Towards an ecological space paradigm: Fair and sustainable distribution of environmental resources

Wouter Peeters, Jo Dirix, Sigrid Sterckx

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Humanity’s current consumption patterns threaten the lives of current as well as future people. This provides a strong moral imperative to take the material constraints of the environment as the point of departure for an account of sustainable distributive justice. This ecological space paradigm should focus on a multidimensional, non-aggregative conception of carrying capacity. However, because resources are merely instrumental in pursuing various ends, we suggest combining capabilities and ecological space as the currency of distributive justice. As regards scope, this integrative account has the major advantage of combining the strength of the capabilities approach regarding global justice with the focus of the ecological space paradigm on intertemporal justice. The pattern of distribution should then take the form of distributing material resources so as to enable everyone to reach the capability threshold, while the leftover ecological space should be distributed on an equal per capita basis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate change and sustainable development
Subtitle of host publicationethical perspectives on land use and food production
EditorsThomas Potthast, Simon Meisch
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-197-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • global justice
  • intertemporal justice
  • distributive justice
  • sustainable development
  • capabilities
  • ecological space


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