Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism

Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism
Sarah Krakoff, Melissa Powers, and Jonathan Rosenbloom, Editors
Release Date

Environmental law and environmental protection have long been portrayed as requiring tradeoffs between incompatible ends: “jobs versus environment;” “markets versus regulation;” “enforcement versus incentives.” Behind these views are a variety of concerns, including resistance to government regulation, skepticism about the importance or extent of environmental harms, and sometimes even pro-environmental views about the limits of Earth’s carrying capacity. This framework is perhaps best illustrated by the Trump Administration, whose rationales for a host of environmental and natural resources policies have embraced a zero-sum approach, seemingly preferring a world divided into winners and losers. Given the many significant challenges we face, does playing the zero-sum game cause more harm than good? And, if so, how do we move beyond it?

This book is the third in a series of books authored by members of the Environmental Law Collaborative (ELC), an affiliation of environmental law professors that began in 2011. In it, the authors tackle the origins and meanings of zero-sum frameworks and assess their implications for natural resource and environmental protection. The authors have different angles on the usefulness and limitations of zero-sum framing, but all go beyond the oversimplified view that environmental protection always imposes a dead loss on some other societal value.

About the Author

Sarah Krakoff is the Moses Laskey Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School. She teaches and writes about American Indian law, natural resources law, and environmental justice. In 2018, she was awarded the University of Colorado's Hazel Barnes Prize for her distinguished record of research and teaching and the Chase Community Service Award for her pro bono work with low-income communities.

Melissa Powers is a Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School, and she was a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar in 2014-2015 researching Denmark and Spain’s renewable energy laws. Melissa is also the founder and director of the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School, an organization that designs strategies to a transition to a zero-carbon energy system.

Jonathan Rosenbloom is the Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law at Drake Law School. His scholarship explores issues relevant to local governments and sustainability, with a particular focus on land use. He is the founding director of the Sustainable Development Code, a model land use code providing local governments with the best sustainability practices in land use.