This branch of law comprises the legal protections that regulate the behavior of groups and individuals, public and private, to minimize, mitigate and/or penalize the impact of human activities on the natural environment.
Environmental law, just like the natural systems it seeks to protect, cuts across borders: international, regional and state or provincial. It cuts across time because it respects traditional and historical practices and rights while it must also reflect today’s realities.It requires cooperation and broad aspirational goals and the independent and unique point of view of local and national governments.It, more than any other type of law, sometimes takes the position that Nature, other species and the planet itself have significant rights that it must safeguard.It protects public resources like air and water, and it looks to further the public good.
Certain aspects of environmental law are well-defined and well-developed, others are nascent or constrained by the character of the resource that needs protection.It is a still developing field that is under pressure to transform itself because it must adapt to major factors like climate change and changing social attitudes towards the environment and sustainability.At the same time, it is slowed by the deliberate nature of the democratic processes that underpin it, and it is constantly challenged by the industries that it regulates, the organizations that advocate for the environment and the public in general.
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