Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-04-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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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, in the 35th anniversary edition of this remarkably influential book, 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. At the heart of the book is an eminently sensible, legally sound, and compelling argument that the environment should be granted legal rights. For the new edition, Stone explores a variety of recent cases and current events--and related topics such as climate change and protecting the oceans--providing a thoughtful survey of the past and an insightful glimpse at the future of the environmental movement. This enduring work continues to serve as the definitive statement as to why trees, oceans, animals, and the environment as a whole should be bestowed with legal rights, so that the voiceless elements in nature are protected for future generations.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Should Trees Have Standing?: Toward Legal, Rights Fob Natural Objectsp. 1
Introduction: The Unthinkablep. 1
Toward Rights for the Environmentp. 3
The Legal-Operational Aspectsp. 4
What It Means to Be a Holder of Legal Rightsp. 4
The Rightlessness of Natural Objects at Common Lawp. 5
Toward Having Standing in Its Own Rightp. 8
Toward Recognition of Its Own Injuriesp. 13
Toward Being a Beneficiary in Its Own Rightp. 16
Toward Rights in Substancep. 17
Do We Really Have to Put It That Way?p. 22
The Psychic and Socio-Psychic Aspectsp. 23
Does the Climate Have Standing?p. 33
The Climate as Clientp. 33
The Law of Standing: An Overviewp. 35
Duty Owing and Zone of Interestsp. 37
Injury in Factp. 38
Causationp. 42
Redressabilityp. 43
Standing to Force Disclosuresp. 44
Standing's Many Frontsp. 49
Ordinary Standing for "Ordinary" Economic Injuryp. 50
Rights-Based Claimsp. 51
Executive Standing in International Affairsp. 53
Citizens' Standing to Force the Executive's Hand in Foreign Affairsp. 54
Citizens' Standing to Force the Executive's Hand in Domestic Affairsp. 55
Standing by a Designated Trusteep. 57
Citizens' Standing to Force the Trustee's Handp. 57
Citizens' Standing without Statutory Basis (Public Trust Doctrine)p. 59
Standing of Noncitizensp. 60
Suits in the Name of Natural Objectsp. 61
Existing Lawp. 61
Could Standing for Nonhumans Be Expanded?p. 62
Would Expanded Standing in the Name of Nonhumans Make Any Difference?p. 64
Filing Suits on Behalf of Nature Is a Better Fit with the Real Grievancesp. 65
Suits on Behalf of Nature Are Better Suited to Moral Developmentp. 65
Is Legal Representation on Behalf of Animals and Nature Really Feasible?p. 66
The Advantages of Special, Statutorily Provided Guardians and Trusteesp. 66
The Guardian Approach May Be Superior to the Alternative Standing Strategies from the Perspective of Subsequent Preclusion Doctrinesp. 68
Advance Warning: The "Canary in the Mine" Rationalep. 68
Protecting Third-Party Interests in Negotiations and Settlementsp. 69
So, Where Do We Stand on Climate Change?p. 70
Why Has Progress Seemed So Slow?p. 70
What Role Could Climate-Related Litigation Play?p. 74
Agriculture and the Environment: Challenges for the New Millenniump. 79
Backgroundp. 79
The Historical Impact of Agriculturep. 79
Aquaculturep. 80
The Challengesp. 81
Feeding Humanityp. 81
Making Farmland Sustainablep. 82
Reducing Agriculture's Environmentally Damaging Spillover Effectsp. 82
Tempering Conscription of the Nonagricultural Landscapep. 82
The Promises and Threats of Technologyp. 83
Some Proposed Responsesp. 84
Sustaining Farmlandp. 84
Off-Farm Damagep. 85
Reducing Pressure to Conscript the Nonagricultural Landscapep. 85
Responding to Technological Innovationp. 87
Conclusionp. 88
Can the Oceans be Harbored?p. 89
A Four-Step Plan for the Twenty-First Centuryp. 89
The Fishing Sectorp. 89
The Fundamental Model: What Is Going Wrong?p. 90
Step 1: Eliminate or Reduce Harvest-Increasing Subsidiesp. 92
Step 2: Improve and Extend Resource Managementp. 93
Step 3: Charge for Usep. 93
Step 4: An Oceanic Trust, Fundp. 95
Nonfishing Extraction Sectorsp. 96
Ocean Inputsp. 97
A Guardian for the Oceansp. 100
Conclusionp. 101
Should We Establish A Guardian for Future Generations?p. 103
Background: The Maltese Proposalp. 103
Are Future Persons Really Voiceless?p. 103
For Whom (or What) Should a Guardian Speak?p. 104
Are the Moral Arguments Disparaging the Rights of Future Generations Critical to the Guardianship Proposal?p. 105
Which "Future Generation" Is the Guardian's Principal?p. 106
Who Should Serve as Guardian?p. 106
Where Should a Guardian Be Situated?p. 107
What Official Functions Should the Guardian Serve?p. 108
What Should Be the Guardian's Objectives?p. 109
Resource-Regarding Standardsp. 109
Utility-Regarding Standardsp. 110
Efficient Level of Harm and Harm-Avoidancep. 110
Precaution Against Selected Calamities and Safeguarding Specific Assetsp. 111
Avoiding "Irreversible Harm"p. 112
Conclusionp. 112
Reflections on "Sustainable Development"p. 115
The Underlying Geopolitical Strainsp. 116
What Are Our Obligations to the Future?p. 117
Sustainable Development as a Welfare-Transfer Constraintp. 118
Sustainable Development as Preservationismp. 121
The Rights of the Livingp. 123
How To Heal the Planetp. 125
Introductionp. 125
Invasion of Territoriesp. 128
Who Is Responsible?p. 129
A Voice for the Environment: Global Commons Guardiansp. 130
A Case for Sealsp. 132
Financing the Repair: The Global Commons Trust Fundp. 134
Implementing a Global Commons Trust Fundp. 134
The Oceansp. 135
The Atmospherep. 135
Spacep. 135
Biodiversityp. 136
Areas in Need of the Global Commons Trust Fundp. 137
Conclusionp. 138
Is Environmentalism Dead?p. 141
Introductionp. 141
What Movement, Exactly, Is Faltering, and What Should Our Expectations Be?p. 143
Indicators of Success and Failurep. 144
Indices of Public Knowledge: Environmental Literacyp. 145
Indicesof Attitudes and Preferencesp. 146
Indices of Willingness to Contribute to Environmental Groupsp. 147
Indices of Environmentally-Sensitized Individual Actionp. 147
Indices of Influence on Lawmakingp. 149
Public Sector Fundingp. 151
Litigationp. 151
Indices of Miscellaneous Actionsp. 152
Actual (Direct) Indicators of Environmental Healthp. 152
p. 153
Self-Presentationp. 154
Alarmismp. 155
Imagep. 155
Conclusionp. 156
Epiloguep. 159
Notesp. 177
Indexp. 237
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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