Ecological degradation and population demands: wicked problems and the rule of rules in Canada/America




Large, Michael

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Rooted in legal theory and environmental studies, this thesis aims to (re)define the ‘population problem’ and related regulatory resolutions in constructive and clear terms, within a broad concept of 'law’. Green legal theory, wicked problem theory, and legal pluralism viewed from a wide-angle, first-person perspective, are applied together. To control birth rates and consumption demands in Canada/America, state-made laws are not central. We are ruled by rules: Certain law-like non-state rules aim to prod procreation and consumption ever-upward. Materially speaking, Can-American population numbers and consumption/waste form one inseparable factor relevant to global ecological degradation, and ‘legally’ speaking, specific religious doctrine amounts to 'population-UP control' and specific economic dogma 'consumption-UP control'. Together, these material and ‘legal’ factors form a wicked problem called ‘population demands.’ This problem formulation points away from state-made resolutions. Instead, the author recommends deconstructing degrading rules from the bottom-up and, in relation to consumption-UP control, reforming social norms.



population problem, green legal theory, wicked problem theory, legal pluralism, Canada, America, ecological degradation