The fictitious dichotomy

“Looking back, it was acknowledged that environmental problems had to developed, through international diplomacy, responsive actions against various adverse effects.

The ultimate goal for the modern approach was to find harmony between the technosphere and the biosphere – between the natural and man-made environments. To this end, it was held necessary to impose restrictions upon activities in the technosphere in order to protect the elements of the biosphere: the hydrosphere, the atmoshere and the lithosphere.

However, in the face of new environmental threats it was recognised that the modern attempt to protect environmental elements was simply too “elementary”. In its drive to protect air, water and the terrestrial environment, modernism had led to a static approach which failed to pay sufficient attention to the dynamic role of and the interaction between environmental elements.

It appeared that international environmental law was becoming too abstract and was, in fact, losing sight of environmental issues. Indeed, it seemed a gap was emerging between man and nature. The gap had formed as a consequence of a too rigid distinction between the technosphere and the biosphere.

In the end, the dichotomy between man and his environment was a mere fiction, and gave a wrong impression of human activities being separate from the surrounding natural environment.”

T. Kuokkanen, International Law and the Environment: Variations on a Theme (Volume 4 of the Erik Castren Institute Monographs on International Law and Human Rights Series, Brill 2002) 240-241


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