Climate science and policy is under attack from the new Trump administration, but this assault faces a legal roadblock in the form of a group of young plaintiffs asserting their right to a livable climate. The landmark case Juliana v. U.S. survived a motion to dismiss and is now proceeding to what observers expect to be “the trial of the century” this summer of fall. In the following piece featured in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Top Ten Watch List 2017, Professor and New Economy Law Center co-founder Melissa Scanlan examines the legal questions in this case, including constitutional and public trust claims.
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 co-founder Gus Speth, a longtime environmental “insider,” calls for a transformative new approach to environmentalism that works outside the current toxic political-economic system. On October 20, 2016 he delivered the annual David Sive Memorial Lecture on Environmental Law at Columbia Law School, arguing that system change is necessary because “environmental problems are rooted in defining features of the current political economy.” See link below for the full video of his talk.
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.
Can the current profit-driven, exclusive and gentrified housing market give way to a limited equity, inclusive and affordable model of homeownership? New Economy Law Center Fellow, Janelle Orsi (Director of Sustainable Economies Law Center), explores this question in the following blog post that encourages us to consider “a different model of property ownership” in alignment with new economy objectives.
“Chase it down and read it!” is what New Economy Law Center Fellow, David Bollier, advises in regards to a recently published (Sept. 2015) new economy book by British design expert John Thackara. From establishment of a “food commons” to bioregionalist redesign of urban landscapes, Thackara’s How to Thrive in the Next Economy illustrates emerging examples of what life in a more socially responsible, environmentally sustainable economic system might look like. See below to read Bollier’s full review.
David Bollier, “John Thackara’s Intimate Tour of the Emerging New Economy,” October 5, 2016, http://bollier.org/blog/john-thackara%E2%80%99s-intimate-tour-emerging-new-economy
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
The movement to create an “economy for the common good” has officially reached the United States. Austrian author and alternative economic advocate, Christian Felber, who started the movement five years ago, recently completed a U.S. tour to introduce the concept and initiate partnerships. The New Economy Law Center at Vermont Law School hosted him on September 20, 2016. During his time here, he met with community leaders from the Building a Local Economy (BALE) center and he presented an evening talk on campus. Click the link below to read the full report of his U.S. tour.
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.
Paul Raskin of the Great Transition Initiative explores several scenarios regarding the future of human civilization in a new book titled “Journey to Earthland: The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization.” In doing so, he offers hope for a global transformation of our destructive system, driven by a global citizens movement. According to NELC Fellow and co-founder Gus Speth, building this powerful, bottom-up movement “should move rapidly to the top of our collective priority list.” Speth praises Raskin’s latest work, calling it “a stirring guide to a world that works.” To read Speth’s reflective piece in its entirety, see below.
Gus Speth, “Reflection on ‘Journey to Earthland,’” Great Transition Initiative (October 2016) http://www.greattransition.org/publication/jte-reflections-speth