Congratulations to Professor Czarnezki for the publication of his book Everyday Environmentalism: Law, Nature, and Individual Behavior.
The library is pleased to have four copies available for check-out.
Professor Czarnezki will have a book signing on Wednesday March 30th, at 5:30 PM at Barrister’s Bookstore.
Below, see the press release issued by Island Press, for more information on the book!
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 2011) — Global climate change can seem like an overwhelming issue to most of us. After all, is there really anything that one person can do to make a difference? “Yes there is!” says an inspiring new book. Everyday Environmentalism addresses the small personal choices that individuals can make in order to have a positive effect on the natural world. It also suggests how lawmakers and government administrators at all levels, from local to national, can act to make a real difference—beginning right now.
Jason Czarnezki, a law professor and committed environmentalist, begins his book with a compelling description of the historical and contemporary forces in the U.S. that have led to a culture of “convenience, consumerism, and consumption.” He then investigates the individual decisions that have the worst environmental impacts, particularly our household carbon “footprints” and our personal waste production. He also scrutinizes the ecological costs of our food choices and the environmental costs of urban and suburban sprawl. Finally, he examines the loss of biodiversity that results in part from our individual choices.
Czarnezki cites some startling facts about American consumption. Every one of us generates, on average, nearly five pounds of solid waste per day. The average household uses more than 100 gallons of water every day. And in the name of “development,” every year we build on more than two million acres of land that was previously vacant. With our ongoing demand for wood and paper, if we don’t change our consumption habits we will use up more than 20 million acres of our forests by 2050.
The good news is that we can change our destructive habits. Everyday Environmentalism argues that individuals want to make a positive difference in their environment. We just don’t know how. And we need some help from our government, both to educate us and to make smart laws and choices on our behalf. The book is particularly good at raising awareness about the environmental effects of everyday life and the roles that government and law can play in shaping consumer decision-making. It emphasizes that modifying individual behavior toward environmentalism should be one of the goals of public planning processes and law making.
Czarnezki suggests six “decision making tools” that should guide legal and policy initiatives:
- Support efforts that raise awareness of the environmental costs of individual behavior;
- Evaluate the level of government or private action that might most effectively change individual behaviors;
- Create more ambitious “eco-labeling” of products and services;
- Develop regulatory tools that use market incentives to change individual behaviors;
- Tailor policies to target specific products and audiences that have the worst environmental impacts;
- Design and adjust community programs based on empirical findings about efforts that successfully change behaviors.
Czarnezki recognizes that it is difficult to regulate individual choices. But when it comes to the environment, most individuals want to do the right thing, he says. Knowing this, then, government bodies should provide a good education to citizens in how to save our planet and then create rules and regulations that follow from that education. Once they understand that laws have been created to guard the environment for the good of everyone, he argues, then citizens will willingly support the laws and also voluntarily change their over-consuming ways. And since very small changes by very large numbers of people can have an enormous collective impact, “everyday environmentalism” will change our destructive habits and lead to positive actions that can help to save our planet.