Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights, and the Law of the Commons

Overview

The vast majority of the world's scientists agree: we have reached a point in history where we are in grave danger of destroying Earth's life-sustaining capacity. But our attempts to protect natural ecosystems are increasingly ineffective because our very conception of the problem is limited; we treat "the environment” as its own separate realm, taking for granted prevailing but outmoded conceptions of economics, national sovereignty, and international law. Green Governance is a direct response to the mounting ...
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Green Governance

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Overview

The vast majority of the world's scientists agree: we have reached a point in history where we are in grave danger of destroying Earth's life-sustaining capacity. But our attempts to protect natural ecosystems are increasingly ineffective because our very conception of the problem is limited; we treat "the environment” as its own separate realm, taking for granted prevailing but outmoded conceptions of economics, national sovereignty, and international law. Green Governance is a direct response to the mounting calls for a paradigm shift in the way humans relate to the natural environment. It opens the door to a new set of solutions by proposing a compelling new synthesis of environmental protection based on broader notions of economics and human rights and on commons-based governance. Going beyond speculative abstractions, the book proposes a new architecture of environmental law and public policy that is as practical as it is theoretically sound.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"When a vital body of existing policy and law has run its course, the need for reinvention becomes urgent. So it is with environmental law and policy. It is therefore exciting that two enormously well-informed and creative thinkers, Burns Weston and David Bollier, have joined forces to produce this breakthrough in environmental governance. Their book is a landmark in our thinking about rights-based environmentalism and the law of the commons and how these fields can combine in a powerful synthesis. We must take these ideas very seriously indeed. Highly recommended.”
-- James Gustave Speth, Former Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Professor of Law, Vermont Law School

"This indispensable book, written with passion and a sense of urgency, responds creatively and convincingly to the greatest ecological threat that has ever faced the human species. Relying on their profound knowledge of environmental issues, law, and human rights, Burns Weston and David Bollier brilliantly depict and propose a drastically new paradigm of governance that has the potential to save the peoples of the world from a catastrophic future. Their proposal is a major scholarly addition to the climate change literature that deserves the widest possible readership."
-- Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

“This important new work by Burns Weston and David Bollier transcends any narrow categorization with the wide range of disciplines and knowledge it reflects. The authors creatively re-think how to understand and respond to the critical challenge of halting destruction of the Earth’s rapidly degrading ecosystems, a threat to the very survival of humankind. Combining economics, emergence of the Internet, international law, and human rights into a new approach of commons-based green governance, the book is at the same time a profound and practical framework for how everyone in the present can help to preserve the future.”
-- Dinah Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of Law, the George Washington University Law School

“Burns Weston and David Bollier have written a bold, imaginative and ambitious book. The planet is in peril and its capacity to sustain life under threat. Market economics, international law and state sovereignty have all failed us. A new approach is needed and that lies in a twin approach: a rights based governance system for the Earth’s resources and development of an ecological commons template for environmental management. The book is well researched and closely argued. It deserves our rapt attention in the struggle to find a way through.”
-- Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Former Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment, New Zealand

“This book is a tour de force. Bold and visionary, yet intensely practical, this book transforms the "tragedy of the commons" to the promise of the commons. At a time when leading voices call for a paradigm shift in how humans live and organize their economic behavior, this book actually tells us what that shift could look like, and how to begin it. It is a game-changer, a must-read for anyone concerned with the future of the planet.”
-- Mary Christina Wood, Philip H. Knight Professor, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, University of Oregon School of Law

"The ecological crisis is first and foremost a problem of governance and Green Governance is by far the best summary of the issues and solutions that I've read. It is a brilliant and visionary book that is also practical. Its message is that we must learn to wisely manage in common what we have in common: our Earth, our future, and each other."
-- David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Executive Director of The Oberlin Project, Oberlin College

"Our well-oiled coal-fired governments have failed to protect the rights of young people and future generations. The best hope for young people, and other life on the planet, may be the judiciary, presumably less influenced by fossil fuel money. Weston and Bollier provide a valuable perspective on how that may be possible."
-- James Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107415447
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/20/2014
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 1,105,316
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Burns H. Weston is the Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Senior Scholar of the Center for Human Rights at the University of Iowa. A long-time - now honorary - member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, he has authored and co-authored many books and articles, especially in international human rights and related international law fields. He is known as an 'engaged scholar' and for his activism and scholarship bridging human rights and environmental law, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by Vermont Law School in 2009.

David Bollier is an author, activist and independent scholar of the commons. He is co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group; co-founder of Public Knowledge, a Washington DC advocacy group for the public's stake in copyright and Internet policies; and Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center. Bollier won the Bosch Prize for Public Policy at the American Academy in Berlin in 2012.

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Table of Contents

1. Trends that point toward a new synthesis; 2. The human right to a clean and healthy environment; 3. The quest for a new rights-based pathway; 4. Making the conceptual transition to the new paradigm; 5. The commons as a model for ecological governance; 6. The rise of the commons movement globally; 7. Imagining a new architecture of law and policy to support the ecological commons; 8. Catalytic strategies for achieving green governance.
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