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Justifying Soil Protection and Sustainable Soil Management: Creation-Ethical, Legal and Economic Considerations

Bernd Hansjürgens (), Andreas Lienkamp () and Stefan Möckel ()
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Bernd Hansjürgens: Department of Economics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstraße 15, 04315 Leipzig, Germany
Andreas Lienkamp: Institut für Katholische Theologie, University Osnabrück, Schloßstraße 4, 49074 Osnabrück, Germany
Stefan Möckel: Department of Environmental Law, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstraße 15, 04315 Leipzig, Germany

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 10, 1-12

Abstract: Fertile soils form an important basis for survival for humans, but also for animals, plants and ecosystems, on which all terrestrial organisms rely. Soil is not only of central importance to the global provision of food and in the fight against hunger; climate, biological diversity and water bodies are also highly dependent on soil quality. Soil conservation is therefore a decisive factor in the survival of humanity. Pope Francis also emphasized this in his encyclical “Laudato si’”. However, increasing pressure is being exerted on soils, which poses an enormous challenge to the international community and thus also to the church. Against this background, in this article, which is based on a Memorandum of the German Bishops’ Working Group on Ecological Issues, arguments and justifications for soil protection and sustainable soil management are developed from different angles—from a creation-ethical, a legal, and an economic perspective. All three perspectives point in the same direction, namely that in the use of soils public interests that serve the society and the environment should be given priority over private interests. These arguments may serve as an important reference point in political and societal debates about soils, and may support strategies for sustainable soil management.

Keywords: justifying soil protection; sustainable soil management; creation ethics; Laudato si’; property rights; German Constitutional Law (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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