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Author: James Tully
Date: Mar. 2020
From: McGill Law Journal(Vol. 65, Issue 3)
Publisher: McGill Law Journal (Canada)
Document Type: Article
Length: 11,456 words
Lexile Measure: 1410L

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We know that law is a major enabler of the human activities that cause climate change, biodiversity destruction, and related ecosocial crises. We also turn to the law to regulate, mitigate, and attempt to transform these unsustainable human activities and systems. Yet, these regulatory regimes are often "recaptured" or "overridden" in turn by the very anthropogenic processes causing the crises. The resulting vicious cycles constitute the global trilemma of the twenty-first century that is rapidly rendering the living earth uninhabitable for humans, in radically unequal ways, and for thousands of other species. Integral, non-violent, sustainable democratic constitutionalism is one modest, experimental, trial-and-error response to this trilemma.

Nous savons que le droit est l'un des catalyseurs d'activites humaines contribuant aux changements climatiques, a la destruction de la biodiversite, et aux crises ecosociales connexes. Nous nous tournons egalement vers le droit pour attenuer et tenter de transformer ces activites humaines non durables. Pourtant, troisiemement, ces regimes de reglementation sont souvent << recaptures >>, voire << supplantes >>, a leur tour par les processus anthropiques a l'origine de ces crises. Le cercle vicieux qui en resulte constitue le trilemme mondial du XXIe siecle qui transforme la Terre, de maniere inegale, en milieu inhabitable pour les humains et pour les autres especes. Un constitutionnalisme democratique durable, integral, non violent, modeste, experimental, a tatonnement, est l'une des reponses a ce trilemme.

Introduction: The Crisis of Sustainability and Responses A. The Sustainability Crisis B. Three Phases of Ecosocial Systems C Misperceiving the Crisis I. The Vicious Social Systems that Cause the Crisis A. Four Processes of Disembedding and Re-embedding B. The Picture of Law in These Vicious Systems II. Learning from Gaia A. Convergence of Western and Indigenous Life Sciences B. Gaia Hypothesis, Symbiosis, and Symbiogenesis C. Three Phases of Life Systems and Ecological Succession D. Transforming Ecosocial Systems III. The Ecology of Law A. Transformative Ways of Ecosocial-Legal Succession B. Four Seeds of Legal Transformation: Law and Society, Ecology, Indigenous Law, and Ethics C. Six Common Law Tools of Transformation Conclusion: Common Law Contestation, Transformation, Reconciliation

Introduction: The Crisis of Sustainability and Response

A. The Sustainability Crisis

As we all know, we humans are entangled in a cluster of interconnected crises of social and ecological sustainability and well-being.

Over the last four hundred years, the West has developed an assemblage of social systems of production, consumption, law, government, military, and education that is socially and ecologically unsustainable and self-destructive. It overreaches and undermines the social and ecological conditions that sustain life on earth for Homo sapiens and many other species and ecosystems. It is now the dominant global social system.

It is an assemblage of "vicious" social systems in the technical sense that the regular feedback loops within and between these social systems, and the informal social systems and ecosystems on which they depend, reproduce and intensify the destructive effects of the systems on the ecological and social spheres.

We have known that this anti-social system is unsustainable socially and ecologically since the first meetings...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A658229757