The Nature’s Trust doctrine states that the government is obligated to act as trustee of the natural resources and assets that are subject to public concern and cannot destroy or sell to private interests what the people rightly own for themselves and for their posterity. It is a fundamental constraint on governmental power. Trustees are bound by exacting fiduciary obligations to protect the assets of the trust and must act in good faith out of absolute loyalty to the citizen beneficiaries. It protects the people’s natural assets.
Nature’s Trust is both a legal construct with precedent and a philosophical idea that could protect our future. Nature’s Trust is an ancient legal principle known as the public trust doctrine. Some natural resources are so vital to public welfare and humane survival that they should not fall into private control. Public trust doctrine demands the government act as a trustee. This is a core principle of democracy that the people control vital decisions and that vital assets are held in common trust.
Nature’s Trust has been upheld at every level by courts including the Supreme Court, by most state courts, and has been applied in many counties with success. It is of course up to us, as citizens to pressure our elected officials to enforce this principle. They receive constant pressure from polluters and corporate interests to allow the theft of our common assets.
The thing you have to understand about natural systems is there is no mercy, only law. It doesn’t matter if you believe in the laws of nature or if you understand them, if you violate them you will suffer the consequences. Chemistry, physics, biology, geology don’t care what religion or what class you are. This is not a matter of political discretion. It will not be decided by agency regulations. Nature bats last. We are currently violating the laws of nature not only at the species and ecosystem level but at the level of atmospheric function, ocean health, and mass extinction. Will we attempt to find beneficial solutions or will we continue to bungle forward and await the harsh application of natural law?
Governmental regulatory agencies exist to permit damage. Permits are permits to damage. The regulations are nearly always written by the industries doing the harm. On top of that, many of the agencies are headed by industry insiders. This has been taken to a whole new level under the current regime. Currently meg-corporations are seizing astonishing amounts of property belonging to the citizens while the government turns a blind eye. Who will you trust to make decisions for future generations, industries making billions by externalizing their environmental costs and profiting by exploitation or we the people with the help of scientific research.
Politicians who take money from various interests should not be allowed to vote on any issue that impact those donors, there is an obvious conflict of interest. The appropriate action would be to recuse themselves.
Comparison of options:
Agents of the trustee
The law of nature is superior to every other. It is binding over the entire globe and at all times. No human laws are of any validity against it.
“We have gotten past the stage, my fellow citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children’s children will get the benefit of it.” Teddy Roosevelt speaking at the dedication of the Grand Canyon National Park.
“Nature is part of all of our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” Wendell Berry.