Politics, Environment, and Sustainability


9 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

75 εμφανίσεις

Politics, Environment, and Sustainability

By: Claire
, Emily Peters,


and Kristen

A Woman Happily

Government’s Impact on the

revent companies from

in environmentally harmful activities

Excessive involvement can destroy
business enterprise and innovation

Not enough involvement could lead to
social injustices and environmental

Free Enterprise

Free Enterprise
: Change that leads to new
technologies, products, and opportunities
for profits

Pro: Leads to higher living standards

Con: Creates harmful impacts on other
people and on the environment

“Government is the best mechanism for dealing
with some of the broader economic and political

Cost Pricing
: Governments can create
subsidies and levy taxes to require inclusion
of harmful environmental and health costs in
the market prices of some goods and services

Market Failures
: Government can create
subsidies and levy taxes to ensure equality
amongst all businesses

Tragedy of the Commons
: Government
controls the preservation of common access
renewable resources

Policy Life Cycle

Recognition: Identify a problem

Formulation: Identify specific causes of
the problem and develop a solution

Implementation: Put the solution into

Control: Monitor progress and make
adaptations as needed

Evaluated according to feedback from
market or environment

Environmental Policy Making

Humanity Principle: Human impact on the
environment is limited.

Reversibility Principle: Avoid irreversible

Precautionary Principle: Precautionary
measures should be taken with any
threatening factors.

Net Energy Principle: Avoid widespread use of
energy alternatives with low net energy yields.

Prevention Principle: Make decisions that
prevent a problem from becoming worse.

Environmental Policy Making

Pay Principle: Polluters should have to
pay for the pollution and wastes they produce
through taxes and regulations.

Public Access and Participation Principle: Citizens
should have access to environmental data and be
able to participate in environmental policies.

Human Rights Principle: All humans have the
right to live in an environment that doesn't

t harm
their health.

Environmental Justice Principle: Policies should
be created in a way that no one has to be
burdened by pollution or environmental

Environmental Leaders’

Lead by Example: Use our own values
and practices as an example for others.

Work with the Current
conomic and
ystems: Vote for eco

Local Office: Those running can introduce
friendly policies.

Solutions to Environmental Problems:
Citizens can introduce eco
friendly ideas
as well.

Environmental Policy

Statutory Laws
: Those that are developed
and passed by legislative bodies i.e. federal
and state governments

Administrative Laws
: Those that consist of
administrative rules and regulations,
executive orders, and enforcement decisions
related to implementation and interpretation
of statutory law

Common Law
: Unwritten rules and principles
based on widely accepted norms within a

Environmental Policy

Most environmental lawsuits are civil suits

Plaintiff v. Defendant

Individuals settling a dispute between one another

Class Action
: Civil suits filed by groups on
behalf of a large number of people who have
experienced the same damages

Suits are often filed for nuisance or negligence

Nuisance: One’s property causes harm or annoyance
to another

Negligence: Damage is caused purposefully, illegally,
and unreasonably

Difficulties in Winning

Environmental Lawsuits

Lawsuits are difficult to establish

Plaintiffs may struggle to come up with legal
standing, which is necessary to proceed

Lawsuits can be very expensive, especially when
they involve major environmental issues

In many cases, expenses for lawsuits (such as
attorney fees) cannot be paid for by public
interest law firms

Large companies can count legal fees as tax
deductions, effectively gaining a subsidy for their
lawsuit expenses

This makes it very difficult for ordinary people to
file a claim against large corporations

Difficulties in Winning

Environmental Lawsuits

Establishing evidence against the
defendant can be difficult and expensive
because of the research that may be

Ex: Plaintiff claims a company dumps
chemicals into the river where the plaintiff’s
water comes from which caused them to get

Statutes of Limitation limit plaintiff’s right
to sue a particular amount of time after
an event has occurred

Difficulties in Winning

Environmental Lawsuits

Court decisions can take years to make a
decision; in this time there can be
continual damage unless the court is able
to issue them an injunction to stop the
action temporarily



Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation

Corporations can file SLAPPs against citizens
who publicly criticize a business for some

Can range from $100,000 to $100 million and
usually last for 3 years before they can be won
or dismissed

Corporations use SLAPPs to intimidate
individuals and activist groups

Often, groups will stop protests and avoid opposing
the corporations in order to avoid SLAPPs

Reforming the Legal Field for
Environmental Lawsuits

Pressure Congress to pass a law that allows
judges and juries to award citizens their
attorney fees to be paid by the defendants, in
successful lawsuits

Establish rules and procedures for
identifying frivolous SLAPP suits to allow
cases without factual and legal merit to be
dismissed quickly

Raise fines for violators of environmental
laws and punish more violators with jail

Types of Environmental

Laws in the United States

Standards for pollution levels

Clean Air Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act

Screening new substances for safety

Toxic Substances Control Act

Encourage resource conservation

Research Conservation and Recovery Act, National
Energy Act

Protect and conserve species, resources, and

Endangered Species Act, Wilderness Act

Evaluate environmental impact of activities

National Environmental Policy Act

National Environmental Policy

Requires an environmental impact
statement (EIS) to be made for every
major federal project that is likely to affect
the environment

EIS must describe:

Why the project is needed

ts short and long term beneficial and
harmful environmental impacts

Ways to lessen the harmful impacts

Evaluation the alternatives to the project

Major Roles of Environmental

Nonprofit Nongovernment
(NGOs) have largest influence

Examples of NGOs



The Nature Conservancy


Expose corruption

Monitor government agencies

Collaborate with private sector

U.S. Environmental Groups

Mostly grassroots organizations

Emerging citizen based global
sustainability movement

Work done with individual communities

Use of nonviolent tactics to get publicity

Protest marches

Tree sitting

College campuses are other large source
of change

Global Outlook: Children in Turin, Italy,
Protesting High Levels of Air Pollution

Improving Global
Environmental Security

Correlation between scarcity of
resources(cropland, water, food) and
spread of civil violence

Civil war

Breading of terrorism

Warlords, chieftains, religious leaders gain

Failing of state/government

Argument for environmental security first;
military and economic security will follow

Influencing Global
olicy Change

International conferences


ate sector influence


Finding ways to create economic value with less
environmental impact

Green Planning

Green Planning: The creation of long
environmental management strategies
with the ultimate goal of achieving greater
environmental and economic
sustainability and a high quality of life for
a country’s citizens

Green Planning


Often reduces costs and increases profits

By controlling investments, there’s less
financial risk


Identify areas for improvement

Form target group that develops a voluntary
agreement on establishing targets and
timetables for drastically reducing pollution

Themes for Target Groups

Implement life
cycle management

Improve energy efficiency

Invent more environmentally sustainable

Improve public awareness

Michelle Pushes Environmental