Segments in this Video

Love of Indigenous Land and People (08:21)


Silver Donald Cameron introduces Mary Christina Wood; Wood grew up near the Columbia River in Oregon. She and Cameron discuss her passion for protecting the native environment. She describes swift urbanization of her surroundings, and collapse of salmon runs.

"Nature's Trust" (02:30)

Wood describes her recent book and the concept of public and nature's trust. She asserts that ecological endowments should be managed for present and future beneficiaries. The environmental statutes passed in the 1970s have overshadowed the concept.

Current Legal Process (06:17)

Wood explains the purpose of statutory environmental laws, and how they are legally subverted. Agencies grant permits allowing for damage it was their purpose to prevent. Wood explains the Deference Doctrine and how it empowers politicized agencies; she cites salmon litigation as an example of their failure.

Public Trust Doctrine (05:41)

Cameron and Wood discuss differences between the Public Trust, representing obligations of government to uphold citizen's Constitutional rights, and Statutory Laws. Administrations receive campaign contributions from, and operate on behalf of, large corporations.

Expanding the Role of Courts (07:54)

Wood and Hansen discuss atmospheric trust litigation in the Netherlands and its role in the worldwide movement to sue governments for failure to protect the environment. Legislative and executive branches are corrupted and controlled by the industries they are designed to regulate. She and Cameron consider the Obama Administration's lost opportunity to instigate environmental protection regulations.

Politics of Scarcity (05:49)

Wood describes government approach to natural assets; declining resources are split among private industries. She discusses Native American politics and the protective instincts and ideas of tribal leaders.

Damages of Statutory Law (03:22)

Currently, environmental regulations lead to vast Sacrifice Zones. Practices such as fracking and mountaintop removal have created oceanic dead zones and forced communities to relocate.

Enforcing Environmental Protection Regulations (07:15)

Public trust is a well-established, but a neglected legal principle. The justice system is necessary to protect citizens from private industry interests. Wood discusses the function of the three branches of government, and the historical development of public trust.

Public Trust Cases (05:31)

Public trust cases are now being formulated and tried around the world; Wood describes the variety and focuses of international litigation. She and Cameron discuss the failures of statutory law and government agencies resulting from assuming their objectivity and noble motives.

Politics of Ownership (04:05)

Cameron and Wood discuss privatization of land in juxtaposition to Native American management. Possession is enforced by government mandate and allows for damage and misuse of resources. Wood suggests citizens perceive environmental law as property law and cites water commodification as an example of privatized natural assets.

Most Important Lawsuit on the Planet (09:43)

Our Children's Trust is a ground breaking case brought against the federal government to subvert runaway climate change. Woods explains the urgency of the suit and magnitude of its scope. Judicial intervention and supervision of environmental protection agencies is essential.

Epilogue and Credits (00:56)

Cameron reflects on his conversation with Wood and cites other Green Interviews.

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Mary Christina Wood: Public Trust and Managing the Natural Bounty for All

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This episode of The Green Interview features Mary Christina Wood, lawyer, academic, author and advocate of the use of the Public trust doctrine , an ancient and neglected legal principal that holds that legislatures and governments are trustees of the natural world with a duty to protect it to ensure the welfare and survival of present and future generations. Wood also originated the approach called atmospheric trust litigation, which holds governments worldwide accountable for reducing carbon pollution within their jurisdictions. The most spectacular such case is the Our Children’s Trust case in which 21 young people are suing the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights by promoting the production of greenhouse gases through the use of fossil fuels. The children want governments to reduce their emissions by 6% a year. The Our Children’s Trust case has been called the most important lawsuit in the world and its roots are in the thought of Wood. Wood is also the author of the 2013 book Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, which she hopes will help fuel a tide of litigation worldwide.

Length: 68 minutes

Item#: BVL154379

ISBN: 978-1-64481-093-4

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA.