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Environmental Values

Immigration and Environment: Settling the Moral Boundaries

Robert L. Chapman

Environmental Values 9(2000): 189-209. doi: 10.3197/096327100129342038

Large populations fuelled by immigration have damaging effects on natural environments. Utilitarian approaches to immigration (whether restrictive or permissive) are inadequate, since they fail to draw the appropriate boundaries between people, as are standard rights approaches buttressed by sovereignty concerns because they fail to include critical environmental concerns within their pantheon of rights. A right to a healthy environment is a basic/subsistence right to be enjoyed by everyone, resident and immigrant alike. Current political-economic arrangements reinforced by familiar ethical positions that support property rights and preference satisfaction favours (privileged) residents while directly or indirectly denying basic rights to potential immigrants and should be abandoned and a basic rights procedure adopted.


KEYWORDS: Dependency theory, livable environment, subsistence rights, utilitarianism


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