Tag sustainability

The First Earth Day

Richard N. L. Andrews— On April 22, 1970, a handful of volunteers led by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin organized the first Earth Day, which grew into what Newsweek magazine described as “the biggest street festival since the Japanese surrender in 1945.” It included mass rallies of up to 25,000

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Environmental Policy

Richard N. L. Andrews— Environmental protection policy includes three elements intended to protect public health and ecological processes from adverse effects of human activities. One is pollution control, including prevention, safe management, and cleanup of waste discharges, accidental spills, and deliberate environmental dispersion of toxic materials such as pesticides. The

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Climate Change Street Fighters

Michael Mendez— No other politico in Washington, DC, has moved the issue of climate change to a national platform of prominence so quickly as Democratic Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her “Green New Deal” is a radical proposal to decarbonize America’s economy while tackling inequality. It has stirred passionate reactions from

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Urbanization and Sustainability

Steward Pickett— Sustainability has become one of the touchstones of the twenty-first century. As the human inhabitants of the planet consume an ever-larger share of the Earth’s resources and increasingly tax its capacities to recycle wastes and deal with contaminants, sustainability has become a powerful image. But it is much

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Nine Steps to a Sustainable Future

In our new book A Better Planet, leading environmentalists present long-term solutions for a sustainable future amid our ecological crisis. The forty essays advocate a bipartisan program and cover topics like forestry, agriculture, data, public health, natural disasters, and city planning. We’ve selected excerpts from nine of the essays that

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Water Needs Power Needs Water

Michael E. Webber— In July 2012, the electric grid in India failed, causing the largest blackout in history. It affected more than 620 million people, nine percent of the world’s population. Although there were many reasons for the power outage, it was a lack of water that triggered the Indian collapse. A

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Finding the Future of Environmentalism in its Past

Benjamin Heber Johnson— Most environmental protections are predicated on the use of state power. When Americans feared that a species would soon be pushed over the brink of extinction, they passed laws forbidding or limiting hunting it; when they valued an area for the serene majesty of its old-growth timber,

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Why Preservation Should Matter

Max Page— In our “sour little age,” as playwright Tony Kushner once called the world we live in, lines from a law passed fifty years ago this weekend offer welcome uplift.  “The spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage,” declared the National

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The Struggle to Define Strong Sustainability

Dieter Helm— The trouble with strong sustainability is that it contains very little by way of guidance as to what we should do, except ‘preserve everything’. It is in essence the claim that natural capital should be regarded as non-substitutable, and hence, following Eric Neumayer, strong sustainability can be called

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Make Natural Capital the Heart of Earth Day

Dieter Helm— Earth Day is one of those great occasions when lots of people with goodwill and concern vent their frustrations at the destruction of our natural environment. They are right to do so, but they are wrong to expect much to happen. It is mostly a dialogue between like-minded

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