Well, if you want to get nitpicky then some of the world’s first laws may have considered the environment though that may not be their most literal translation. Though I don’t consider myself much of a Christian anymore, the Bible is filled with information about how to treat your fellow man and the animals and plants of our world. Though it doesn’t say outright to live sustain-ably, the Golden Rule essentially says, “Do unto others as you would have done onto yourself”. To me, this means that you should treat others, whether they be man, animal, or land, with the same care and respect you would want for yourself.
The first landmark environmental court decision in the United States was decided in 1824 in the case of Merrit Martin v. William Waddell. This landmark case established one of the cornerstones of environmental law in the ‘Public Trust Doctrine.’ This established that tidal waters, such as bays, oceans and estuaries could not be privately owned. This meant people could not own an entire piece of land in tidal waters that they could use to gather and harvest resources, that these lands are open to all to use. Since the decision, the Public Land Trust has been one of the most prominent themes in Environmental Law.
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