Taking Back Eden is the gripping tale of an idea—that ordinary people have the right to go to court to defend their environment—told through the stories of lawsuits brought in eight countries around the world. Starting in the United States in the l960’s, this idea is now traveling the planet, with impacts not just on imperiled environments but on systems of justice and democracy. It has brought people back into the question of governing the quality of their lives. Author Oliver Houck describes the sites under contention in their place and time, the people who rose up, their lawyers, strategies, obstacles, setbacks and victories.
Written for general readers, students, and lawyers alike, Taking Back Eden tells the stories of a lone fisherman intent on protecting the Hudson River, a Philippine lawyer boarding illegal logging ships from the air, the Cree Indian Nation battling for its hunting grounds, and a civil rights attorney who set out to save the Taj Mahal. The cases turn on Shinto and Hindu religions, dictatorships in Greece and Chile, regime changes in Russia, and on a remarkable set of judges who saw a crisis and stepped up to meet it in similar ways. Spontaneously, without communication among each other, their protagonists created a new brand of law and hope for a more sustainable world.
About the Author:
Oliver Houck is professor of law at Tulane University, where he has received several teaching awards. In 2005, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Environmental Section of the American Bar Association. He is author of a book on the Clean Water Act, editor of Environmental Law Stories, and wrote the foreword to Biodiversity and the Law.
Praise for Taking Back Eden:
“Oliver Houck is a most unusual law professor: he writes with wit and even humor but also great brilliance and compassion. Read him and learn.” Mark Hertsgaard, author of Earth Odyssey: Around the World In Search of Our Environmental Future
“This book could only have been written by environmental law’s greatest
story teller—a synthesis of opportunity, courage, slapdash enthusiasm—a
relentless pursuit of good law by well motivated people.” -- William H. Rodgers, Jr., Stimson Bullitt Professor of Environmental Law, University of Washington
“Who would have guessed that one of the most fascinating books of the year would be a discussion of environmental lawsuits from around the world? Oliver Houck uses this scaffolding to offer a stimulating flood of insights about cultures as diverse as Russia, Japan, and India, explaining how a handful of landmark cases have fundamentally changed the way the nations operate. As a bonus, Taking Back Eden is gracefully written, and it's stocked with some of the most interesting characters you will find in non-fiction.” -- Denis Hayes, Bullitt Foundation President, National Coordinator of the first Earth Day
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Awakening
Chapter One: Storm King
Chapter Two: Nikko Taro
Chapter Three: Minors Oposa
Chapter Four: Great Whale
Chapter Five: The Taj Mahal
Chapter Six: Lenin’s Trees
Chapter Seven: Acheloos
Chapter Eight: Trillium