Ulrich Beck (1992) identiﬁes the ‘risk society’ as resulting from the fact that human societies must increasingly be organized around distributing risks, including the external risks that arise without direct human causation (for example, from earthquakes or other ‘natural disasters’) as well as the manufactured risks that arise from human choices (for example, from pollution or other anthropogenic environmental hazards). Such risks to human health and welfare cannot be eliminated entirely, but they can be managed, and the threats that they pose can be reduced and redistributed. Risk, Beck (1992, p. 19) argues, is ‘ascribed by civilization’ rather than being the product of good
or bad fortune, and has overtaken scarcity as the core concern of modern social conﬂict such that the ‘new paradigm’ of risk society turns on the question: ‘How can the risks and hazards systematically produced as part of modernization be prevented, minimized, dramatized, or channeled?’ Indeed, contemporary environmental governance has largely become an imperative of minimizing and fairly distributing risk among persons, peoples, and generations, subject to various tradeoﬀs and normative principles. Where manufactured risks are involved, it is now regarded as an issue of basic justice that the vulnerable be protected from risk generated by human activities, forming the core imperative of regulatory responsibility.