Environmental law can be made preventive and efficient, and it can enlist willing compliance before using the punishing hand, creating a constructive relationship between the governing and the governed. The “adversarial” relationship for which environmental regulation is famous is appropriate for those unwilling to comply, but not appropriate for the many well-meaning regulated entities.
This book explains how these, and other principles of reformed environmental law have been demonstrated successfully but the lessons of success have not been learned. The approach of the book is to collate examples of environmental governance, policy-making and ethics and demonstrate paths towards a more progressive environmental and climate agenda.
Rick Reibstein teaches environmental law at Boston University and has taught at Clark, Northeastern, Suffolk, and MIT, as well as Harvard Extension and Summer Schools. He has published many articles on environmental law and policy. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1998 Hammer Award for Reinvention in Government, 2000 EPA Individual Merit Award, 2015 Most Valuable P2 Champion from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, and the first Champion of Sustainability of the Institute for Global Sustainability, 2022.
1. The Facts Have Spoken: We Can Do It
2. The Government of Us
3. A Story from the Front
4. The Story That Poisoned Our Well
5. The Big Picture
6. Anticipatory Governance
7. The Quality of Our Awareness: Envisioning Future Programs, Remembering Forgotten Ones
8. An Equitable System
9. The Fixer-Upper
10. Transforming Systems
Appendix: Addenda to the Agenda
About the Author
Rick Reibstein knows how to make government regulation work for business and society. He has brought needed change to manufacturing shop floors and back-room deliberations of policy makers. When he says we can use government to bring about a most sustainable society, we can trust him. In Reconstructing Environmental Governance, he lays out some of the steps we need to take.
This book is for the pragmatic optimist who knows a more sustainable future will require radical collaborations. You will read about Rick Reibstein’s purposeful career of constantly forging public private partnerships to repair and protect our common environment. Reibstein embraces the principle of democracy where individual (corporate) rights and public responsibilities is an indivisible concept. With his stories we see how a responsive environmental governance, through innovative programs and good regulations, can encourage creative solutions leading to better outcomes. It is almost as if the UN Sustainable Development Goal 17, calling for partnerships to address the most vexing problems of climate change, diminished ecosystem, and soul crushing disparities, was modeled on Reibstein’s career.
Utilizing the many cases in which the author played a part during his decades of public service, this engaging and uplifting book outlines the best practices in environmental governance. For achieving optimal environmental sustainability in the short and long term, Reibstein demonstrates that strategies enforcing minimum standards and prosecuting only the most egregious of harmful actions are insufficient and less effective than serious efforts to create and implement better designs for production and development processes. Reibstein distills the advantages of a government role that nurtures creativity and best practices to encourage collaborative innovation that serves both public and private needs. The breadth, depth, and coherence of his thinking depict a practicable path that can, and should, be traveled in our environmental governance.