Environmental Law from the Inside: Local Perspective, Local Potential
Albany Law School Research Paper No. 1 for 2018-2019
59 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2017 Last revised: 26 Jun 2018
Date Written: August 25, 2017
We live and learn in an allusion to nature, subject to a bit of mediation by cultural priorities to direct what we are experiencing. The thrust of this observation is that perception and experience are important both to understanding the relevance and effectiveness of how we relate to and regulate our natural surroundings. Referred to in this article as "insider" environmental law, the term is intended to distinguish local environmental governance capacity on grounds of how the environment is experienced. This article suggests that local needs should serve more of a driving role in the formulation of environmental law and policy. To accomplish this task, this article is intended to identify the footings and lay the foundation for local ecosystem governance based on the way communities regulate their environments locally as insiders to ecosystems. First, this article introduces the insider environmental perspective by observing the ways that the environment is experienced. This discussion helps in grasping how a perception of nature derives from experiences with it. This discussion also facilitates an understanding of why ecosystems are regulated differently by different levels of government. Second, this article distinguishes the value of insider environmental law from the more traditional understanding of local ecosystem governance as local protectionism. The act of being in an ecosystem prioritizes the notion that ecosystem governance is coextensive with local governance, where community identity, economy, equity and human well-being are fundamentally linked to the location and ecological place of community. Third, this article introduces ecosystem services to grasp the manner in which local perspective can be motivated by an open and honest consideration of the costs of environmental governance. The ecological economics of ecosystem services posits that where ecosystems fail, humans, and particularly humans as situated in communities, suffer real, calculable harm. Insider environmental law is, to its credit and confusion, concerned with the difficulties of identifying an objective description of environmental quality that is consistent with a real and felt sense of place.
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