Related to the discussion on Nature Based Solutions. A topic in Ethics.

Concerns about social inequities extend beyond humans to include non-human species.

Most of urban policies and planning measures prioritise human needs over the needs of non-human species.

They also often favour already advantaged humans over others. (Escobar; Houston; Pellow; Steele).

Escobar, Arturo. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Houston, Donna, Jean Hillier, Diana MacCallum, Wendy Steele, and Jason Byrne. ‘Make Kin, Not Cities! Multispecies Entanglements and “Becoming-World” in Planning Theory’. Planning Theory 17, no. 2 (2018): 190–212. https://doi.org/10/gdkqp6.

Pellow, David Naguib, and Robert J. Brulle, eds. Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

Steele, Wendy, Ilan Wiesel, and Cecily Maller. ‘More-than-Human Cities: Where the Wild Things Are’. Geoforum 106, no. 2019 (2019): 411–15. https://doi.org/10/gf49st.

The human-centred orientation of urban environments is increasingly under challenge.

There is a growing understanding about the interdependencies between humans and other life forms.

For example:

  • in planning (Houston; Narayanan)

Narayanan, Yamini. ‘Street Dogs at the Intersection of Colonialism and Informality: “Subaltern Animism” as a Posthuman Critique of Indian Cities’. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 35, no. 3 (2017): 475–94. https://doi.org/10/f98rdd.

Goals or Objectives of Justice

Thriving, flourishing? Fairness, the equitable application of rules. Cf. the difference between truth and justice in criminal prosecution. It does not matter what is true or rather it matters more that the rules are applied evenly.

Cf. an anecdote in

Ellenberg, Jordan. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. New York: The Penguin Press, 2014.

Ecological Justice

As distinct from 'environmental justice' that focuses on how human communities fair amidst environmental measures and impacts.


  • ecojustice
  • multispecies justice (but this is more narrow, biocentric or even zoocentric)

Klaus Bosselman defines ecological justice as consisting of three elements: intragenerational justice, intergenerational justice, and interspecies justice.

Bosselmann, Klaus. ‘Ecological Justice and Law’. In Environmental Law for Sustainability: A Reader, edited by Benjamin J. Richardson and Stepan Wood, 129–63. Oxford: Hart, 2006.

Interspecies justice or equality is "the concern for the non-human natural world"

Bosselmann, Klaus. The Principle of Sustainability: Transforming Law and Governance. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008, 99.

Angie Pepper, “Delimiting Justice: Animal, Vegetable, Ecosystem?,” Les Ateliers de l’éthique / The Ethics Forum 13, no. 1 (2018): 210–30, https://doi.org/10/ggcbsc.

Baxter, Brian. A Theory of Ecological Justice. London: Routledge, 2005.

Three parts of justice:

  • equity in the distribution of environmental risk
  • recognition of the diversity of the participants and experiences in affected communities
  • participation in the political processes which create and manage environmental policy

(in out cases explicitly involving nonhuman beings)

Schlosberg, David. ‘Reconceiving Environmental Justice: Global Movements and Political Theories’. Environmental Politics 13, no. 3 (2004): 517–40. https://doi.org/10/dv3kpd.

Washington, Haydn, Guillaume Chapron, Helen Kopnina, Patrick Curry, Joe Gray, and John J. Piccolo. ‘Foregrounding Ecojustice in Conservation’. Biological Conservation 228 (2018): 367–74. https://doi.org/10/ghn7vn.

In distributive terms, the argument can be to share the Net Primary Productivity (NPP). This, however, is restrictive as without relationships, behaviours, and cultures that productivity is not meaningful.

An alternative to energy is space for example, and the reasonable measure would be 'optimal' populations, as in bio-proportionality.

Mathews, Freya. ‘From Biodiversity-Based Conservation to an Ethic of Bio-Proportionality’. Biological Conservation 200 (2016): 140–48. https://doi.org/10/f83bj9.

Justice should imply that ecojustice must supersede social justice in order to protect the remaining natural world on which we all lifeforms depend, including humans.

Literature review showing that 'nature-based solutions' fail to lead to ecologically just cities:

Pineda-Pinto, Melissa, Niki Frantzeskaki, and Christian A. Nygaard. ‘The Potential of Nature-Based Solutions to Deliver Ecologically Just Cities: Lessons for Research and Urban Planning from a Systematic Literature Review’. Ambio, no. 51 (2022): 167–82. https://doi.org/10/gm5hmh.


  • priviledge
  • internalised dominance
  • opression

Sensoy, Özlem, and Robin DiAngelo. ‘Developing Social Justice Literacy an Open Letter to Our Faculty Colleagues’. Phi Delta Kappan 90, no. 5 (2009): 345–52. https://doi.org/10/gqvhrf.

Planetary Justice


Biermann, Frank, and Agni Kalfagianni. “Planetary Justice: A Research Framework.” Earth System Governance 6 (2020): 100049. https://doi.org/10/gkm3qx.

Environmental Data Justice

Vera, Lourdes A., Dawn Walker, Michelle Murphy, Becky Mansfield, Ladan Mohamed Siad, and Jessica Ogden. ‘When Data Justice and Environmental Justice Meet: Formulating a Response to Extractive Logic Through Environmental Data Justice’. Information, Communication & Society 22, no. 7 (2019): 1012–28. https://doi.org/10/gf8sr4.

Capabilities Approach

Sen, Nassbaum

Robeyns, Ingrid. “Capability Approach.” In Handbook of Economics and Ethics, edited by Jan Peil and Irene van Staveren, 39–46. Cheltenham: Elgar, 2009.

Robeyns, Ingrid. Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: The Capability Approach Re-Examined. Cambridge: OpenBook Publishers, 2017.

City and animals

Delon, Nicolas. “Animal Capabilities and Freedom in the City.” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 22, no. 1 (2021): 131–53. https://doi.org/10/gmnmnb.

Cf. Armstrong's desire to replace 'capabilities' with 'considerata'. Seems more vague.

Kortetmäki, Teea. ‘Justice in and to Nature: An Application of the Broad Framework of Environmental and Ecological Justice’. PhD Thesis, University Of Jyväskylä, 2017.

Katy Fulfer, “The Capabilities Approach to Justice and the Flourishing of Nonsentient Life,” Ethics and the Environment 18, no. 1 (2013): 19–42, https://doi.org/10/gfsp32.

Interspecies Justice

Multi-optic vision as opposed to single-optic vision that can priviledge one but obscure other injustices. Cf. “ethics of mutual avowal” (Kim, 2015, p. 20): link multiple forms of oppression and the interconnectedness between them. Cf. Intersectionality (Kim, 2015. See also Deckha 2007 and her discus-sion of bell hooks and her radical openness of mind).

Kim, Claire Jean. Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Deckha, Maneesha. ‘Animal Justice, Cultural Justice: A Posthumanist Response to Cultural Rights in Animals’. Journal of Animal Law and Ethics 2 (2007): 189–230.

Ecological justice, etc.

Theses with overviews:

Kortetmäki, Teea. ‘Justice in and to Nature: An Application of the Broad Framework of Environmental and Ecological Justice’. PhD Thesis, University Of Jyväskylä, 2017.

This one advocates an individualistic and biocentric approach.

Wienhues, Anna. ‘Life in Common: Distributive Ecological Justice on a Shared Earth’. PhD Thesis, The University of Manchester, 2018.

Anna Wienhues, “Sharing the Earth: A Biocentric Account of Ecological Justice,” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30, no. 3 (2017): 367–85, https://doi.org/10/gbtvts.

Wienhues, Anna. Ecological Justice and the Extinction Crisis: Giving Living Beings Their Due. Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2020.

On interspecies justice:

Cochrane, Alasdair. Sentientist Politics: A Theory of Global Inter-Species Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Donaldson, Sue, and Will Kymlicka. Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Garner, Robert. ‘Animals, Politics and Democracy’. In The Political Turn in Animal Ethics, edited by Robert Garner and Shiobhan O’Sullivan, 103–17. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

Matevia, Marilyn. ‘Justice for All: Revisiting the Prospects for a Biocommunitarian Theory of Interspecies Justice’. Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy 19, no. 3 (2016): 189–202. https://doi.org/10/gmtp4g.

McLeod-Kilmurray, Heather. ‘Commoditizing Nonhuman Animals and Their Consumers: Industrial Livestock Production, Animal Welfare, and Ecological Justice’. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 32, no. 1 (2012): 71–85. https://doi.org/10/gmtp4t.

Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, Commoditizing Nonhuman Animals and Their Consumers: Industrial Livestock Production, Animal Welfare, and Ecological Justice, 32(1) Bull. Sci., Tech. & Soc’y 71 (2012)

Marcel Wissenburg & David Schlosberg eds., Political Animals and Animal Politics (2014)

Andrew Woodhall & Gabriel Garmendia da Trindade eds., Ethical and Political Approaches to Nonhuman Animal Issues (2017)

Rafi Youatt, Interspecies Relations, International Relations: Rethinking Anthropocentric Politics, 43(1) Millennium J. Int’l Stud. 207 (2014).

Community of Justice

A conception that distinguishes recipients of justice from other entities.

Argument based on the similarity between humans and other beings suggests the inclusion of other life.

  • Traditional justice theorists argue that nonhuman nature does not understand contracts (probably true) or have a notion of the good (likely not true)
  • There is significant similarity between humans and nonhuman beings and their environments.
  • These similarities (needs, sentience, interests, agency, physical integrity, and the unfolding of potential) is the bases for consideration and recognition.

Schlosberg, David. Defining Environmental Justice: Theories, Movements, and Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Justice among Nonhuman Beings

Can animals and other nonhuman beings have the sense or concept of justice? To put it in other ways. Do animals have a sense of morality? Do they know right from wrong?

Morality is relevant here because one can say that:

Justice as a human perception of morality. #definition (Private)

In turn, one can say that:

Morality is a way to differentiate between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. #definition (Private)

Even if they cannot, it does not prevent the useful operation of this concept as understood by humans but applied to nonhuman others with their participation.

However, evidence exists that animals in particular also have morality.

Wolves, coyotes, elephants, whales and many other social groups or co-inhabitants have rules of behaviour and the forms of morality, governance, law, etc.

For references:

Bekoff, Marc, and Jessica Pierce. Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Bekoff, Marc. ‘Wild Justice and Fair Play: Cooperation, Forgiveness, and Morality in Animals’. Biology and Philosophy 19, no. 4 (2004): 489–520. https://doi.org/10/dv8g2m.

On the evolution of shame in humans, its public nature and the relationship of shame with submission behaviour in social animals.

Maibom, Heidi L. ‘The Descent of Shame’. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80, no. 3 (2010): 566–94. https://doi.org/10/ckjfd3.

Epistemic Injustice

See also epistemic violence

Fricker, Miranda. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Kidd, Ian James, ed. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. London: Routledge, 2017.

On cultures of equality, considering relationality in action and more-than-human knowledge, see:

Golańska, Dorota, Aleksandra M. Różalska, and Suzanne Clisby, eds. Investigating Cultures of Equality. Abingdon: Routledge, 2022.

Intergenerational Justice

Especially as it help to think in longer timeframes and provides an entrance to nonhuman beings.

Fritsch, Matthias. Taking Turns with the Earth: Phenomenology, Deconstruction, and Intergenerational Justice. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.

Justice as a Goal

Is it reasonable to understand justice (or some such similar concept) as a more reasonable goal than bodily betterment (cf. Socrates on the good life)1. Cf. the idea of "machines for justice"

War on Animals

On the idea of peace law, see Saskia Stucki, also 'One Rights'

Deep Equity

Laws, policies, and values promoting acting in synergy to promote sustainability and maximize the health and potential (cf. Capabilities of all individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

Similarities in the legal principles of:

  • Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR)
  • prevention/polluter-pays
  • and intra- and intergenerational equity

Rich should pay for the externalities but can also win via deeply shared benefits in a healthy, functioning, biodiverse planet.

Takacs, David. ‘Deep Equity, Nonzero-Sum Environmentalism, and a Sustainable Planet’. In Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism, edited by Sarah Krakoff, Melissa Powers, and Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, 111–31. Washington: Environmental Law Institute, 2019.

Design Justice

Whatever this might mean...

Costanza-Chock, Sasha. Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2020.

Relevant International Law


Risse, Mathias. On Justice: Philosophy, History, Foundations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

  1. Opression


  1. Plato. The Last Days of Socrates. Translated by Christopher Rowe. London: Penguin, 2003.˄