Dr. Ton Bührs is a CSGR Visiting Fellow from Lincoln University, New Zealand, where he is a Senior Lecturer and the Convenor for Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Management and Policy in the Environmental Management Group, a department of the Environment, Society & Design Division. He holds a Master’s degree in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam, and a PhD from Auckland University, New Zealand.
Ton’s main area of expertise and interest lies in environmental policy and politics. He is a co-author of Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green? (Oxford University Press, 1993), and has written extensively on environmental policy developments in New Zealand and in a comparative and international context. One of his main areas of interest is that of ‘environmental integration’, in particular, the issues and politics associated with the greening of non-environmental policy areas, at the national and international level. In that context, he has come to the Centre to explore the potential for the implementation, at the international level, of the notion of environmental space.
The notion of environmental space has been put forward as a means to make concrete the concept of sustainable development. Based on an assessment of environmental limits (ecological and resource limits), and on a strong equity principle (in principle, all people have the right to the same amount of environmental space), advocates of the application of the notion of environmental space seek to bring the resource consumption and practices of countries in line with what is considered ecologically sustainable and socially equitable.
Although the idea of environmental space has been translated into a series of country studies, notably in Europe, thus far it has found very limited application at the national and international level, for a variety of reasons, including political-economic obstacles and the global ‘collective action’ problem. During his stay with the Centre, Ton aims to undertake further research on how the environmental space approach could be advanced at the international and global level, given these obstacles.