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Environmental law has failed in its most basic purpose. Even as ecosystems collapse across the globe and climate crisis intensifies, environmental agencies worldwide use their authority to permit the very harm that statutes were passed to prevent.
This book exposes the dysfunction of environmental law and offers a transformative approach based on the public trust doctrine. An ancient and enduring principle, the public trust doctrine empowers citizens to protect their inalienable property rights to crucial resources. It holds government to a fiduciary obligation to protect such natural assets as generational inheritance for all citizens. Although the public trust has long offered a theoretical ideal for environmental law, until now it has lacked the precision necessary for citizens, government employees, legislators, educators, and judges to apply it to a broad realm of issues. This book shows how a trust principle can apply from the local to global level to protect the planet.