It is today becoming widely recognized that the planet earth--or, more expansively, the entire earth-space system--is an ecological unity both In a basic scientific sense and in the sense of interdependencies of the social processes by which mankind uses it. The plants, animals (including homo sapiens) and micro-organisms that inhabit the planet are united with each other and with their nonliving surroundings in a network of complex, interrelated natural and cultural components known as the planetary "ecosystem." While there is this increasing realization of inextricable ecological interrelatedness, the world public order today remains essentially a loosely organized decision- making system in which some one hundred and fifty different territorial communities seek to promote and aggrandize their own particular interests. Although the states-as-sole-actors approach to international politics has long been discredited, the primacy of the state in contemporary international law and politics seems to remain unchallenged for the foreseeable future.
State Responsibility for Environmental Protection and Preservation: Ecological Unities and a Fragmented World Public Order,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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