The lecture critiques the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) certification system, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The criteria for being highly rated under LEED emphasize energy efficiency and minimizing waste, but do not prioritize environmental health and limiting use of dangerous plastics and chemicals. USGBC is a non-profit organization, not a government agency, and has employees of for-profit organizations on its board of directors. The lecture discusses the implications of having a non-profit organization run this system and be responsible for evaluating environmental quality in architecture and construction.
Can law change human behavior to be less environmentally damaging? Law will be examined through case histories including: environmental effects of national security, pesticides, air pollution, consumer products, plastics, parks and protected area management, land use, urban growth and sprawl, public/private transit, drinking water standards, food safety, and hazardous site restoration. In each case we will review the structure of law and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.