The Internet is abuzz this afternoon with news a federal judge in Portland sentenced a former Earth Liberation Front activist to read two books along with a five-year prison stint.
One of those books (invariably the one getting all the attention) is David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell's books are notoriously polarizing—some people swear by them, others deride the work as superficial. (I personally enjoyed this specious story he told at The Moth some years back.)
But potentially more relevant to Portlanders is the other book US District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Rebecca Rubin to read: Nature's Trust by University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood.
Wood advocates use of the so-called "public trust doctrine" to force governments to act in the interest of the environment. Environmental protection laws have proven weak, she says, but there are well-established legal precedents that natural resources must be protected for the public good.
And Portlanders may get a chance to vote on Wood's opinion this year. As the Mercury's reported, her work—the legal theories detailed in Nature's Trust—serve as a foundation for an initiative petition that would formerly establish a public trust around the city's water supply. The arrangement, proponents say, would give citizens important new leverage. The campaign, called the Cascadian Public Trust Initiative, hopes to put the matter before voters in November.