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Environmental obligations: Using the law to protect Earth topic of Oct. 9 talk

“Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age” will be the topic of a lecture Thursday, Oct. 9, at noon in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

Mary Wood, the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and faculty director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the University of Oregon School of Law, will be the speaker.

She will introduce her new book, Nature’s Trust, which provides a strategy to protect the Earth endowment as the just inheritance for all citizens, those living and those to come.

The Earth faces extraordinary damage, Wood posits in her book, as it enters a new ecological age brought about by climate change. Humanity needs to protect the remaining resources essential to its survival. Yet instead of using environmental law to protect nature, regulatory agencies around the world use the law to permit corporations and industries to inflict further damage to priceless resources. This imperils the future.

Wood will argue for a fiduciary obligation to safeguard ecology on the part of government. She describes an ancient yet enduring principle known as the public trust doctrine that designates government officials as trustees of public resources. Such officials remain charged with the legal obligation to protect and restore natural wealth belonging to citizens.

She has published extensively on climate crises, natural resources and native law issues. Wood originated the approach called atmospheric trust litigation to hold governments worldwide accountable for reducing carbon pollution within their jurisdictions, and her research is being used in cases and petitions brought on behalf of children and youth throughout the United States and in other countries.

For more information on the free, public talk, go to


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