Ecosystems, economics to be focus of 2017 Boehl lecture

Ecosystems, economics to be focus of 2017 Boehl lecture

Keith Hirokawa

When it comes to environmental law, local and federal governments approach policy in different ways. 

Exploring those differences can lend insight into the ways that a community interacts with its environment, says Professor Keith Hirokawa, the speaker at this year's Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy. The lecture is April 5 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in Room 275 at the Brandeis School of Law. It is open to the public. 

Hirokawa, an associate professor at Albany Law School, focuses his scholarship on convergences in ecology, ethics, economics and law, with particular attention given to local environmental law, ecosystem services policy, watershed management and environmental impact analysis.

His Boehl lecture will "explore what the ties are that bind communities to their ecosystems," he says. 

A fundamental difference between federal and local environmental law is that local governments are ecologically situated in that community. 

"It's the situatedness that makes it difficult to understand where the environment ends and the community begins," he says. "There's no federal counterpart to that."

Nature can bring real economic value, such as wetlands that filter water or trees that provide shade. Local governments are direct beneficiaries of these services, Hirokawa says. 

"When we lose ecosystems, we have to find a way to replace these services," he says. "The point is to make these connections less invisible."