBS Price: £71.50 $87/€80 approx

About this book

The world's species, genes, and ecosystems are going extinct at an alarming and unprecedented rate, largely as a result of human activities. If this trend continues, human civilization itself is at risk. Yet we remain either unaware or unconcerned.

In Biodiversity and Democracy, Paul Wood looks at this dilemma from another perspective. He argues that the problem can be traced back to how we think about both biodiversity and democratic societies. He examines the concept of biodiversity, recasting it as an essential environmental condition that is being irreversibly depleted, not a biological resource that can simply be replaced. He then demonstrates how democratic policies cater to short-term public preferences, with little or no concern for the long term.

Wood considers a number of contemporary theories of justice and concludes that biodiversity conservation is a legitimate constraint on current collective preferences and that biodiversity should be conserved, even if it is not in the public's current best interest to do so. This is a strong message that carries serious implications for constitutional and statutory legal reform in liberal democracies.

This book will be of interest to academics and professionals in the related fields of conservation biology, environmental law, public policy, environmental ethics and political philosophy. Public interest groups, environmental advocacy groups and government agencies will also find Wood's approach thought-provoking.

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