This article investigates whether beauty in nature can provide a global language to inform environmental governance, such as by providing shared values and collaborative approaches across and within different cultures. Because art mediates how many people experience environmental aesthetics, such as through photography and music, this enquiry extends to the arts. As is the case for other aesthetic values, beauty is ultimately about relationships and ways of knowing our environment, and the law can best engage with such values through interpretive guidance and processes for participatory decision making. Prescriptive codification of beauty ‘standards’ is generally not a realistic goal for lawmakers. The article enriches our understanding of how aesthetics can contribute to human beings’ emotional empathy and ethical commitment to environmental stewardship, and identifies some conceptual and methodological difficulties that militate against beauty being a lingua franca for environmental law.
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