The social and economic trends that have contributed to the current climate and biodiversity crises have been created by and reflected in the law in many ways. Looking primarily at experience in the UK, it can be seen that much that is deeply embedded in the law needs to change to enable a more sustainable future. In particular, we have seen a move to greater individualism when we need to adopt more collective solutions, we have seen an emphasis on short-term priorities when we need to take a longer-term view and we have seen a focus on economic and commercial value when we need to value more highly the natural world. The past trends in the evolution of the law must be reversed, requiring consideration across many legal areas. Examples of past evolution are identified to show how the law encourages unsustainable ways of working and obstructs, or fails to enable and incentivise, improvement, before more recent positive developments are discussed to illustrate how legal structures can be recast to support a new way of living based on collective and long-term approaches and a partnership with nature. Ensuring a sustainable future requires a break from many inherited legal structures.
- Securing a sustainable future requires changes in current legal structures that embody an unsustainable way of living.
Key trends in the past evolution of the law need to be reversed.
- We have seen a move to greater individualism when we need to adopt more collective solutions.
- We have seen an emphasis on short-term priorities when we need to take a longer-term view.
- We have seen a focus on economic and commercial value when we need to value more highly the natural world.
- Recent reforms in various areas in the UK offer some examples of positive development, but more must be done.
Photo by Magda Ehlers