Government action on the environment: what does “success” look like?

Frontiers in the Environment: Big Questions

There are many pathways to sustainability but few overall strategies that do not include some action by local, state and national governments. Yet whether reading daily news from D.C. or seeing the failures of large meetings like the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, government is seen at best as an obstacle and at worst to be written off as a meaningful actor. However, given that government involvement is necessary to solve problems like global climate change, are there success stories to share? Eric Lind, postdoctoral associate in the College of Biological Sciences; Julia Frost Nerbonne, executive director of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light; Kate Knuth, Boreas Leadership Program director and former Minnesota State Representative; and Jessica Tritsch, senior organizing representative for the Sierra Club Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Campaig, examine case studies of successful government action from multiple perspectives inside and outside government, that can serve as models for future efforts.

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