The ‘Earth Jurisprudence’ (EJ) Lecture Series, introducing Earth Jurisprudence in Korea, is aimed at finding solutions to resolve the harmful consequences, which come from the current human-centered industrialization, and to implement an environment favorable to research and the fostering of new abilities. Since 2015, lecture series has been held four times a year in partnership with the Pro Bono Center of One Law Partners. This lecture series constitutes a training program for judicial officers, lawyers and law-students, and is accredited by the Korean Bar Association (KBA) and responsible for playing important roles in transforming governance-systems.
The second session of the Earth Jurisprudence lecture series 2021 was with the title “Sustainability and Environmental Rights, ESG Timeline”.
1. Modern Law and the Scientific Worldview
○ Industrial civilization is a worldview based on science and is established under the industrial system. Under industrial civilization, nature is an object of possession and disposal, and human beings are the only subject in modern law. After the outbreak of the Black Death in medieval Europe, science and technology continued to develop under the 'drive to overcome nature', which accelerated the transition to a modern society.
○ Modern Philosopher of Science
- Francis Bacon: He argued that we should achieve scientific revolution and dominate nature through inductive reasoning and active experimentation.
- Galileo Galilei: He was brought before the Inquisition for his support of heliocentrism, which was only abolished when Newton explained nature with the law of universal gravitation.
- Rene Descartes: His philosophical proposition, “I think, therefore I am” was defined as the product of efforts to rationally construct the human world, free from fear of nature. Descartes' dichotomy of separating mind and matter was supported until today by the legal system.
- Newton: By combining Cartesian dichotomy and scientific laws, he established a 'mechanistic worldview' that grasped nature as matter.
2. Response to Nature’s Death and Environmental Rights
○ The emergence of ‘ecology’: its origin is a combination of ‘oikos (which means ‘house)’ and ‘logos’.
○ 1864. George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882): In his book, he asserted “the operation of causes set in action by man has brought the face of the earth to a desolation almost as complete as that of the moon.”
○ Rachel Carson (1907-1964): Her book, Silent Spring (1962), became one of the most influential books in the modern environmental movement and provided the impetus for tighter control of pesticides, including DDT.
○ 1970. Enactment of 'Earth Day'
○ 1972. 'Project on the Crisis of Humanity' report (MIT, USA) was published: It says that if the world population continues to rise, industrialization, environmental pollution, and resource plunder as it is now, the earth will reach its limit of growth within the next 100 years.
○ 1972. Stockholm 1972 – Declaration of the United Nations: The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm was the first world conference to make the environment a major issue.
○ 1983. The UN General Assembly established the World Commission on Environment and Development (WECD) to respond to environment and global problems to the year 2000 and beyond, including proposed strategies for sustainable development.
○ 1987. The World Commission on Environment and Development published the ‘Our Common Future’ report and established a long-term environmental strategy for sustainable development in the 21st century.
○ 1992. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: the Rio Declaration was adopted and contained in part Principle 10 stating that: “Environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level.