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Environment and Climate Change

Articles and Resources

Georgism has always been Green: a tale of two movements

Building upon the foundation laid in our first blog, “Green Georgism: Environmentalism through the eyes of Resource Justice,” our second piece delves deeper into the connections between Henry George’s ideas and key perspectives from the past century of environmentalism. This blog explores how Georgism dovetails with key aspects of environmentalism, and provides useful insights into the sustainable and equitable management of natural resources. By examining the broader definition of land as encompassing all natural materials, forces, and opportunities, we align George’s vision with modern environmental concerns, addressing issues such as urban sprawl, wealth inequality, and the preservation of natural capital.

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Green Georgism: Environmentalism through the eyes of Resource Justice

Our world is facing an ever-escalating array of environmental challenges. From the alarming rise in global temperatures and the subsequent impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events and shrinking ice caps, to the devastating consequences of deforestation, habitat loss, and species extinction, our planet is in dire need of urgent action. These challenges require us to think carefully about how we can promote the sustainable and equitable management of natural resources such as land, minerals, oceans and wildlife.

Here at the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation our core mission is to advance the ideas of Henry George and to realize his vision of a world that recognizes humanity’s collective right to the bounty provided by our planetary resources. We have historically focused on applying this Georgist worldview to urban land use and property tax reform. However, our pioneering research center, Resource Justice (RJ), is responding to these looming environmental challenges by expanding our mission and working to foster research into the sustainable, efficient and equitable utilization of natural resources. Recognizing the urgent need for actionable policy solutions motivated by compelling values and informed by responsive research, we consider these ecological concerns to be key priorities here at RJ.

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Unequal Ground: The Racialized Landscape of Land Ownership and Federal Buyouts in the United States

In the face of climate change’s far-reaching impacts, the notion of land as an unyielding and permanent resource has been shattered and replaced by a landscape in flux. Rising sea levels, intensified flooding, and other climate-related events have cast a shadow over the stability of our land, compelling us to rethink our approaches and policies in response to these evolving challenges.

One such approach is managed retreat, a concept entailing the relocation of human settlements and infrastructure from vulnerable or high-risk areas due to environmental factors. Within managed retreat, various strategies are employed, including acquisition and buyouts, zoning and land-use regulations, land swaps, and community engagement.

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Fiscal Weakness of Managed Retreat: Inequities and Local Disincentives

Climate change poses a significant threat to numerous regions in the United States, rendering them increasingly uninhabitable due to rising sea levels, flooding, wildfires, and more. As a response to this challenge, managed retreat has emerged as a strategy to relocate affected households, neighborhoods, and even communities away from harm’s way. Although managed retreat can involve a number of processes, the use of buyouts––the voluntary purchasing of private properties using public funds (which is intended to spur the relocation of at-risk households to lower risk locations), is a critical (and in many places, virtually the only) tool in a policy maker’s toolbox.

While physically moving people out of harm’s way makes intuitive sense, the real world applications of managed retreat-related buyouts are highly complex, emotional, and fraught with weighty fiscal and equity implications. Here we explore some basic financial considerations of managed retreat, shedding light on the challenges faced by affected municipalities and fundamental flaws in the system as a whole.

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Greenspace and Gentrification: How to ensure that urban parks & gardens benefit everyone

In this article we explore the complex question of how to ensure that greenspace and other urban amenities will actually benefit the communities to which they are targeted. We will highlight the many benefits of urban greenspace, explore the lesser-known implications for both nearby house prices and the rents faced by tenants, and discuss ways to ensure that the attractive greenspaces are financed by those households who they benefit most while also making sure that vulnerable tenants also share in their many desirable social and environmental outcomes.

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