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It is about time: understanding the textures of time in Australian Environmental Law
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-19, 18:01 authored by Benjamin RichardsonBenjamin Richardson
Environmental law functions through temporal concepts and time-related mechanisms, as well as influences the timescales of natural systems through its regulation of environmental impacting activities. These textures of time are not only poorly conceptualised in accounts of environmental law, many environmental decisions diverge from the timescales of biological, ecological and climatic systems. The dominant philosophy of sustainable development, which orientates governance to the future, has displaced our attention from other germane temporal dimensions of governance, namely: repairing historic ecological damage (ie past time), improving the law’s responsiveness to mutable circumstances (ie adaptive time), and managing the pace of environmental change (ie tempo). These weaknesses stem from deficiencies in the design of laws and their cultural and economic milieu. With primary reference to the Australian context, this article advances a novel critique of environmental law through the lens of time and suggests ways to align it with nature’s timescales.
Publication titleEnvironmental and planning law journal
Department/SchoolFaculty of Law
Place of publicationAustralia
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