This important new monograph offers an innovative new analysis of the Aarhus Convention. Environmental law is dense with monolithic concepts, from environmental democracy to intergenerational justice, from sustainable development to stewardship. Each concept generates its own mythology about what environmental law should aspire to. Sometimes these ideas become so big that we lose hold of their meaning and therefore what we allude to when we describe environmental law in such terms. No more so is this true than in relation to the Aarhus Convention – an ambitious instrument of environmental law that promotes public participation and access to justice in relation to the environment. Since its inception it has been revered in glowing terms, and praised variously for its contribution to citizenship, environmental responsibility and democratic legitimacy. But how are we to know whether these descriptions are mere puffs or genuine statements about the Convention's character?
This book digs deep into the foundations of the Aarhus Convention, examining its ambitious potential through the lens of three foundational purposes – environmental rights, democracy and stewardship. In so doing, it contributes to our understanding both of the Convention and our understanding of three important purposes that inhabit environmental law, unravelling and reassembling them to build meaning into our broad-brush descriptions.