Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

M. Doelle


This work reviews the Inter-American and European human rights regimes and their abilities to respond to point-source pollution, climate change, and ecosystem conservation. It begins by reviewing leading human rights theories and the development of the relationship between human rights and the environment. It then focuses on European human rights, both under the ECHR and the CFREU, and highlights the ECHR’s ability to respond to instances of point-source-pollution though the right to privacy. The work then looks at the Inter-American human rights regime, its structure, history and ability to respond to environmental challenges. It reviews the regime’s tendency to use the right to property to protect the environments of indigenous populations and provides a detailed analysis of the regime’s potential ability to respond to climate change based on the recent Athabaskan Petition. Finally this work looks at how environmental protection can be developed within both regimes, comparing their abilities to adapt and progressively interpret each regime’s human rights laws. It concludes that the European regime is in a better position to expand its human rights, potentially to the degree of recognizing a right to a healthy environment.