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The Right of Nonuse



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Oxford University Press
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This is the Reprint edition with a publication date of 5/21/2013.
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  • The Right of Nonuse
    The Right of Nonuse


The Right of Nonuse provides a fresh and remarkably different perspective on the real causes of the ills plaguing the world's resources and environment. It re-examines the very nature of nature, and from this new perspective, argues that what is needed is for humans to grant to natural resources a legal right to be left alone - a right of nonuse. In the process, it explores the following questions: Why do natural resources continue to be depleted and removed at an alarming rate? Why are species becoming extinct at a pace that may be unprecedented? Why does the environment continue to be polluted? Why do the weather and climate seem to be changing? Perhaps most important, why have laws, legal institutions and governments been unable to address and correct these problems?

Jan Laitos reviews the history of our relationship with the natural environment and develops new ways of thinking about nature and its protection. Instead of proceeding with human-based goals, Laitos argues that we should protect environmental resources for their own intrinsic value. Instead of giving humans more and more rights to clean up the environment, and to halt resources depletion, a right of nonuse held by the resource itself should be created. Natural resources have always possessed this parallel nonuse function, and society should recognize and legitimize it.

Author Biography

Jan G. Laitos is the holder of the John A. Carver, Jr. Chair in Natural Resources and Environmental Law at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Previously, he was the law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, and worked in the Office of Legal Counsel for the United States Department of Justice. Jan Laitos served as Vice Chair and Commissioner on the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, and is a trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He is the author of the authoritative treatise in the property rights field entitled: Law of Property Rights (1999). He is also the author of: The Law of Hazardous Waste and Toxic Substances, 2nd ed. (2008) and Pioneers in Environmental Law (2008).

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