April 20, 2023: Mary Wood: Environmental Law & the Defense of Nature
As ecosystems collapse and the climate emergency intensifies, the government often uses its authority to allow the very harm that it is supposed to prevent. Sound crazy? It is. The granting of permits is a battleground where corporations, with their oodles of money to buy influence, have the upper hand over nature. In the face of corporate greed and the enormity of the climate crisis we need action now before it is too late. An ancient and enduring principle is the trust doctrine. It asserts public property rights to crucial resources such as forests, rivers, minerals, and fisheries. Its core logic compels government, as trustee, to protect nature and to safeguard the resources we rely on for survival. UN Secretary-General Guterres says, “We must end the merciless, relentless, senseless war on nature.” Amen to that.