NOTE: A GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME: STANDING TO SUE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1986 Journal of Law & Technology.
Georgetown University Law Center

NOTE: A GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME: STANDING TO SUE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

SPRING, 1986

1 J.L. & TECH. 67

Author

E. Joshua Rosenkranz *

Excerpt

The Ghost of the future points ominously into the misty darkness. Many of us try to ignore it. We hoard, in Scrooge-like fashion, resources that future generations might need to survive, we poison the water they will drink and the air they will breathe with products of our "progress." Engulfed in a cloud of smog, standing in a puddle of sludge, with leaching landfills at the tip of its outstretched hand, the Ghost of the future answers not. It just points onward.

Why we should heed the silent warnings of the Ghost of the future is the subject of a voluminous literature. Some maintain that we have no choice. Nature has programmed into our genes an altruism to future generations that forces us instinctively to preserve the world for a heritage we will never meet. 2 Others link our concern to human nature. 3 As mere mortals, we find our consolation in the knowledge that our seed will survive. 4 Indeed our desire to preserve the world for future generations could reflect the ultimate egocentricity. We are, perhaps, driven by the desire to be remembered by posterity. 5 There are also ethical explanations. Kant saw the concern for future generations as an element of the overall goal of sacrificing oneself to construct an ideal society. 6 Utilitarians see it as a natural outgrowth of the imperative that we take into account the effects of our actions on every sentient being. 7 Alternatively, some philosophers see the preservation of our ...
 
 
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