Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality, and the Environment / Edition 3

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Originally published in 1972, Should Trees Have Standing? Was a rallying point for the then burgeoning environmental movement, launching a worldwide debate on the basic nature of legal rights that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, more than 35 years after this remarkably influential book was published, Christopher D. Stone updates his original thesis and explores the impact his ideas have had on the courts, the academy, and society as a whole.

This enduring work continues to serve as the definitive statement as to why trees, oceans, animals, and the environment as a whole should be bestwed with legal rights, so that the voiceless elements in nature are protected for future generations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Christopher Stone's book reflects a truly original contribution to the environmental law movement. Stone's unique idea about nature and natural objects-that perhaps they should have their own rights-is now ripe to be considered seriously by policymakers. As Stone suggested decades ago, and expands upon in his new book, the time has finally come to move from an anthropocentric to an eco-centric view of the environment."
-Jan G. Laitos, John A. Carver, Jr. Professor of Law
University of Denver Sturm College of Law

"The third edition of this book of essays demonstrates that Christopher Stone's ideas are as challenging, as eye-opening, and as thought expanding as they were when he first penned his landmark work. Clearly written and cogently argued, Stone's writing succeeds in being simultaneously provocative and persuasive."
-John S. Applegate, Walter W. Foskett Professor of
Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

"The publication of Christopher D. Stone's new essay collection, Should Trees Have Standing?, could not be more timely...To his credit, Stone does not shy away from these morally and legally troublesome issues. He confronts them head-on, often at length, and even takes his best stab at resolving some of them. Although this book does not provide all the answers (nor could it), it does give the reader plenty to ponder..."
—California Lawyer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199736072
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/7/2010
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 670,555
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher D. Stone is J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law at the University of Southern California School of Law. A leading advocate for the environment, he has written for Harper's, The New York Times, The Nation, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 Should Trees Have Standing?: Toward Legal, Rights Fob Natural Objects 1

I Introduction: The Unthinkable 1

II Toward Rights for the Environment 3

III The Legal-Operational Aspects 4

(1) What It Means to Be a Holder of Legal Rights 4

(2) The Rightlessness of Natural Objects at Common Law 5

(3) Toward Having Standing in Its Own Right 8

(4) Toward Recognition of Its Own Injuries 13

(5) Toward Being a Beneficiary in Its Own Right 16

(6) Toward Rights in Substance 17

(7) Do We Really Have to Put It That Way? 22

IV The Psychic and Socio-Psychic Aspects 23

Chapter 2 Does the Climate Have Standing? 33

I The Climate as Client 33

II The Law of Standing: An Overview 35

(1) Duty Owing and Zone of Interests 37

(2) Injury in Fact 38

(3) Causation 42

(4) Redressability 43

III Standing to Force Disclosures 44

IV Standing's Many Fronts 49

(1) Ordinary Standing for "Ordinary" Economic Injury 50

(2) Rights-Based Claims 51

(3) Executive Standing in International Affairs 53

(4) Citizens' Standing to Force the Executive's Hand in Foreign Affairs 54

(5) Citizens' Standing to Force the Executive's Hand in Domestic Affairs 55

(6) Standing by a Designated Trustee 57

(7) Citizens' Standing to Force the Trustee's Hand 57

(8) Citizens' Standing without Statutory Basis (Public Trust Doctrine) 59

(9) Standing of Noncitizens 60

V Suits in the Name of Natural Objects 61

(1) Existing Law 61

(2) Could Standing for Nonhumans Be Expanded? 62

(3) Would Expanded Standing in the Name of Nonhumans Make Any Difference? 64

(4) Filing Suits on Behalf of Nature Is a Better Fit with the Real Grievances 65

(5) Suits on Behalf of Nature Are Better Suited to Moral Development 65

(6) Is Legal Representation on Behalf of Animals and Nature Really Feasible? 66

(7) The Advantages of Special, Statutorily Provided Guardians and Trustees 66

(8) The Guardian Approach May Be Superior to the Alternative Standing Strategies from the Perspective of Subsequent Preclusion Doctrines 68

(9) Advance Warning: The "Canary in the Mine" Rationale 68

(10) Protecting Third-Party Interests in Negotiations and Settlements 69

VI So, Where Do We Stand on Climate Change? 70

(1) Why Has Progress Seemed So Slow? 70

(2) What Role Could Climate-Related Litigation Play? 74

Chapter 3 Agriculture and the Environment: Challenges for the New Millennium 79

I Background 79

(1) The Historical Impact of Agriculture 79

(2) Aquaculture 80

II The Challenges 81

(1) Feeding Humanity 81

(2) Making Farmland Sustainable 82

(3) Reducing Agriculture's Environmentally Damaging Spillover Effects 82

(4) Tempering Conscription of the Nonagricultural Landscape 82

(5) The Promises and Threats of Technology 83

III Some Proposed Responses 84

(1) Sustaining Farmland 84

(2) Off-Farm Damage 85

(3) Reducing Pressure to Conscript the Nonagricultural Landscape 85

(4) Responding to Technological Innovation 87

(5) Conclusion 88

Chapter 4 Can the Oceans be Harbored? 89

I A Four-Step Plan for the Twenty-First Century 89

(1) The Fishing Sector 89

(a) The Fundamental Model: What Is Going Wrong? 90

(b) Step 1: Eliminate or Reduce Harvest-Increasing Subsidies 92

(c) Step 2: Improve and Extend Resource Management 93

(d) Step 3: Charge for Use 93

(e) Step 4: An Oceanic Trust, Fund 95

II Nonfishing Extraction Sectors 96

III Ocean Inputs 97

IV A Guardian for the Oceans 100

V Conclusion 101

Chapter 5 Should We Establish A Guardian for Future Generations? 103

I Background: The Maltese Proposal 103

(1) Are Future Persons Really Voiceless? 103

(2) For Whom (or What) Should a Guardian Speak? 104

(3) Are the Moral Arguments Disparaging the Rights of Future Generations Critical to the Guardianship Proposal? 105

(4) Which "Future Generation" Is the Guardian's Principal? 106

(5) Who Should Serve as Guardian? 106

(6) Where Should a Guardian Be Situated? 107

(7) What Official Functions Should the Guardian Serve? 108

(8) What Should Be the Guardian's Objectives? 109

(a) Resource-Regarding Standards 109

(b) Utility-Regarding Standards 110

(c) Efficient Level of Harm and Harm-Avoidance 110

(d) Precaution Against Selected Calamities and Safeguarding Specific Assets 111

(e) Avoiding "Irreversible Harm" 112

II Conclusion 112

Chapter 6 Reflections on "Sustainable Development" 115

I The Underlying Geopolitical Strains 116

II What Are Our Obligations to the Future? 117

(1) Sustainable Development as a Welfare-Transfer Constraint 118

(2) Sustainable Development as Preservationism 121

(3) The Rights of the Living 123

Chapter 7 How To Heal the Planet 125

I Introduction 125

(1) Invasion of Territories 128

(2) Who Is Responsible? 129

(3) A Voice for the Environment: Global Commons Guardians 130

(4) A Case for Seals 132

(5) Financing the Repair: The Global Commons Trust Fund 134

(6) Implementing a Global Commons Trust Fund 134

(7) The Oceans 135

(8) The Atmosphere 135

(9) Space 135

(10) Biodiversity 136

(11) Areas in Need of the Global Commons Trust Fund 137

II Conclusion 138

Chapter 8 Is Environmentalism Dead? 141

I Introduction 141

II What Movement, Exactly, Is Faltering, and What Should Our Expectations Be? 143

III Indicators of Success and Failure 144

(1) Indices of Public Knowledge: Environmental Literacy 145

(2) Indicesof Attitudes and Preferences 146

(3) Indices of Willingness to Contribute to Environmental Groups 147

(4) Indices of Environmentally-Sensitized Individual Action 147

(5) Indices of Influence on Lawmaking 149

(6) Public Sector Funding 151

(7) Litigation 151

(8) Indices of Miscellaneous Actions 152

(9) Actual (Direct) Indicators of Environmental Health 152

(10) Efficient Pollution 153

IV Self-Presentation 154

(1) Alarmism 155

(2) Image 155

V Conclusion 156

Epilogue 159

Notes 177

Index 237

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