Humility and Environmental Law

10 Liberty University Law Review 335 (2016)

37 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2016

Date Written: August 4, 2016


Humility offers seemingly contradictory lessons for environmental law. Humility toward the environment emphasizes the need for restraint and for care in light of our lack of knowledge about the environmental impacts of our actions. Humility toward the law cautions against exaggerated understandings of our ability to create and implement legal tools that will achieve our intended results. Taken together, these two understandings of humility could ensure that we are equally careful in how we approach both the effects of our actions on the natural environment and the effects of our laws. That is what I seek to do in this article: explain the meaning of humility, describe environmental humility and legal humility, and then begin to sketch the implications of humility for the project of environmental law.

Keywords: humility, environmental, aquinas, Obama, Roberts, Christian, AWE, nuclear power

JEL Classification: K10, K32

Suggested Citation

Nagle, John Copeland, Humility and Environmental Law (August 4, 2016). 10 Liberty University Law Review 335 (2016). Available at SSRN:

John Copeland Nagle (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

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