An Ecocentric Perspective on Climate Litigation: Lessons from Latin America

Fernanda de Salles Cavedon-Capdeville, María Valeria Berros, Humberto Filpi, Paola Villavicencio-Calzadilla


Based on the latest developments in ecological law in Latin America, including the recognition of the rights of nature, this article examines emerging climate-related cases that, challenging Western anthropocentric legal paradigms, address the climate crisis from an ecocentric perspective to protect both human and nature rights. Through novel arguments based on ecological law counter-narratives and a rights of nature perspective, these cases are giving way to the emergence of a new typology of climate litigation in which the intrinsic value and interests of all life forms and the legal status of nature are recognized. First, this article analyses the experience and current trends in the emerging field of ecological law in the region, including ecological and intergenerational dimensions of human rights and the legal and jurisprudential recognition of the rights of nature. Second, it reviews and compares some of the most relevant climate-related cases as well as recent, less known—some still pending—claims that incorporate an ecocentric approach, combining the protection of the rights of present and future generations and the rights of nature or exploring other arguments in the field of ecological law. These cases have the potential to contribute to the development of climate litigation with an ecocentric profile. Attention is given to the main arguments, characteristics, strengths, and shortcomings of these cases, as well as to potential barriers to the development of an ecocentric angle to climate litigation and the implementation of judicial decisions.


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