In the newest episode of Turning Conscience into Action, Mirian Vilela speaks with Dr. Nicholas A. Robinson about his work as a pioneer in the field of international environmental law. The IUCN, where Dr. Robinson served as president for the World Commission on Environmental Law, was instrumental in influencing the development of new environmental law and in using it to protect nature at the international level. This has included promoting the Convention on Biodiversity, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Agenda 21.
Dr. Robinson then explains the Earth Charter’s relevance to the world’s environmental challenges. He sees the Earth Charter as providing a framework for helping to implement solutions and as a basis for efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals. He shares that The IUCN adoption of the Earth Charter at its World Congress in 2004, means that it should be conducting its affairs according to the Earth Charter and it recommends members of IUCN do use it as a reference for decisions. Dr. Nicholson explains how ethics and values are the basis for creating laws by reflecting what society deems important and wants to protect. Because the drafting of the Earth Charter was so diverse and inclusive, it reflects global society’s shared values.
Finally, Dr. Robinson discusses the role and importance of ecological civilizations. We must move past the capitalist system which has resulted in today’s environmental and society problems. Even socialism was not the panacea that was promised. For him, ecological civilizations would replace extractivism with ecological integrity and focus on overall well-being. However, Dr. Robinsons says that the important question is how can we achieve an ecological civilization immediately? We need to make an abrupt change, not a gradual one; enshrining the principles of ecological civilization into law is one possible solution.