Our survival on earth, this chapter argues, depends on the conservation of the world’s natural resources. These resources comprise of soil, water, the atmosphere, plants, trees, and other life forms. The chapter looks at the earth’s current ‘ecological footprint’ and the future of that ecological footprint as it stands now. There is now widespread scientific consensus that biodiversity is being lost, and that pressures on biodiversity are increasing. The chapter asks what we can do about this, in terms of international law. The chapter identifies how international law seeks to ensure the protection and conservation and sustainable use of nature, its ecosystems and biodiversity, and the effectiveness of measures developed to conserve land?based living resources, forests, and deserts.
This chapter provides an overview of the purpose of this book. It starts by saying what the book does not expect to do. The text does not intend to answer the question whether the law we have now serves the needs of environmental justice or fairness among nations, generations, or peoples. It does, however, attempt to show, inter alia, how international law has developed a framework for cooperation on environmental matters between developed and developing states; for the adoption of measures aimed at control of pollution and conservation and sustainable use of natural resources; for the resolution of international environmental disputes; for the promotion of greater transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making; and for the adoption and harmonization of national environmental law.