Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Thus, to move toward green objectives, we must have a thorough grasp of
justice. Justice is a universal human value. It is a concept that is built into every
code of practice and behavior, including the codes of ethics of all engineering
and other design disciplines. Justice is the linchpin of social responsibility. The
United States' Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it
is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its
powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety
and Happiness.
These unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness depend on
a livable environment. The Declaration warns against a destructive government.
Arguably, the government holds a central role of overcoming the forces that will
militate against equity in environmental protection. Democracy and freedom are
at the core of achieving fairness, and we Americans rightfully take great pride in
these foundations of our republic.
By extension, the “equal protection” clause in the Constitution also sets the
stage for environmental justice:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein
they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the
The framers of our Constitution wanted to make sure that life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness were available to all. This begins with the protection
of property rights and is extended, with the Bill of Rights, to human and civil
rights to all the people. Theologian Reinhold Neibuhr contended that justice
is something that requires work: “Man's capacity for justice makes democracy
possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” 21 The
reality articulated by Neibuhr indicates the complexities and failings of the human
condition, and the vigilance and hard work required to provide a public benefit
such as an environment that supports public health and ecosystems. Certainly, a
modern connotation of “safety and happiness” is that of risk reduction. Thus, the
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