Environmental Policy in the Anthropocene

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Environmentalists are increasingly confronted with two emerging ideas about the natural world: that there is no balance of nature, and that nature cannot be easily separated, if at all, from human action. Many are now embracing a new reality—known as the “Anthropocene”—reflecting the magnitude of human influences over the planet.

The Anthropocene implies a new way of thinking about environmental problems. No longer can environmental problems be thought of as simply the consequence of human violations on nature’s balance, nor can they be solved by simply separating the natural world from humans. Instead, environmental problems become questions of how to resolve competing human demands over an ever-changing natural world.

What institutions best allow us to resolve those competing human demands over a dynamic natural world? What policies will allow us to account for dynamic nature and dynamic human action in this human-dominated era? By bringing together scholars and practitioners from a variety of disciplines, this volume aims to foster an engaging discussion of environmental policy in the Anthropocene—as well as the future of environmentalism.

Download PDF | Download Kindle E-Book

Table of Contents

"Environmentalism Without Romance" by Shawn Regan

"Designing Institutions for the Anthropocene" by James L. Huffman

"Environmental Policy for the Anthropocene: Information, Incentives, and Effective Institutions" by Robert K. Fleck and F. Andrew Hanssen

"Ecological Dynamism, Economic Dynamism, and Co-Evolution: Implications for Urban Land Use Planning" by Mark Pennington

"Dynamic Environmentalism and Adaptive Management: Legal Obstacles and Opportunities" by Jonathan H. Adler

"Sailing the Sagebrush Sea" by Gregg Simonds

"Ecosystem Services: What are the Public Policy Implications?" by R. David Simpson

"How Humans Spare Nature" by Linus Blomqvist


“With the advent of a new epoch—the Anthropocene, where humans dramatically shape the functioning of ecosystems—a new approach to environmental policy is required. Gone are many of the standard constructs of the preceding era, such as ‘balance of nature’ and ‘equilibrium ecology.’ The chapters in this volume begin an examination of what types of constructs may be appropriate for this new era, and what associated policies might follow.”

—Roger A. Sedjo
Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future

Shawn Regan is a research fellow at PERC and the director of outreach and publications. He holds a M.S. in Applied Economics from Montana State University and degrees in economics and environmental science from Berry College. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Quartz, High Country News,...
Read More > More Articles by Shawn Regan >
James L. Huffman is dean emeritus of the Lewis & Clark Law School and a PERC board member. His recent article "People-Made Law: Spontaneous Order,Change, and the Common Law" appears in the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy.James Huffman has served as the Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon, and served...
Read More > More Articles by James Huffman >
PERC Senior Fellow Jonathan Adler
PERC Senior Fellow Jonathan Adler is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a prolific scholar, publishing on such topics as regulatory takings, water marketing, fisheries management, and the judicial limits of federal environmental regulation.He is the...
Read More > More Articles by Jonathan Adler >
Mark Pennington is a professor of public policy and political economy at King's College of London and a 2015 Lone Mountain Fellow at PERC. He is the author of Robust Political Economy: Classical Liberalism and the Future of Public Policy.
Read More > More Articles by Mark Pennington >
Linus Blomqvist is Director of Conservation at the Breakthrough Institute, a paradigm-shifting think tank dedicated to giving people new ways to think about energy and the environment, and a 2014 PERC Lone Mountain Fellow. 
Read More > More Articles by Linus Blomqvist >