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(2021) 17:1 Journal of Law & Equality 165-183


Inspired by the analysis developed in the article “Coming of Age in a Warming World: The Charter’s Section 15 Equality Guarantee and Youth-Led Climate Litigation,” by Nathalie Chalifour, Jessica Earle, and Laura Macintyre, this commentary explores the concept of intergenerational environmental justice in the climate crisis. Our central contribution is to advance a relational conception of intergenerational environmental justice, which we argue can overcome some common objections to thinking about justice and rights in “generational” terms. This analysis supports climate litigation efforts on Charter grounds, best conceived in our view as discrimination against young and future generations. Yet it also highlights the need to advance intergenerational environmental justice outside of a narrow constitutional focus and, hence, puts forward various institutional, legislative, and deliberative mechanisms designed to uphold long-term interests in environmental governance processes.

Even if we don’t have a clear sense of the exact solutions to fix the future, we should have a clear sense of how we want to feel in ourselves, in our relationships with each other, in community, and in relationship to the planet. Those feelings aren’t for the far-off future, they are guidance to what we must be seeding and practicing now, right now.

— adrienne maree-brown, “Additional Recommendations for Us Right Now from a Future”

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.