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You Can’t Eat Biodiversity: Agency and Irrational Norms in European Aquatic Environmental Law

You Can’t Eat Biodiversity: Agency and Irrational Norms in European Aquatic Environmental Law

Challenges in Sustainability | 2017 | Volume 5 | Issue 1 | Pages 43-51

Tim O’Higgins

Policies of the European Union cover a range of social, environmental and economic aspirations and the current environmental directives and laws have evolved from a suite of norms which have changed over time. These may be characterised loosely according to ‘Three Ps’: Practical, those taking an anthropocentric approach; Pure, those taking an ecocentric approach and Popular, those appealing to the general public.

In this paper I use these three perspectives as a tool to analyse the complexity and identify contradictions in European aquatic environmental legislation. Some trade-offs between development and conservation are identified and used to characterise the potential qualities of more successful agency to achieve environmental goals in the governance of European aquatic environments.

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