You are viewing the NationofChange archives. For the latest news and actions, visit the new
Get Email Updates | Log In | Register

Kevin Zeese
Published: Monday 22 April 2013
A process that concludes “game over for the planet” is not a significant environmental impact, it is a broken process. Obviously, climate change impact must be part of an environmental review.

The Rule of Law in Times of Ecological Collapse

Article image

With mass species die-offs, threats to human food supplies, toxicity of air and water, along with deforestation and ocean destruction and the justifiably dominant concern of climate change causing long-term droughts, floods, and extreme storms, the rule of law needs to be applied to the environment.  The Green Shadow Cabinet will make putting in place the rule of law a top priority.

In 1970 the National Environmental Policy Act, signed by President Nixon, took effect.  The law seeks: “To declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation..."

We must now make this law a reality.  Since 1970 the law has been manipulated by big business and government to allow environmentally damaging projects to go forward.  NEPA required an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before government actions but the failure of this process is evident when the State Department is on the verge of finding the Keystone XL Pipeline has no significant environmental impact even though James Hansen, one of the leading climate experts in the world, describes tapping into the Alberta Tar Sands as “game over for the planet” putting the Earth over the tipping point for climate change.

A process that concludes “game over for the planet” is not a significant environmental impact, it is a broken process. Obviously, climate change impact must be part of an environmental review.

Corporations that profit from investing in tar sands, as well as excavating, transporting, refining and profiting from tar sands, need to be held accountable. They know what they are doing pushes us over the tipping point for climate change; doesn’t this make them responsible?

We can no longer exempt oil, gas and other energy polluters from the requirements of environmental laws; they need to be held financially liable for their environmental degradation, not be given tax breaks and corporate welfare.  The rule of law should include the corporate death penalty, revocation of the corporate charter, for corporations that are repeat offenders. As carbon energy grows scarce environmentally damaging excavation increases, e.g. hydro-fracking, tar sands, offshore oil drilling, arctic drilling, uranium mining and mountaintop removal.  This shows the need to end put in place a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy by rapidly moving to clean, sustainable energy along with conservation and efficiency. Requiring carbon and nuclear energy sources to pay the real cost of their environmental damage will be a step toward a level playing field with solar, wind, geothermal and ocean energy.

The rule of law must put protection of the planet above profit.  The Congress and executive branch, captured by big business interests emanating from Wall Street, has put profit ahead of the planet.  The recent Monsanto Protection Act is an attack on the rule of law and judicial review in order to protect biotech profits.  The rider, with the Orwellian name “Plant Protection Act” was anonymously grafted onto an emergency budget bill, grants immunity to legal challenges to GMO plant products that could be a tremendous risk to the environment and food supply.  The Justice Council of the Green Shadow Cabinet would oppose patenting life forms.

More widely damaging to the rule of law will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest trade agreement in history, which is a global corporate coup that puts profits ahead of the environment and the people. President Obama has been negotiating the TPP in secret with 600 corporate advisers but hidden from the Congress, the media and American people for three years.  The trade agreement undermines the rule of law by allowing corporations to sue governments in trade tribunals, with judges primarily being corporate lawyers on leave from their corporate job. It puts the potential profits of corporations over environmental and other laws. Once again – the policy is profits before the environment – the opposite of what is needed. This agreement needs to be stopped and other agreements like the WTO and NAFTA reversed so the environment is protected and the people and planet come before profits.

Other countries are recognizing that there is an environmental crisis leading to ecological collapse and are putting protection of the environment in their laws. Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth makes the planet “a collective subject of public interest,” and declares both the Earth and life-systems (which combine human communities and ecosystems) as titleholders of inherent legal rights. The law recognizes that the maintenance of life systems, ecological diversity (without genetic alteration), rights to water and air, the interdependence of the components of the Earth and the need to restore ecological systems all need legal protection.

Similarly the Icelandic Constitution, drafted in 2012, states: “All shall by law be accorded the right to a healthy environment, fresh water, unpolluted air and unspoiled nature. This means that the diversity of life and land must be maintained and nature’s objects of value, uninhabited areas, vegetation and soil shall enjoy protection. Earlier damages shall be repaired as possible.”

The United States needs to follow these examples and create laws to protect the environment. The power to do should be expanded beyond government by allowing standing to sue by anyone adversely affected by actions that hurt the environment. The judicial branch of government needs to be opened to all Americans injured by corporate or government action.

The Green Shadow Cabinet recognizes that the rule of law has been battered in recent decades beyond the failure to hold polluters accountable, e.g., the lack of prosecution of financiers whose pervasive fraud and law breaking caused economic collapse, the lack of prosecution of torturers and their enablers, the overuse of lengthy sentencing in racially disproportionate enforcement of drug offenses, the undermining of civil liberties in the name of the war on terror and war on drugs and the prosecution of whistleblowers seeking to bring much-needed transparency to government and big business.  As we work toward establishing the rule of law in the United States, ecological restoration and environmental protection needs to be a top priority.

For more information please visit http://www.GreenShadowCabinet.US

ABOUT Kevin Zeese


Kevin Zeese is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980.  He works on peace, economic justice, criminal law reform and reviving American democracy. His twitter is @KBZeese.  Zeese has used his law degree to work to end the war on drugs, stop the use of the military and National Guard in drug enforcement and allow the medical use of marijuana. He has filed bar complaints against lawyers in the Bush and Obama administrations who used their legal degrees to justify torture, as well as against Justice Clarence Thomas for conflicts of interests. He has also filed complaints against attorneys at Hunton and Williams who worked with the Chamber of Commerce and HB Gary Federal to target him for his work criticizing the Chamber. Zeese serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network.  Zeese filed a complaint with the Justice Department against Rupert Murdoch and News Corp for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as with DOJ against Karl Rove’s American Crossroads for violating the non-profit tax laws and the federal election laws.

I will get a wonderful

I will get a wonderful article which will be very useful to me as well. I should follow the handy article because you have posted a unknown article. Thanks a lot mate.

Dear Planet earth.. We are

Dear Planet earth.. We are terribly sorry that we have stolen nearly everything you had and the only thing we gave you in return were promises .. Our infamous "Rule Of Law" ethic is total bullshit .. The corporation's who are mainly responsible for taking such a huge a crap on your dinner plate the "infamous rule of Law just doesn't apply to , it would appear that the only people tasked with living up to that standard are the one's least responsible for making the mess or any meaningful anti-pollution policy happen because while on the outside it look's like a Democracy it's hardly one at all and the "Free Market" system they blow there own horn about is hardly a Free market system at all it's cronies capitalism as they privatize the profits in time's of plenty but quickly socialize the downside when there fraud waste and mismanagement slap's them in the face Our Federal Government is a joke a fraud and couldn't tell the truth about the weather unless there masters said it was ok to do so . Were so so sorry we let this get away from us . Most Americans are so brain dead focused on self survival that they have no idea how to even think collectively and couldn't get out of there own way if there life depended on it ..{It does} Again please except our deepest apology's ...

Look it would be easy to have

Look it would be easy to have the auto makers make electric cars and get rid of the national debt all in one swoop. RAFFLE THE ELECTRIC CARS so the auto dealers put people back to work and if the car sells for 45,000 dollars it would be a ticket for 5 dollars 30,000 tickets sold for one car. Thats 1 in 30000 chance of winning a new car it raises 150,000 dollars give the auto company
50,000 dollars and use the rest to pay off the debt. You dont have to stop at our border open this up to all countries in the world especially new emerging nations. It would be a boom to our economy and reduce the emissions greatly.
Iwould not mind using one of these cars for every day use shopping commute to work etc, Just change that law and allow the raffle. No more interest on an auto loan it would eliminate the need and put more money back into local economies.

The rule of law may make

The rule of law may make sense if one is dealing with intelligent beings who uphold the laws they establish. This does not apply to those sociopathic entities known as "corporations." Therefore, until the people (not the government, which is a partner in crime with the corporations) realize they are dealing with large groups of serial killers bent on the complete destruction of life on Earth, and until they begin to take matters into their own [collective] hands and deal a forceful vigilante justice to these killers, then nothing, NOTHING, will be done.
The above article mentions a "death sentence" to these offending corporations. I agree with the literal definition of this phrase. All the high-minded talk of the past 45 years has come to naught. We are worse off now than we were in 1956. Unless violent and lethal action is taken against these corporations and anyone who works for or with them (ad agencies and law firms included), they will continue to buy governments and mercenary armies to establish their control of the planet. The populations will have to move way outside their comfort zones, risk their lives and begin an assault, and not stop until these companies are literally dead. I believe the attitude of the villain in Avatar is a good one to apply here: to destroy the corporate/capitalist structures so horribly and finally that it leaves a terrifying scar in the collective memory of a people so that nothing like it can ever exist again.

Unfortunately, the rule of

Unfortunately, the rule of law is made by those who can buy politicians and make their own laws, not for the public good.

A couple of large volcanic

A couple of large volcanic eruptions could cool the planet in a jiffy. And, with all the mini-quakes set off by fracking, we could get a couple of good ones.

Of course we'd all freeze, crops would fail, but ..

A runaway train is

A runaway train is approaching a chasm over which no trestle has been built. All the passengers are screaming for the train to stop, but all the conductor and engineer do is pour on the steam because they're blinded by the unstoppability of their glory.

Short of a miracle, We're doomed. But for those who survive the hell to come, a planetary ecological collapse will be a good lesson learned. A new, probably better, more just world will emerge.

Comment with your Facebook account

Comment with your Disqus account

Top Stories

comments powered by Disqus

NationofChange works to educate, inform, and fight power with people, corruption with community.

If you would like to stay up to date with the best in independent, filter-free journalism, updates on upcoming events to attend, and more, enter your email below:

7 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Support NationofChange

Our readers often tell us why they’ve decided to step up and become supporters. Here are some of the top reasons people are giving.

1. You’re keeping independent journalism alive
The corporate owned media has proven that it can’t be trusted. In a media landscape wrought with spin and corruption, NationofChange stands in very scarce company.

2. You’re sticking it to the rich, powerful, and corrupt
When you have money in this country you can get away with damn near anything, and they do. NationofChange isn’t afraid to expose these criminals no matter how powerful they are.

3. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible
NationofChange is a 501(c)3 charity. People tend to assume that many other organizations are (most nonprofits are NOT) but it’s that 501(c)3 status is a bit more rare than you think.

Read the rest...