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Does Your Pollution Impose on Those Who Don’t Have the Opportunity to Pollute? by Hannah Shangraw

Posted by: | May 6, 2014 Comments Off on Does Your Pollution Impose on Those Who Don’t Have the Opportunity to Pollute? by Hannah Shangraw |

Is the law the right mechanism to motivate individuals for pollution prevention? Laws need to recognize and hold individuals accountable as opposed to just industry giants.[xiv] If laws were to hold individuals accountable in regards to pollution prevention, it would be a great way to motivate individuals. Laws that have consequences for individuals seem to bear more weight on their actions. Take for instance Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated laws: everyone is aware of the consequence of breaking these laws and thus act accordingly. We are also aware of the consequences that may come from breaking DUI/DWI laws, whether it be minor fender benders or catastrophic event that may take someone’s life. If pollution prevention laws were to hold individuals to a certain level of accountability, and the knowledge of the consequences (effect on 3rd world countries, death, and diseases stemming from pollution) were wide spread, maybe the law would be as effective (to a certain extent) as DUI/DWI laws. Though the differences in the laws and their effects seem completely unrelated, it is more about the capacity law has to make a difference.

The capacity for laws to have a broad effect first starts with citizens becoming aware of their effect on pollution and acting upon that knowledge by forcing the government to act. An educational commercial could be a start to bring awareness as to when and how pollution prevention laws hold individuals accountable. Maybe a sappy commercial playing Sarah McLachlan or tugging on the heartstrings would actually be a good approach.

[xiv] A good law review article on this is From Smokestack to SUV: The Individual as Regulated Entity in the New Era of Environmental Law, Vandenbergh, Michael. 57 Vand. L. Rev. 515 (March, 2004).

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under: Climate Change, General, International
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