Should trees have standing to sue in court? Answering yes in a famous (for law students, anyway) article decades ago was Prof. Christopher Stone. Unstated was Prof. Stone’s assumption that he, and leftie-enviro activists like him, would be allowed to decide who the trees sued and what remedies they desired. Prof. Stone & Co. alone would be considered experts in tree-speak.
It turns out that President Barack Obama’s science and technology adviser rather likes the idea–or did some number of years ago. Reports Cybercast News Service:
Since the 1970s, some radical environmentalists have argued that trees have legal rights and should be allowed to go to court to protect those rights.
The idea has been endorsed by John P. Holdren, the man who now advises President Barack Obama on science and technology issues.
Giving “natural objects” — like trees — standing to sue in a court of law would have a “most salubrious” effect on the environment, Holdren wrote the 1970s.
“One change in (legal) notions that would have a most salubrious effect on the quality of the environment has been proposed by law professor Christopher D. Stone in his celebrated monograph, ‘Should Trees Have Standing?'” Holdren said in a 1977 book that he co-wrote with Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich.
“In that tightly reasoned essay, Stone points out the obvious advantages of giving natural objects standing, just as such inanimate objects as corporations, trusts, and ships are now held to have legal rights and duties,” Holdren added.
Actually, I always rather like the idea. As long as I could speak on behalf of the trees. You see, I suspect that they are bored standing around doing nothing in some park where bugs and disease can attack them. Far better to end up helping to construct a nice home for a family and many families to come. Or, even better, providing the material for a fine dining room table or china cabinet. How better for a tree to finish out its life than as part of an object of beauty and function, to be admired for generations to come?
Anyway, that’s what “my” trees would say if given standing in court.
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