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Sturm College of Law


Principle of Universality, Utilitarian science, Law of symmetry, Economy of means


This Article makes the case that for environmental laws to succeed, they must reflect and conform to the universal scientific truths of nature. The mantra for policymakers is simple: successful environmental laws, as well as the policies that structure and cabin these laws, should adhere to the fundamental laws of the natural world and our biosphere. What are these universal truths? What laws, or rules, do physical, biological, and chemical systems all follow? Scientists have begun to unravel nature’s secrets, the principles which all natural phenomena obey, and which comprise nature’s master plan. This Article urges that our environmental policies should closely follow the basic workings that nature employs, which resonate throughout all the operating systems of the universe.

Publication Statement

Originally published as Jan G. Laitos, How Science Has Influenced, but Should Now Determine, Environmental Policy, 43 WM. & MARY ENVTL. L. & POL'y REV. 759 (2019).

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