Commons Law Project

For most of 2011, I have been collaborating with Professor Burns H. Weston of the University of Iowa Law School in writing a major research essay on commons law and human rights.  We recently completed a first draft of a lengthy treatise, "Regenerating the Human Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment in the Commons Renaissance."  We hope to post this draft online soon and/or publish a revised version in a few months (early 2012).

The Commons Law Project is an ecological governance initiative that Professor Weston and I are pursuing in cooperation with The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) and the Vermont Law School Environmental Law Center (VLS-ELC).

Rights-based and commons driven, the Project seeks to recover and refurbish the law of the commons from Roman times, the Magna Carta, and points before and since to put forward a new contemporary law of the ecological commons grounded in human rights.  We see this body of commons law as the basis for serious policy advocacy, prescription, and application (including litigation).

Drawing upon the precedents and gravitas of history, the Project aims to identify a solid set of legal norms that can serve as the moral and legal justification for new movements to protect ecological commons and thereby enhance the human right to a clean, healthy, ecologically balanced, and sustainable environment. The Project aspires to transcend some of the serious dysfunctions of the nation-state and international organizations, whose performance as protectors of the environment is manifestly deficient. By asserting a new vision of ecological governance, the Commons Law Projet aspires to catalyze new political energies and policy frameworks.