This particular exchange caught my eye in the latest issue of the Human Rights Quarterly, in Thomas Krapf’s “The Last Witness to the Drafting Process of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Interview with Stéphane Frédéric Hessel.”
Krapf: Did the authors of the Declaration, as they were working on the text, have any awareness that they might be missing opportunities of obtaining agreement on important issues?
Hessel: To begin with, let’s say that at the time there was a problem which was not even taken up. This is the issue of man’s relating to the planet; the issue, which today, we call environmental problems. Today, these have become extremely important. At that time they were not taken into account. It was believed that the resources of the earth could be exploited indefinitely, that it would be possible to continue developing all forms of growth without running the risk of many failures. Today, we know that these failures are looming, and that they are already very close at hand. Possibly, it will not be possible to live on this earth.
HRQ Vol. 35, No. 3, August 2013, pp. 753-768
For additional commentary on environmental devastation from a human rights perspective, see Dr. Joel Filartiga’s eloquent remarks quoted in the IntLawGrrl post Dr. Filartiga, torture and the environment.