On Tuesday, September 20 at 12:10 pm in Room 101, the Sabin Center is hosting a talk by Melanie Murcott, Associate Professor, Department of Public Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. The topic is Indigenous communities, power, and justice: Climate litigation sustaining South Africa’s Wild Coast.
Pizza will be served.
Summary: The Eastern Cape High Court, South Africa has, in December 2021 and September 2022, handed down two landmark decisions in climate litigation aimed at blocking a new Shell fossil fuel development off South Africa’s Wild Coast. The climate litigation, led by indigenous communities as part of a broader movement for social, environmental, and climate justice, has been heralded as “a victory against capitalist extraction and destruction of humanity’s common future…[and] for the whole planet”. This presentation describes and evaluates the two decisions, applying a legal theory of transformative environmental constitutionalism. The theory draws on key aspects of South Africa’s transformative constitutional regime and the phenomenon of environmental constitutionalism, which indicates that the environment is a proper subject of protection in constitutional texts and by courts. The presentation reveals the power of rights-based strategies in pursuit of climate justice.