It’s impossible to understand environmental law without also understanding the important role that private property plays in people’s lives and the way in which property law recognizes these values. After using two cases involving property rights to water to introduce ourselves to property law, we’ll use the American constitutional approach to “takings” of property to determine when governments are forced to pay property-holders when environmental requirements infringe too much on private property rights. These cases are at the crux of an evolving philosophical dispute between whether we look at land merely as a personal commodity or as part of larger ecosystems that, often, demand recognition and require changes in personal behavior. In our “theory” session, we’ll introduce ourselves to a very powerful and famous economic model, the tragedy-of-the-commons model, that explains why markets often cannot adequately protect commonly held resources such as the oceans and atmosphere, and how legal regimes may be needed to correct the problem. We also post this week a peer-review essay exercise, which is mandatory for students wishing to obtain a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction.