The environment is obviously one of the biggest issues of the moment. The federal political parties are spending their summers trying to sell Canadians on their plans for the future, provincial governments are unveiling regulations to address waste, and local municipalities are getting into the game with increasingly sophisticated recycling programs. As our environmental policies move far beyond establishing emissions standards or clean-up requirements, law and regulation is increasingly focused on creating incentives for business to reduce polluting activities and for consumers to adopt environmentally-friendly habits.
Given the desire to re-orient longstanding practices, laws not traditionally considered part of the environmental file should also be examined to determine whether they are consistent with promoting "greener" behaviour. In fact, Parliament recently passed a new law that tries to embed sustainable development into government policy. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) acknowledes that the notion of "green copyright" sounds odd, yet the policy choices found in Bill C-61 disappointingly run directly counter to the current emphasis on the environment.