So I’m walking the library stacks in the graduate library last night—because randomly walking library stacks is a practice that should not be abandoned in the internet age—and what should I stumble across by accident but a slim volume that read on the spine: Hayward, Constitutional Environmental Rights. From Oxford University Press. Bargain: only $43.99 on Kindle! This is certainly a curiosity: a book with two of my major interests combined in the title. Did I forget about having written this book perhaps? Or slipped into a parallel universe?
Turns out the author is Tim Hayward, a professor in Scotland. Did I say it is a slim volume? Yes, but not slim enough. How about we start with the first sentence:
The argument of this book is that a right of every individual to an environment adequate for their health and well-being should receive express provision in the constitution of any modern democracy.
How about we end with this sentence, too, and save you a lot of time and trouble. The argument is by now familiar: every good thing should be a fundamental constitutional right. Because rights. Also lawyers. They get the lion’s share of the action when you make a good thing a fundamental constitutional right to be vindicated judicially, and placed beyond the reach of political deliberation and tradeoffs between means and ends. Ironic, coming from the same kind of mentality that complains so often about “privilege.”