This chapter presents a critique of prevailing perspectives on the sovereignty-ecology link. It discusses the way toward some elements of an alternative conceptualization, and illustrates the propositions with a brief discussion of the case of the Brazilian Amazon. International environmental institutions constrain operational sovereignty, but formal sovereignty remains largely intact. There is no reason to expect that a particular set of international pressures affects the various component norms of sovereignty equally or in parallel fashion. Sovereignty as a global institution changes because of what happens to different states over time, at different rates and in different ways. The external aspect of sovereignty underlines the independence and equality of states and the fact that they are direct and immediate subjects of international law. New tasks, for which states are poorly suited and to which they are often opposed, have been thrust upon them by rising social demands.