Limits to Justice, Ecojustice and Climate Justice?

  • Ernst Conradie University of the Western Cape
Keywords: Climate Justice, Ecojustice, Ecotheology, Justice, Limits, Restoration, Sustainability


In ecumenical theology, there have been long-standing debates on the relationship between justice, peace and the integrity of creation (WCC), as well as between ecclesial unity, reconciliation and justice (Belhar), or between love and justice (Niebuhr). Is love “higher” than justice or is justice an end in itself? This yields a dual recognition, namely an impatience that justice is so often frustrated but also that doing justice to the victims of history is never fully possible given the arrow of time: the period when injustices endured can never be undone. Only the consequences of past injustices can be addressed and then only partially. Does this suggest some limits to climate justice? What would doing justice to the victims of climate change mean if lands that are destroyed cannot be recovered for the foreseeable future? What would one make of comments from Maina Talia (from Tuvalu) that what is needed in that context is not justice but good neighbours? This contribution explores such questions. It argues that the need for justice may be sharpened precisely by contemplating its limits.


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Author Biography

Ernst Conradie, University of the Western Cape
Department of Religion and Theology,Faculty of Arts
African and German perspectives on ecojustice