Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Abstract

As the magnitude of the threat posed by climate change has become increasingly apparent, scholars and practitioners have begun a dialogue about how to reform environmental law to meet the challenge. Concepts like adaptive management, sustainability, and resilience have emerged in succession, as policy makers and scholars search for new moorings for our ethical and legal framework. While useful, these concepts have failed to provide a vision, goal, or solid ethical grounding for environmental law in the era of climate change. This project takes a new approach by exploring what we can learn from the field of Integrative Medicine. The history of the development of Integrative Medicine offers interesting parallels, contrasts, and lessons for environmental law as it grapples with the existential challenges of climate change. The article highlights the striking similarities between the limitations of conventional medicine that led doctors to pursue an integrative approach and the limitations that have stymied progress under our environmental laws. After reviewing developments in environmental law and policy that align with a path towards an integrative approach, it outlines the key unaddressed challenges, and prescribes a path towards integrative environmental law. It describes how these reforms grounded in lessons from Integrative Medicine will help us to better meet the challenges of climate change. In closing, it offers several case studies of ongoing law and policy advocacy that illustrate how an integrative approach can overcome the limitations that have impeded our progress in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges.

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