Politics, Environment, and Sustainability Chapter 24
Core Case Study: Rescuing a River • 1960sa: Nashua River, Massachusetts, U.S. • Marion Stoddard: Spearheaded the cleanup of the river • How did she do it? • Still clean after 40 years
24-1 The Role of Government in the Transition to More Sustainable Societies • Concept 24-1 A government can help to protect environmental and public interests and help to encourage more environmentally sustainable economic development through its policies.
Government Can Serve Environmental and Other Public Interests (1) • Balance between government intervention and free enterprise • Is the government the best mechanism to deal with • Full-cost pricing • Market failures • The tragedy of the commons
Government Can Serve Environmental and Other Public Interests (2) • Policies and politics • Environmental policy • Policy life cycle: 4 stages • Recognition • Formulation • Implementation • Control
Recognition Identify the problem Nonpoint-source water pollution Indoor air pollution Electronic waste Mining wastes Control Monitor and adjust Formulation Look for solutions Groundwater contamination Environmentally harmful subsidies Outdoor air pollution Global warming Exclusion of environmentally harmful costs from market prices Sewage treatment problems Urban sprawl Drinking water pollution Nuclear wastes Point-source water pollution Biodiversity losses Implementation Implement solutions Municipal solid waste Toxic wastes Some infectious diseases Aquifer depletion Acid deposition Ozone depletion Municipal solid waste Endangered species Pest damage Soil erosion Fig. 24-2, p. 636
Recognition Identify the problem Nonpoint-source water pollution Indoor air pollution Electronic waste Mining wastes Control Monitor and adjust Formulation Look for solutions Groundwater contamination Environmentally harmful subsidies Outdoor air pollution Global warming Sewage treatment problems Urban sprawl Drinking water pollution Nuclear wastes Point-source water pollution Biodiversity losses Implementation Implement solutions Municipal solid waste Toxic wastes Some infectious diseases Aquifer depletion Acid deposition Ozone depletion Municipal solid waste Endangered species Pest damage Soil erosion Exclusion of environmentally harmful costs from market prices Stepped Art Fig. 24-2, p. 636
Democracy Does Not Always Allow for Quick Solutions (1) • Democracy • United States • Constitutional democracy • Three branches of government • Legislative • Executive • Judicial
Democracy Does Not Always Allow for Quick Solutions (2) • Special-interest groups pressure the government • Profit-making organizations • Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) • Politicians focus on problems with short-term effects, not long-term
Certain Principles Can Guide Us in Making Environmental Policy (1) • The humility principle • The reversibility principle • The precautionary principle • The net energy principle • The preventive principle
Certain Principles Can Guide Us in Making Environmental Policy (2) • The polluter-pays principle • The public access and participation principle • The human rights principle • The environmental justice principle • How will these principles be implemented?
24-2 How Is Environmental Policy Made? (1) • Concept 24-2A Policy making involves law making, program funding, rule writing, and enforcement of rules by agencies—a complex process that is affected at each stage by political processes.
24-2 How Is Environmental Policy Made? (2) • Concept 24-2B Individuals can work with each other to become part of political processes that influence how environmental policies are made and whether or not they succeed. (Individuals matter.)
How Democratic Government Works: The U.S. Model • Three branches • Legislative branch • Executive branch • Judicial branch • Develop and implement policy • Laws, regulation, and funding • Lobbying
Individuals, Corporations, Environmental Organizations, U.S. Government Interact
Laws Courts Legislative branch Executive branch Regulators Lobbyists Lobbyists Public hearing Civil suits Environmental organizations Corporations and small businesses Patronize or boycott Membership support Individuals Purchase recyclable, recycled, and environmentally safe products Use mass transit, walk, ride a bike, or carpool Recycle cans, bottles, paper, and plastic Plant a garden Donate clothes and used goods to charities Use water, energy, and other resources efficiently Fig. 24-3, p. 639
Major Environmental Laws and Amended Versions Enacted in the U.S. Since 1969
Developing Environmental Policy Is a Controversial Process • Funding needed • Regulations and rules needed to implement the law • Policy: important role in environmental regulatory agencies
Case Study: Managing Public Lands in the United States—Politics in Action (1) • 35% of the U.S., ¾ in Alaska • Federal public land • National Forest System • National Resource Land • National Wildlife Refuges • National Park System • National Wilderness Preservation System
Case Study: Managing Public Lands in the United States—Politics in Action (2) • Public land use • Views of conservation biologists and environmental economists • Views of developers, resource extractors, and many economists • Since 2002: greater extraction of mineral, timber, and fossil fuel resources on public lands
Natural Capital: National Forest, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, U.S.
National parks and preserves National forests (and Xs) National wildlife refuges Fig. 24-5, p. 641
Science Focus: Logging in U.S. National Forests Is Controversial • U.S. national forests managed by • Principle of sustainable yield • Principles of multiple use • Timber cutting loses money • Recreation, hunting, and fishing in the forests makes money and jobs
Individuals Can Influence Environmental Policy • Individuals matter • 2007: Chinese citizens opposed construction of a chemical plant • Mobile phone text messaging spread the word • “Think globally; act locally”
Global Outlook: Children in Turin, Italy, Protesting High Levels of Air Pollution
Environmental Leaders Can Make a Big Difference • Lead by example • Campaign and vote for informed and eco-friendly candidates • Run for local office • Propose and work for better solutions to environmental problems
24-3 What Is the Role of Environmental Law in Dealing with Environmental Problems? • Concept 24-3 Environmental laws and regulations can be used to control pollution, set safety standards, encourage resource conservation, and protect species and ecosystems.
Environmental Law Forms the Basis for Environmental Policy (1) • Environmental law • Body of law • Statutory laws • Administrative laws • Common law • Legal concept of nuisance or negligence
Environmental Law Forms the Basis for Environmental Policy (2) • Most environmental lawsuits are civil suits • Plaintiff • Defendant • Class action suit
Open Ditch Containing Acid Runoff from a Closed Coal Mine In W. Virginia, U.S.
Environmental Lawsuits Are Difficult to Win (1) • Has the plaintiff suffered health or financial problems? • Very expensive • Public interest law firms: usually can’t recover attorney’s fees • Have you been harmed and did the company cause the harm?
Environmental Lawsuits Are Difficult to Win (2) • Statutes of limitation • Appeals: years to settle • Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) • Major reforms are needed
Individuals Matter: Diane Wilson • 1989: Lavaca, Bay, TX, U.S. • Hg superfund site • Sued Formosa Plastics • Author and activist for environmental and social justice
Arbitration and Mediation Are Alternatives to Battling in Court • Arbitration • Can save time, money, and the uncertainly of a jury trial • Mediation • Can save money and time • May not be legally binding
Major Types of Environmental Laws in the United States (1) • Set standards for pollution levels • Screens new substances • Encourages resource conservation
Major Types of Environmental Laws in the United States (2) • Sets aside or protects certain species, resources, and ecosystems • Requires evaluation of the environmental impact of an activity proposed by a federal agency
U.S. Environmental Laws and Regulations Have Been under Attack (1) • Who is opposing the U.S. environmental laws? • Some corporate leaders and other powerful people • Some citizens • Some state and local officials • Why are the opposition?
U.S. Environmental Laws and Regulations Have Been under Attack (2) • Since 2000, environmental laws weakened by executive orders and congressional actions • Prevent further weakening by • Science-based education • Education about the current state of the environmental laws • Organized bottom-up political pressure from concerned citizens
24-4 What Are the Major Roles of Environmental Groups? • Concept 24-4 Grassroots groups are growing and combining efforts with large environmental organizations in a global sustainability movement.
Citizen Environmental Groups Play Important Roles • Nonprofit nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working at all levels • International • National • State • Local • Grassroots groups to organizations • Examples of NGOs and their global policy networks
Case Study: The Natural Resources Defense Council (1) • NRDC • Goes to court to stop environmentally harmful practices • Informs and organizes millions of environmental activists to take actions to protect the environment • Website, magazines, and newspapers
Case Study: The Natural Resources Defense Council (2) • BioGems Network • 2005: Blocked the EPA from finalizing “blending” proposal • 2001: Protect vast area of Great Bear Rainforest from logging
Grassroots Environmental Groups Bring about Change from the Bottom Up • Global sustainability movement • Conservation land trusts • Effect on Home Depot and Lowe’s lumber • Citigroup, Bank of America, and J P Morgan Chase: more eco-friendly
Individuals Matter: Butterfly in a Redwood Tree • Julia Hill: Nonviolent civil disobedience • 2 Years in a redwood tree, named Luna • Protested cutting down these ancient trees • Did not save the surrounding forest • Her message: protect biodiversity
Students and Educational Institutions Can Play Important Environmental Roles • Student pressure on campuses to carry out environmental audits • Since June 2007, 458 university presidents add no additional CO2 emissions to their campuses • Arizona State University: Global Institute for Sustainability • Berea College, KY: Ecovillage apartments
Science Focus: Greening American Campuses • Accomplishments of environmental audits by students at American colleges and universities • Specific examples • Morris A. Pierce: energy management plan • Oberlin College, OH: nation’s greenest college • Northland College, WI: “green” residence hall • Buying local and organic food • Yale University, CT • Santa Clara University, CA • Dartmouth, NH: bus fueled by waste cooking oil