Over the course of its 150-year history, California has successfully protected its scenic wilderness areas, restricted coastal oil drilling, regulated automobile emissions, preserved coastal access, improved energy efficiency, and, most recently, addressed global climate change. How has this state, more than any other, enacted so many innovative and stringent environmental regulations over such a long period of time? The first comprehensive look at California’s history of environmental leadership, California Greenin’ shows why the Golden State has been at the forefront in setting new environmental standards, often leading the rest of the nation.
From the establishment of Yosemite, America’s first protected wilderness, and the prohibition of dumping gold-mining debris in the nineteenth century to sweeping climate- change legislation in the twenty-first, David Vogel traces California’s remarkable environmental policy trajectory. He explains that this pathbreaking role developed because California had more to lose from environmental deterioration and more to gain from preserving its stunning natural geography. As a result, citizens and civic groups effectively mobilized to protect and restore their state’s natural beauty and, importantly, were often backed both by business interests and bystrong regulatory authorities. Business support for environmental regulation in California reveals that strict standards are not only compatible with economic growth but can also contribute to it. Vogel also examines areas where California has fallen short, particularly in water management and the state’s dependence on automobile transportation.
As environmental policy debates continue to grow more heated, California Greenin’ demonstrates that the Golden State’s impressive record of environmental accomplishments holds lessons not just for the country but for the world.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize, Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics Section of the American Political Science Association
David Vogel is professor emeritus in the Haas School of Business and the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His many books include The Politics of Precaution (Princeton) and The Market for Virtue.
"[A] truly fabulous book, one of the best I’ve read this year."—Alice Evans, London School of Economics Review of Books
"So, while California Greenin’ is a must read, expect more scholarship on this intriguing and important subject."—Thomas J. Osborne, Environmental History
"David Vogel’s thoughtful, engaging historical work explains how California evolved into an environmental policy leader, as competing economic interests and unusual alliances came together in reaction to serious pollution problems and threats to California’s scenic beauty. This is a timely book for all who want to understand why California is at the forefront of current national efforts to slow climate change and protect the environment."—Bruce Cain, Stanford University
"David Vogel pioneered the term ‘California effect’ and demonstrated its enormous impact on numerous areas of environmental policy. This important book explains the historical and political factors that have underpinned the Golden State’s enduring commitment to environmental protection and that continue to position it for national and global influence."—Barry Rabe, University of Michigan
"Timely and significant, California Greenin’ examines why the state’s environmental policies have long been so distinctive and influential. David Vogel offers insights into how California managed the tension between economic growth and environmental protection during the postwar era, and how other U.S. states can develop innovative environmental policies at a time when Washington politicians are seeking to roll back environmental standards."—Eric Patashnik, Brown University
"A comprehensive look at California’s pioneering environmental and energy policy accomplishments, California Greenin’ offers the first persuasive explanation for the aggressive and sometimes risky stands the state’s political leaders have taken to protect air, water, and natural lands. This brisk book is a much-needed primer on the role of regulation in delivering major improvements in quality of life."—Mary D. Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board
"Inspired by California’s geography, a mobilized citizenry and frequently cooperative business community joined together to protect the Golden State’s natural treasures—and this long tradition of strong environmental protection has contributed to the state’s economic success. Vogel’s provocative history of the California model shows a way forward to a greener future."—Eric Rauchway, author of The Money Makers
"Although much has been written about the history of environmental policy and environmentalism in California, I am not aware of any single book that presents such a broad scope in terms of time (150+ years) and issue areas (mining, forests, coasts, water, air quality, and climate change). Readers will learn a tremendous amount about how natural resource management and environmental and energy policy have developed in California."—David M. Konisky, coauthor of Cheap and Clean
"Assessing a range of cases within California, Vogel argues that three state-level factors help account for the emergence of strong environmental regulations: citizen mobilization, business support, and regulatory capacity. The lessons from this book provide opportunities for scholars and practitioners to foster meaningful global change through local policies. This is a wonderful, powerful, and important book."—Benjamin Cashore, Yale University