Antonio Oposa

The Rights of Future Generations

Date:October 2014

Antonio Oposa, Jr., the lawyer who established “the Oposa doctrine,” the right of future generations to inherit a healthy environment. He also forced a massive cleanup of Manila Bay, stopped logging in old-growth forests and reef-fishing with cyanide and dynamite, and now seeks to reserve 50% of Philippine highways for sustainable transport.

Antonio Oposa Jr. is one of Asia’s pioneering activist lawyers in the arena of environmental law. Hailing from the Philippines, Oposa is best known for the David-and-Goliath battles he’s waged against its government. With flawless legal maneuvering, he has effectively managed to protect forest and marine areas in his native country and is probably best known for establishing the principle of inter-generational responsibility—the idea that the present generation has a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations.

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