Editor's Note

Author:Veronica Kennedy
Pages:2-2
 
CONTENT
Rising: The Story of How a Tiny Community in Southern
Louisiana Will Save the Largest Delta in North America
by Professor Lewyn and Mr. Hudson, respectively, have a
domestic U.S. focus. Professor Lewyn’s article analyzes how a
well-intentioned statute has triggered increased consumption
worsening New York State’s impact on the environment, while
Mr. Hudson’s article highlights how poor implementation poli-
cies related to improved technology wreaked havoc on a small
town in Louisiana.
As each attempts to analyze an IPAT variable, these articles
illustrate just how complex the human impact on the environ-
ment is and how challenging it can be to create, follow, and cor-
rect the laws and policies we adopt to reduce that impact.
I would like to thank our authors for contributing intrigu-
ing work to the study of sustainable development law and
policy. Their scholarship is an inspiration to us all as we search
to understand how to improve our livelihoods and maintain a
healthy planet. Lastly, I owe a debt of gratitude to my staff who
works tirelessly to make this publication thrive.
2Sustainable Development Law & Policy
In the 1970s, Barry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich, and John
Holdren —preeminent scientists who helped spur the mod-
ern environmental movement—created a simple equation
to determine human environmental impact: impact (I) is equal
to the product of population (P), affluence (A), and technology
(T).1 More specifically, the population of an area multiplied by
its consumption per capita and the resource requirements of cre-
ating, transporting, and disposing of the goods and services that
make up the population’s consumption equals that population’s
environmental impact. As such, to merely maintain the rate of
our impact on the environment as population grows, our con-
sumption must decrease and/or we must create, use, and dispose
of technology more efficiently.
The IPAT equation has justifiably been criticized as overly
simplistic because population, affluence, and technology are
not mutually exclusive factors. For example, if a technology,
like a cell phone, is created using half the natural resources, the
environmental impact is not necessarily reduced by half if that
increase in efficiency also reduces the price of the cell phone
spurring increased consumption by the population. Population,
affluence, and technology are nonetheless important factors
to consider when molding environmental policies and law to
improve sustainable development across the globe. Although
imperfect, this equation still provides significant insight into the
basic roots of current environmental problems.
In this latest issue of Sustainable Development Law and
Policy, our article authors highlight the influence of the IPAT fac-
tors on law and policy and the influence of law and policy on these
factors. Professor Hardaway’s article, As the World Welcomes its
Seven Billionth Human: Reflections and Population, Law, and
the Environment, is the focal point of this issue, highlighting
each factor of the IPAT formula and the overwhelming impact
population has on the environment.
Two articles, U.S. Food Aid Reform through Alternative
Dispute Resolution by Ms. Griswold and Indonesia’s Role in
Realizing the Goals of ASEAN’s Agreement on Transboundary
Haze Pollution by Mr. Jerger, take an international look at
policies that can be used today to reduce environmental impacts
created by problematic consumption that is dependent on popu-
lation and technology, respectively.
Case-study specific articles, How Environmental Review
Can Generate Car-Induced Pollution: A Case Study and Laplace
EDITOR'S NOTE
FEATURES:
15 | OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF
WATER PRIVATIZATION CONTRACTS:
A PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE POLICY
by Mary Strayhorne
34 | GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD:
A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY?
by Susan Johnson
46 | ARTICLE XX: PROTECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH,
THE ENVIRONMENT, AND THE NEW PROVISIONS
OF EUROPEAN UNION'S FUEL QUALITY DIRECTIVE
by Joy Marie Virga
Veronica Kennedy
1 See Marian R. Chertow, The IPAT Equation and Its Variants: Changing
Views of Technology and Environmental Impact, 4 J. INDUS. ECOLOGY 13, 15-18
(2001).