Vantage Point

Vol. 29 No. 1

Scott B. Grover is the issue editor of the Summer 2014 issue of Natural Resources & Environment.

As this finds its way to paper, Germany takes the World Cup. Admittedly the timing of my writing is part procrastination, part aplomb. When I agreed to shepherd this quarter’s magazine, International Environmental Issues, nearly nine months ago, I gave little thought to the proximity of the publication to the World Cup. (I’m a baseball fan at heart.) But when my list of to-dos turned to this introduction, I embraced the idea of penning it on the last Sunday of the tournament.

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For weeks now, we have been witness to world’s best. And for all but one country, the best proved inadequate. It is no stretch of the imagination though to think that the staffs and players for the runners-up will analyze not only their own team’s respective performances but also those of their peers. And you can likewise count on that analysis becoming tactics for future matches.

The editors of Natural Resources & Environment extend our coverage to global issues with this idea in mind: informed discourse and understanding on the environmental legal matters confronting the Earth must draw from views from all corners of the globe. Diversity of experience fosters creativity and ingenuity, whether you play soccer or football (or think that was repetitive), or you fashion the development of law or policy. Even if you subscribe to Mark Twain’s view that there are no new ideas, you have to accept that when the “old ideas” are placed in our “mental kaleidoscope . . . they make new and curious combinations.” Hence, with the future portending (by many accounts) a world unfamiliar, the least this magazine can do is facilitate the sharing of ideas from a multitude of global vantage points.

Our trip starts, ironically, at home, with an article exploring the basis for a congressional remedy to judicially imposed limits on the sovereignty of tribal nations that fail to comport with international human rights law and impede the sovereign powers of tribes to protect their reservation environments. From there, we move into the Gulf of Mexico and consider how hydrocarbon exploration and production there will be impacted given the approval of an agreement between the United States and Mexico governing the development of future fields that are near or across the countries’ maritime boundary in the Gulf. Next, we consider what legal responsibility the U.N. owes to victims of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that, by many accounts, appears to have been caused by a United Nations peacekeeping force visiting the country. You will then find articles providing in-depth examinations on the landmark international environmental treaty the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the propagation of nanotechnology product registries in Europe, and the resurgent underground trade of African elephant ivory in the United States and efforts to stop it before elephants are poached out of existence. Finally, we close with two articles on agricultural biotechnologies. The first considers the role for those technologies in facilitating the global adaptation of agricultural production to potential climate change impacts. The second explores regulatory efforts to protect biological diversity without impeding advancements in the field.

We hope there is much to make here, whatever your goals may be.

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