Culture & Ethics

Politicians and Commentators Who Criticize Recent National Monuments Are Making Up Their Own Version of History

Republican Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Herbert Hoover Designated Millions of Acres Under the Antiquities Act

As several colleagues and I noted here recently, President Trump recently issued an executive order that will result in “review” of national monuments created since 1996.  (The Antiquities Act grants Presidents the authority to reserve federal lands as national monuments, protecting them from much new resource extraction and development that would otherwise potentially be available on those […]

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Climate Change is the new He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named

And Scott Pruitt is the new High Inquisitor at EPA

Last week, after saying that he did not believe that carbon dioxide is the primary cause of climate change, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reminded me for the second time since he took office of someone I met at age fifteen: Dolores Umbridge. Yes, that Dolores Umbridge, the one that functions as the main villain of the […]

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Trump’s Public Statements Aren’t Relevant in Assessing His Likely Climate Policy

The Media Need to Take Trump’s Advisors, and Their Policy Proposals, More Seriously Than They Take Trump’s Off-the-Cuff Comments

The media need to get their act together when they report and editorialize about President-elect Donald Trump’s public statements.  Chief among many failures in reporting on the campaign was the tendency of major newspapers and television outlets to focus on candidates’ rhetoric, symbolism, and character, to the virtual exclusion of governance and policy. This contributed […]

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Surprise! Bill O’Reilly Says Trump Should Accept the Paris Agreement

No, this isn’t a hoax, and I didn’t find it on the Onion. Seriously.

Bill O’Reilly has said on Fox News that Trump should accept the Paris Agreement because “it’s not that big a deal” and ‘it would buy good will.”  When I read this, my first thought was that it was somebody’s idea of a joke, or was just some of that fake Internet news that we’ve all heard […]

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Can Women’s Land Rights Combat Climate Change?

Suggestive Links Between Gender Equity and Sustainability

I suppose that the holy grail of environmentalism, and environmental scholarship, is integrating equity concerns with global priorities. The environmental justice movement has sought to do this, sometimes with success and sometimes less so. Now Jennifer Duncan of Landesa, one of the most innovative think tanks focusing on land rights and the Global South, thinks […]

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The Future of Environmental Law?

Thoughts from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i

I am writing this weekend from a sunny spot in the Pacific, from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. For the uninitiated, the IUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources—is a global union of governments and non-governmental organizations (including over 1300 member institutions, organizations, and countries worldwide) focused on the conservation of […]

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What Threatens Biodiversity?

Are we too worried about climate change to focus on the other problems we know about?

Yesterday, Nature published a noteworthy comment on the biodiversity crisis, written by researchers at the University of Queensland and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The piece is based on a study of 8,688 species that are classified on the IUCN’s Red List either as threatened (vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered) or near-threatened. The main […]

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The Libertarian Party and the Environment

The Libertarian Party platform leaves many open questions about environmental protection.

A number of people seem drawn to the Libertarian Party during this election cycle.  As it turns out, the Party believes not only in minimal government but a minimal platform.  Compared to the platforms of the major parties, the Libertarian platform is blessedly brief. (It also seems notably more purist than the Party’s presidential ticket.) […]

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Red, white, blue and smog

Fireworks leave behind a lot of pollutants

As a kid on the South Side of Chicago, summertime meant seeing White Sox games at Comiskey Park (technically now called U.S. Cellular Park, but I will never call it that). If the Sox won, there were fireworks. And on Saturdays, there were fireworks even if they didn’t. I have a distinct memory of asking […]

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Mr. Jefferson’s Bridge

Anticipating modern environmental views, Jefferson viewed nature as a public trust.

This being the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate to talk about Jefferson’s relationship with nature. A revealing example involves some land he owned between Lexington and Roanoke.  Two years before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land  from the King.  He bought the land because it contained a remarkable feature — a 200-foot […]

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