Published on 17.11.2022

"Framing rewilding as a restorative justice practice"

Ludovico Conti won the University of Fribourg Ethics Prize with his Master thesis 'Framing rewilding as a restorative justice practice: from righting wrongs to practical implementations'. Ludovico finished his Master in Environmental Sciences and Humanities this summer. We are excited about this success! Congratulations, Ludovico!

The thesis abstract reads as follows:

'To tackle the current climate crisis, transformative changes to the level of paradigms, goals and values are needed. How to redesign our relationship with nature is one of the critical issues arising in this transition. Some claim that anthropocentrism should be discarded as it does not endorse the required policies and practices. I contend that this stance does not consider the embeddedness of anthropocentrism in our culture. Contrastingly, I submit that it would be much more helpful if anthropocentrists could be shown that, if consistently applied, anthropocentrism supports the necessary transformative changes. To this goal, I mount a case for rewilding (i.e., the most contested restorative practice) in the least favourable conditions: within a contractarian framework. My argument develops on four points. First, I argue that all biotic and abiotic entities have rights. Secondly, I display the widely accepted view that violating someone’s right necessitates compensation. Thirdly, by drawing a simile between compensation and rewilding, I defend that rewilding can be conceived as a compensatory mechanism for nonhumans. Finally, I show how humans are infringing nonhumans’ rights. These premises permit me to argue that even the most radical moral expansionist theory, viz. anthropocentrism, provides a reasoned argument for rewilding. Having demonstrated such imperative, I establish the consequences that such a conclusion entails: we need to redesign the subsidies system, constitutionalise moral rights, and reorganise our physical spaces in a more fluid and porous manner.'

Find out more about the Master program in Environmental Sciences and Humanities