“We urgently require an economic system that prioritizes ecological sustainability, just distribution and obligations to future generations…” (p.11), writes New Economy Law Center Fellow Joshua Farley in the introduction to a new book on ecological economics. In Beyond Uneconomic Growth, Farley provides an introductory synopsis on why a new economic system – inspired by Herman Daly’s ecological economic principles – is needed to avoid complete ecosystem collapse. Another New Economy Law Center Fellow, Peter G. Brown, concludes the volume with an ethical perspective that positions humans as participants in, rather than masters of, the larger ecological community.
Joshua Farley and Deepak Malghan (ed.) Beyond Uneconomic Growth: Economics, Equity and the Ecological Predicament, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016, http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/eep/preview/book/isbn/9781783472499/
Gus Speth, co-founder of the New Economy Law Center and co-chair of the Next System Project, announced a new edition in NSP’s “New Systems: Possibilities and Proposals” series. The four models highlighted in Volume Five of the series include the “Economy for the Common Good (ECG),” Paul Raskin’s vision of “Earthland,” Michael Shuman’s “The Promise of a Million Utopias,” and a vision for Community Economies. Economy for the Common Good founder Christian Felber visited the Vermont Law School campus last September to present his model in an event organized by NELC, part of Felber’s U.S. book tour. To read more about this tour and other ECG happenings, check out the newly launched International ECG Newsletter. To learn more about ECG and other political-economic alternatives, see the link below.
“New System Series: Volume Five,” Next System Project, February 28, 2017
In response to President Trump’s executive orders giving the go ahead to controversial pipelines Dakota Access and Keystone XL, New Economy Law Center Fellows Annie Leonard and Bill McKibben insisted the grassroots resistance would continue. See below for article, which quotes Leonard and McKibben at the end.
Dakota Access Pipeline protest in front of TD Bank in Montpelier, VT
Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin. “Trump signs orders advancing Keystone XL, Dakota Access oil pipelines,” Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2017, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-trump-dakota-keystone-pipeline-20170124-story.html
New Economy Law Center Fellow and leading public trust doctrine advocate, Prof. Mary Wood of University of Oregon, reflects on the federal youth climate change lawsuit Juliana v. United States that now will be headed to trial. Wood explains the constitutional claim and cruel irony of this case, its importance in the context of a Trump administration, and what President Obama could still do before leaving office.
Mary Wood. “Earth on the docket: Why Obama can’t ignore this climate lawsuit by America’s youth,” The Conversation, December 15, 2016.
New Economy Law Center co-founder, Gus Speth, and colleagues at the Next System Project discuss the necessity and challenges of moving beyond the current political economy towards a more just, democratic, and sustainable system. In the following working paper presented during the recent “After Fossil Fuels: The Next Economy” conference in Oberlin, Ohio, they identify the nature and key drivers of our systemic crisis and insist that what must be changed is “at the level of the basic institutional design of the political-economic system itself.”
Gar Alperovitz et al. “Systemic Crisis and Systemic Change in the United States in the 21st Century,” The Next System Project, September 2016, http://thenextsystem.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NSPOberlin-final.pdf
In the following article, NELC Fellow Linda Sheehan explains why the current approach to environmental protection is failing, and how recognizing our relationship with the natural world and nature’s inherent right in law can be a transformative remedy.
Linda Sheehan, Implementing Rights of Nature Through Sustainability Bills of Rights, 13 NZ J. Pub. & Int’l L. 89 (2015).
In August the United Nations General Assembly issued a summary report based on a UN-initiated virtual dialogue among experts in Earth jurisprudence with regards to advancing global sustainability in harmony with nature. The dialogue focused on aligning human governance systems with an Earth-centered perspective. Experts discussed developments and recommendations for doing so across eight disciplines, including: Earth-centered law; ecological economics; education; holistic science; the humanities; philosophy and ethics; the arts, media, design and architecture; and theology and spirituality.
Read the full report here – http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/71/266
Several NELC Fellows participated in the virtual dialogue. Linda Sheehan offered her expertise in Earth-centered law, while Peter Brown and Joshua Farley contributed input in the area of ecological economics. See below for their individual pieces.
Linda Sheehan – http://www.harmonywithnatureun.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/DialogueInputs/LindaSheehan.EarthLaw.pdf
Peter Brown – http://www.harmonywithnatureun.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/DialogueInputs/PeterG.Brown.EcologicalEconomics.pdf
Joshua Farley – http://www.harmonywithnatureun.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/DialogueInputs/JoshuaFarley.EcologicalEconomics.pdf
In this paper produced for the Next System Project, NELC Associate Fellow David Bollier introduces the commons as a social paradigm capable of transcending the current oppressive system. In particular, Bollier examines the commons as an alternative to the neoliberal political economy and presents a commoning vision and approach for achieving a more ecologically sustainable and humane society.
New Zealand is taking bold steps to evolve its legal system by recognizing “legal personhood” status and rights for natural systems, including rivers and forests. Arising from agreements to settle treaty violations with indigenous Maori, the recognition of the Te Urewera Forest and the Whanganui River as legal entities is a growing approach (following related efforts in Ecuador and elsewhere) for shifting law towards a more ethical, eco-centric standard.
“In New Zealand, Lands and Rivers Can Be People (Legally Speaking),” The New York Times, July 13, 2016
Click through to read the article, “A Radical Alliance of Black and Green
Could Save the World” by James Gustave Speth and J. Philip Thomson III, in The Nation, April 14, 2016.