Towards an integration of the ecological space paradigm and the capabilities approach

Wouter Peeters, Jo Dirix, Sigrid Sterckx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In order to develop a model of equitable and sustainable distribution, this paper advocates integrating the ecological space paradigm and the capabilities approach. As the currency of distribution, this account proposes a hybrid of capabilities and ecological space. Although the goal of distributive justice should be to secure and promote people’s capabilities now and in the future, doing so requires acknowledging that these capabilities are dependent on the biophysical preconditions as well as inculcating the ethos of restraint. Both issues have been highlighted from the perspective of the ecological space paradigm. Concerning the scope of distributive justice, the integration can combine the advantages of the ecological space paradigm regarding the allocation of the responsibilities involved in environmental sustainability with the strength of the capabilities approach regarding people’s entitlements. The pattern of distribution starts from a capability threshold. In order to achieve this threshold, ecological space should be provided sufficiently, and the remaining ecological space budget could then be distributed according to the equal per capita principle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-496
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Early online date12 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Distributive justice
  • social justice
  • environmental sustainability
  • capabilities
  • ecological space


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