Anticipating modern environmental views, Jefferson viewed nature as a public trust.
Saturday being the Fourth of July, it seems appropriate to think about how the author of the Declaration of Independence felt about nature. A revealing example involves some land Jefferson owned between Lexington and Roanoke, which he sought to preserve. Two years before the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land from the …CONTINUE READING
Five books with fresh perspectives on environmental issues.
Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books. I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile. The subjects …CONTINUE READING
Not As Much As We Should
If you are not a regular reader of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, you should be. Most economists fetishize what my friend and colleague Steve Bainbridge refers to accurately as “recreational mathematics.” But often, these models add more heat than light, and in any event, function as a private language. Fortunately enough, JEP’s magician-editor Timothy …CONTINUE READING
New UCLA Law Review Article Attempts To Connect It To Community Legal Empowerment
I have a new piece out in the UCLA Law Review Discourse. Here’s the abstract: This Article considers Gitanjali Nain Gill’s recent book Environmental Justice in India, the first comprehensive look at India’s National Green Tribunal. India’s environmental crisis—major international surveys highlight its severe environmental degradation—is of interest to the global public, for no progress on …CONTINUE READING
New Research Indicates That Inclusionary Zoning Should Accompany Liberalization
Well, that’s not what YIMBYs wanted. Yonah Freemark of MIT in the Urban Affairs Review: What are the local-level impacts of zoning change? I study recent Chicago upzonings that increased allowed densities and reduced parking requirements in a manner exogenous of development plans and neighborhood characteristics. To evaluate outcomes, I use difference-in-differences tests on property …CONTINUE READING
The odds against the “children’s case” are bad and getting worse. But there’s a valid insight at its core.
Juliana v. United States, often called the “children’s case,” is an imaginative effort to make the federal government responsible for its role in promoting the production and use of fossil fuels and its failure to control carbon emissions. They ask the court to “declare the United States’ current environmental policy infringes their fundamental rights, direct the …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
New survey probes the innovation deficit
Climate change and population growth are rapidly increasing stress on our water systems, challenging their ability to deliver critical services. To respond to this, we need more than simple course adjustments in how we manage our water – we need entirely new paradigms that will improve resource efficiency and support more sustainable urban water systems. Considerable …CONTINUE READING
A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity
As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? …CONTINUE READING
David Mitchell’s Masterpiece Provides a Perfect Epigraph — and Epitaph — for Environmentalism
A few weeks ago, I finished reading David Mitchell’s magnificent Cloud Atlas, a few months after seeing the still-excellent but-not-as-magnificent movie based upon it. The novel comprises a series of linked stories ranging from the mid-19th century to a post-apocalyptic future 300 years in the future. And that last story, profound and heartbreaking, tells us …CONTINUE READING