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Laws of nature, Environmental policies, Models of nature, Right to human survival, Duty to promote natural systems

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Sturm College of Law


A truly workable environmental strategy would start by being grounded in better, more realistic and empirically accurate models of how nature works, how humans behave, and humankind's relationship to nature. Such an environmental policy would realize that the gardener and the garden are not separate, but one. And this environmental policy would embrace two correlative legal norms: (1) we should recognize a positive right, held by both humans and their natural surroundings, to environmental conditions that may sustain human survivability'; and (2) we should impose an affirmative duty on humans to promote and support natural systems.

Publication Statement

Originally published as Jan G. Laitos & Juliana E. Okulski, The Gardener and the Sick Garden: How Not to Address the Planet's Environmental Issues, 45 ENVTL. L. REP. News & Analysis 10391 (2015).

Several of the ideas presented in this Dialogue are considered, in a much expanded version, in the authors' book: Why Environmental Policies Fail (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2017).

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