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Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality, and the Environment 3rd Edition

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199736072
ISBN-10: 0199736073
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Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality, and the Environment + The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics (History of American Thought and Culture)
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Editorial Reviews


"Christopher Stone's book reflects a truly original contribution to the environmental law movement. Stone's unique idea about nature and natural objects-that perhaps they should have their own rights-is now ripe to be considered seriously by policymakers. As Stone suggested decades ago, and expands upon in his new book, the time has finally come to move from an anthropocentric to an eco-centric view of the environment."
-Jan G. Laitos, John A. Carver, Jr. Professor of Law
University of Denver Sturm College of Law

"The third edition of this book of essays demonstrates that Christopher Stone's ideas are as challenging, as eye-opening, and as thought expanding as they were when he first penned his landmark work. Clearly written and cogently argued, Stone's writing succeeds in being simultaneously provocative and persuasive."
-John S. Applegate, Walter W. Foskett Professor of
Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

"The publication of Christopher D. Stone's new essay collection, Should Trees Have Standing?, could not be more timely...To his credit, Stone does not shy away from these morally and legally troublesome issues. He confronts them head-on, often at length, and even takes his best stab at resolving some of them. Although this book does not provide all the answers (nor could it), it does give the reader plenty to ponder..."
--California Lawyer

About the Author

Christopher D. Stone is J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law at the University of Southern California School of Law. A leading advocate for the environment, he has written for Harper's, The New York Times, The Nation, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (April 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199736073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199736072
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Robinson on June 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Published just two weeks before the Gulf Oil disaster, the updated "Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality, and the Environment" takes on extra significance in arguing that the environment itself has an important place in the debate over how much human damage should be tolerated.

First published in 1972, author Christopher D. Stone's arguments have taken on new urgency, laying out a case that environmental issues can't be seen only from the human perspective and that trees, the land and the water are themselves worthy of rights. This edition updates his initial argument, noting that his original argument seemed over the top 38 years ago, but have won fans and legal support. As he notes, the argument that streams or forests have no standing because they don't speak has no meaning when corporations are granted rights alongside people. Part of the argument is that future generations of people have a right to a quality environment but Stone's argument runs deeper, explaining current case law and the tussle over the definition of legal standing. He also assesses the place and success and failure of environmentalism itself.

This is an honest look at the effects of his own argument, a good legal analysis of what the courts and individuals have decided to accept and a forward-looking assessment of what could come next. Students of environmental issues, lawyers and others will find this book a valuable tool in understanding the issues beyond the effects of poisoned water or destroyed mountain tops on humans and into a eco-centric view of what we should be doing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Linzey, Esq. on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Christopher Stone clearly qualifies as one of the "fathers" of the rights of nature. This absolutely critical reading presents a clear, concise, and grounded vision for the foundation of a movement from treating nature as mere property to treating natural systems as entities with rights. Stone's work was recently part of the foundation and inspiration for the work of people in Ecuador to make the rights of nature a part of their new Constitution. An absolutely critical read for anyone who wonders why the current environmental "movement" is not achieving the sustainable planet that we all want and need.

A must read for everyone who wants to change the rules of the game to a system in which nature's rights are recognized and enforced.
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Format: Paperback
Introduction- Should Trees Have Standing
Legal standing is a term which applies to the ability of a person, or parties to demonstrate their position before a court. In the context of environmental law, there has been great discourse regarding the nature of legal standing and its applicability to natural objects. This includes forests, oceans, rivers, and other objects which ought to have some degree of recognized rights but do not have the faculties to independently obtain them. Christopher D. Stone has become a forerunner in the environmental movement by writing his seminal book, "Should Trees Have Standing?", amongst his other literature, which proposes the idea of bestowing rights into non human parties. Stone's central thesis is that natural objects should be granted legal rights and or standing to ensure a greater recognition of their rights. Stone ultimately reflects the success of the environmental movement and provides insightful forethought as to where the movement is going. Notwithstanding some contradictory arguments, and even sometimes fallacious statements; Stone's position is generally concise, valid, and comprehensive. Throughout this text Stone articulates a rather esoteric idea in a very apprehensive manner. Therefore, "Should Trees Have Standing" is a book that can be grasped not only by those who are experts in the study of environmental law, but also by those who simply wish to supplement their environmental literacy. Nonetheless, this work will continue to serve as foundation for advocates and many others who concern themselves with the study of environmental law.

Summary of Literature-
Stone begins the novel with the proposition that society ought to do the "unthinkable" by investing legal rights into the authority of natural objects.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LILIANA DONES on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very helpful to have if you are a community activist interested in saving trees and maintaining the canopy of your neighborhood and city. It is not only informative, and makes an excellent argument toward the rights of trees, but it is a particularly good thing to wave about at City of Miami Historic Preservation Board hearings where we regularly go to appeal tree removals.
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