The Quest for a Sustainable Future and the Dawn of a New Journal at Michigan Law
Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law Vol. 1, no. 1 (2012): 1-17.
17 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2012 Last revised: 8 Jun 2015
Date Written: January 23, 2012
This essay serves as the introduction to the inaugural volume of the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law, which publishes its first issue at a time when our environmental challenges are increasing even as our societal resolve to address environmental problems is diminishing. The essay traces the history of environmental law-making in the United States and suggests that, despite the bipartisanship that helped launch the environmental movement in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we have not achieved consensus about our underlying environmental values. Instead of embracing environmental values based on ecological concerns, the United States has pursued a decidedly human-centric approach to environmental protection that focuses on the public health benefits of pollution prevention. Our human-centric approach has limited our ability to update our environmental laws in the face of new ecological challenges and allowed economic concerns to take precedence over environmental protection. The essay concludes that rethinking the proper balance between environment and economy is essential for a sustainable future — and a moral obligation that we must meet for future generations.
Keywords: Environmental Law, Public Health, Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law, Ecological Challenges, Environment and Economy
JEL Classification: K23, K29, K30, K32, K40, Q20, Q30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation