2021 Ruth Wright Distinguished Lecture in Natural Resources

Are We Saved? Tempering Our Expectations for Natural Resources Management under the Biden Administration

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Marcilynn A. Burke
Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law
University of Oregon School of Law

Almost forty years ago, Dean Derrick Bell, published the book entitled, And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice.  In his book, he tells a story of apparent triumphs, followed by continuing travails.  He describes the United States as a place that seemingly has made great progress in its efforts to achieve racial justice, but how its facial progress actually masks and sustains systemic failures.

The challenges in the management of the nation’s natural resources, though very different (and yet not unrelated to racial justice), are nonetheless quite complex and woven into the very fabric of the nation.  The country has many urgent needs with respect to energy development, preservation and conservation, climate change, and climate justice.  This presentation will outline a few of the great hopes for natural resources management under the Biden Administration and this next cycle of “reform.”  It will examine some of the factors that make it more likely for us to be saved or save ourselves, so that at the conclusion of the Biden Administration, we do not utter the words of the prophet Jeremiah.  “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”  Jeremiah 8:20 

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