Ecology, Ethics, and Private Land

Prof. Eric Freyfogle, JD

University of Illinois College of Law

Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 1:15pm to 3:15pm

Mississippi Room, Coffman Memorial Union

Are ecology and private property inherently in conflict? Drawing upon law, history, and philosophy, Freyfogle argues that private property is best understood as a dynamic, social institution, not an unchanging individual right. Private rights in land, water, and other parts of nature have long been tempered by concerns about the public interest, including an obligation for owners to use their property in ways that cause no harm. Those rights have been tempered too by the longstanding idea that water and wildlife are owned by the people collectively, even when located on private land private property can be reformed to accommodate concerns about environmental degradation and desires for pleasing and healthy human surroundings, Freyfogle contends that without sacrificing property's core economic and political values. 


February 10, 2004