This speech was presented on February 2, 2006, at St. Thomas University School of Law, as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series program.

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It is a pleasure for me to be here at St. Thomas and to see so many great legal heroes ensconced in this university, including the president and so many others. As I was signing some copies of my book Crimes Against Nature, it occurred to me that the word “environment” does not appear in the book. I thought I would talk about that today. To me, the environment is the most critical battle because it is the most critical issue in our democracy. Democracy, really all government, is about how we distribute the goods of the land. The best measure of how democracy functions is to assess if we distribute these goods fairly. Do we make sure that the public trust assets, the air, the water, the wandering animals, the wildlife, the public lands, which are the primary pulse for most people in our society, are maintained in the hands of all people? Or do we allow them to be consolidated by corporate power or by other power centers in our society that have political clout or covenant?