Sturm College of Law
Natural resources, Right of nonuse, Species extinction, Environmental pollution
The Right of Nonuse provides a fresh and remarkably different perspective on the real causes of the ills plaguing the world's resources and environment. It reexamines the very nature of nature, and from this new perspective, argues that what is needed is for humans to grant to natural resources a legal right to be left alone - a right of nonuse. In the process, it explores the following questions: Why do natural resources continue to be depleted and removed at an alarming rate? Why are species becoming extinct at a pace that may be unprecedented? Why does the environment continue to be polluted? Why do the weather and climate seem to be changing? Perhaps most important, why have laws, legal institutions and governments been unable to address and correct these problems?
Jan Laitos reviews the history of our relationship with the natural environment and develops new ways of thinking about nature and its protection. Instead of proceeding with human-based goals, Laitos argues that we should protect environmental resources for their own intrinsic value. Instead of giving humans more and more rights to clean up the environment, and to halt resources depletion, a right of nonuse held by the resource itself should be created. Natural resources have always possessed this parallel nonuse function, and society should recognize and legitimize it.
Jan G. Laitos, The Right of Nonuse (2012).