Freyfogle, Eric T. 1952-
Freyfogle, Eric T. 1952-
Born January 21, 1952, in Decatur, IL; son of Edward B. and Ella Thompson Freyfogle; married Jane Ellen Moore, May 22, 1976; children: Luke Young-Joon, Anna Mee-Joo. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Lehigh University, B.A., 1973; University of Michigan, J.D., 1976. Politics: "Conservationist-communitarian." Religion: Christian.
Home—Urbana IL. Office—College of Law, 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, 61820. E-mail—[email protected].
Baker & Daniels, Indianapolis, IN, associate, 1980-83; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, professor of law, 1983—. Director, Prairie Rivers Network. Military service: U.S. Army, assistant to army general counsel, 1976-80; became captain.
Adult nonfiction award, Society of Midlands Authors, 1998-99, for Bounded People, Boundless Lands: Envisioning a New Land Ethic.
Justice and the Earth: Images for Our Planetary Survival, Free Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Bounded People, Boundless Lands: Envisioning a New Land Ethic, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1998.
(Editor, with J. Baird Callicott) Aldo Leopold, For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays and Other Writings, Shearwater Books (Washington, DC), 1999.
(Editor) The New Agarianism: Land, Culture, and the Community of Life, Shearwater Books (Washington, DC), 2001.
(With Dale Goble) Wildlife Law: Cases and Materials, Foundation Press (New York, NY), 2002.
The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good, Shearwater Books (Washington, DC), 2003.
On Private Property: Finding Middle Ground on the Ownership of Land, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2007.
Agrarianism and the Good Society: Land, Culture, Conflict, and Hope, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2007.
Natural Resources Law: Private Rights and Collective Governance, Thomson-West (Eagan, MN), 2007.
Contributor to books on conservation policy and environmental ethics. Contributor of articles on property ownership, natural resource law, environmental policy, and cultural commentary to periodicals, including legal journals and conservation magazines.
Eric T. Freyfogle is a professor of property and environmental law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an active member of the Midwestern environmental community. Justice and the Earth: Images for Our Planetary Survival, Freyfogle's first book, advocates for a view of the earth as an integrated whole for which humans have responsibility rather than as a collection of pieces of private property which landowners have the right to exploit. The latter, resource management view has generally predominated in Western cultures. Freyfogle finds the roots of this perspective in such philosophers as Plato and Descartes and traces its development forward through the Utilitarians and adherents of the Chicago school. Freyfogle claims that this perspective on the earth is the reason why humans have often behaved so destructively towards the planet. To "become adult" about the earth, humans need to expand their views of moral worth and community to include the entire earth and not just its human inhabitants. Characterizing the work as a "hard look at the broad and deep crisis of the environment" Hal Taussig said in the Philadelphia Inquirer that Freyfogle yet manages to avoid panic or overwhelm his readers with statistics.
The land ethic Freyfogle presents in Bounded People, Boundless Lands: Envisioning a New Land Ethic is based on the concept of "land health," an idea which was originally developed by Aldo Leopold. The key factors in land health are healthy soil, clean, flowing water, and a thriving population of native plant and animal species. The maintenance of all of these things requires cooperative efforts from all landowners, since ecosystems do not respect manmade boundaries. The solution, as laid out by Freyfogle, is a community of environmentally conscious and responsible landowners operating in a framework of broad national standards. The people who own the land are likely to know it best, and therefore to have the best idea of what constitutes health for that particular piece of property. However, individual landowners and local communities also need the sort of protection from developers and large corporations that national standards can afford.
In the introduction to his edited collection, The New Agarianism: Land, Culture, and the Community of Life, Freyfogle distills the main elements of Agarianism. As he defines it, agarianism "reaches beyond food production and rural living to include a wide constellation of ideas, loyalties, sentiments and hopes. It is a temperament and a moral orientation as well as a suite of economic practices, all arising out of the insistent truth that people everywhere are part of the land community, just as dependent as other life on the land's fertility and just as shaped by its mysteries and possibilities."
A common element in reviews of Freyfogle's work is praise for the way in which he "is able to discuss legal distinctions in a manner the layperson can understand and endure," as Caroline Pufault phrased it, writing online for the Sierra Club. M. LaBar in Choice similarly praised Bounded People, Boundless Lands as "easy to read, and almost as poetic in places as Robert Frost."
The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good is another exploration of Freyfogle's trademark theme. Here he suggests that national standards for the stewardship of the land can coexist with the rights of private property owners, so long as the common good always trumps the private interests and the courts play an active role in redefining property rights when changing conditions call for it. Freyfogle offers a narrative timeline to explain how property rights have changed to reflect changing values and needs, and he offers several case studies to illustrate his points. He also creates imaginary situations that allow the reader to consider what is fair or not fair about land-use laws and practices. Freyfogle would go so far, commented Harold Henderson in the journal Planning, as to curtail comments from individual landowners at public meetings if the comments are a defense of private interests (especially economic interests) over the public good. Patricia E. Salkin wrote in the Journal of the American Planning Association: "Freyfogle concludes with a powerful multifaceted call to action, challenging judges, lawmakers, policymakers, and citizen advocates to work together in a coordinated fashion to reach a fair level of governance in balancing private property rights and the common good." On Earth reviewer Jon Swan commented that Freyfogle "makes a convincing case," calling the author's argument "a welcome idea in an era of unchecked sprawl."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Freyfogle, Eric T., editor, The New Agarianism: Land, Culture, and the Community of Life, Shearwater Books (Washington, DC), 2001.
American Forests, spring, 2000, Carl Reidel, review of For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays and Other Writings, p. 13.
Audubon, January-February, 1999, review of Bounded People, Boundless Lands: Envisioning a New Land Ethic, p. 92.
Bloomsbury Review, July, 1999, Ron Steffens, review of Bounded People, Boundless Lands.
Choice, June, 1994, S. Hollenhorst, review of Justice and the Earth: Images for Our Planetary Survival, p. 1601; April, 1999, M. LaBar, review of Bounded People, Boundless Lands, p. 1476.
Journal of the American Planning Association, summer, 2004, Patricia E. Salkin, review of The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good, p. 377.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1993, review of Justice and the Earth, p. 910.
Landscape Architecture, February, 1999, interview with Eric T. Freyfogle, p. 14.
On Earth, fall, 2003, Jon Swan, review of The Land We Share, p. 40.
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 3, 1993, Hal Taussig, "An 11th-Hour Prognosis for Planet, with Hope for Transformation," p. M3.
Planning, January, 2004, Harold Henderson, review of The Land We Share, p. 44.
Publishers Weekly, August 23, 1993, review of Justice and the Earth, p. 56.
Western Historical Quarterly, winter, 1999, review of Bounded People, Boundless Lands, pp. 536-537.
Workbook, spring, 1999, Owen Grumbling, review of Bounded People, Boundless Lands, p. 24.
Community Bookshelf,http://bookshelf.ic.org/ (July 12, 2001), review of Bounded People, Boundless Lands.