Culture & Ethics

What Is An “Environmental” Lawyer?

No side of the profession should have a monopoly on the term

My post last week on renaming “environmental” law to “resources” law greatly peeved a number of private bar attorneys, who thought I was impugning their entire side of the practice. My post clearly played into some longstanding tension and defensiveness (no pun intended) about this issue. These attorneys believe that even though they may represent […]

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Happy Birthday, Yosemite–and California’s State Parks System

The Core of Yosemite National Park, & California's First State Park, Were Created 150 Years Ago

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of what we now know as Yosemite National Park.  It’s also the sesquicentennial anniversary of California’s State Parks System.  The two events are, in fact, inextricably related.  And how they occurred is a noteworthy and truly inspirational story. In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, […]

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Only You

Happy birthday to the federal government’s most recognizable environmental advocate

The U.S. Forest Service is a key actor in a lot of environmental and land use policy decisions. It oversees the national forests and handles various research and conservation efforts. The Service is a common defendant in environmental suits, often as a result of its substantial permitting duties. But what USFS is best known for […]

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Celebrate Earth Day By Destroying The Planet!

Is It Possible To Have A Holiday Without Going Shopping?

The first e-mail in my inbox this morning was from a regional pharmacy chain, advertising “Great Earth Day Savings!” That seemed to me to be a little ironic: celebrate by the planet by consuming as much as you can! It isn’t alone. Just Google “Earth Day Shopping” and you’ll get hundreds of hits.  Now, obviously, […]

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George Kennan and the Environment: With Friends Like These…

One Cannot Divorce His Environmentalism From His Racism

Last year, I read John Lewis Gaddis’ magisterial biography of George F. Kennan, one of the prime architects of American Cold War policy and a distinguished foreign policy intellectual. I was surprised — and not a little pleased — to learn from that book that Kennan was something of a pioneering environmentalist, thinking about these issues […]

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The Missing of Summer Lawns*

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It's Time to End the Wasteful Practice of Irrigating California's Residential Landscaping With Fresh Water

What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns […]

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How Legalizing Marijuana Could Help Fight Climate Change

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The link between indoor grow operations and energy data

Now that the two states that just legalized marijuana sent their football teams to the Superbowl this year, it’s clear that the stars are aligning for legalizing marijuana nationwide. Sure, legalizing marijuana makes fiscal, moral, and practical sense, but what about the benefits to the environment? Well, it turns out that even the fight against […]

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What Martin Luther King DIDN’T Say

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Issues like the environment and animal rights weren't on his radar screen.

Since tomorrow is Martin Luther King day, I was curious about whether Dr. King had ever said anything about the environment.  When I did a google search, this quotation popped up over and over again: “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. […]

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Conspiracy!

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Even as conspiracy theories go, the

Some members of Congress — not to mention any number of bloggers — think climate change is a hoax.  Most famously, Senator Inhofe has said: With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American […]

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The Rhetoric of Cap and Trade

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Different ways of framing the concept of cap and trade help drive the public debate.

Discussions of cap and trade tend to frame it in various ways, which often skews the debate.  These different frameworks guide the thoughts of both supporters and critics, sometimes in surprising ways.  There are four different ways to talk about cap and trade, and they tend to lead the debate in very different directions. The […]

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