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Environmental Justice and Sustainability: Setting the Agenda for Legal Education


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Prof. John Dernbach's presentaion on setting the agenda for environmental justice within legal education. Taken from the Environmental Justice in Legal Education event held at Warwick University on 29th March 2010.

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Environmental Justice and Sustainability: Setting the Agenda for Legal Education

  1. 1. Environmental Justice and Sustainability: Setting the Agenda for Legal Education Prof. John Dernbach Widener University Law School March 29, 2010
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>I. Sustainable Development & Environmental Justice </li></ul><ul><li>II. Drivers for Sustainability in Legal Education </li></ul><ul><li>III. Sustainability in Seven Core Areas of Legal Education </li></ul>
  3. 3. I. Sustainable Development & Environmental Justice
  4. 4. Sustainable Development <ul><li>The iconic definition: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (1987) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Conventional Development <ul><li>PROGRESS: </li></ul><ul><li>--Peace & security </li></ul><ul><li>--Economic Development </li></ul><ul><li>--Social Development/ Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>--Supportive National Governance </li></ul><ul><li>PRICE OF PROGRESS: </li></ul><ul><li>--Environment & Natural Resources </li></ul>
  6. 6. Brundtland Commission (1987) <ul><li>Two problems with post-war development model: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing and widespread environmental degradation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large-scale poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These problems are related </li></ul>
  7. 7. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development--1992 <ul><li>Nations of the world (including US & UK) endorsed ambitious action plan for sustainable development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agenda 21—comprehensive plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rio Declaration—statement of principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forest Action Plan </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Sustainable Development <ul><li>PROGRESS: </li></ul><ul><li>--Peace & security </li></ul><ul><li>--Economic development </li></ul><ul><li>--Social development/human rights </li></ul><ul><li>--Environmental protection/restoration </li></ul><ul><li>--Supportive national governance </li></ul>
  9. 9. This is not just another name for environmental law <ul><li>It is also about: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Systematically reducing our ecological footprint (esp. in developed countries) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systematically redirecting our economies toward the environmental protection and restoration, including the employment opportunities that will accompany that transformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making it easier for unskilled and low-income persons to enter and remain in the workforce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assisting similar transformations in developing countries </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Thus, sustainable development is: <ul><li>Development that-- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects and restores the environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminates and prevents large-scale poverty. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or: Ecologically sustainable human development </li></ul>
  11. 11. Environmental Justice & Sustainability <ul><li>Environmental Justice : Protecting low-income and minority communities from disproportionate health effects caused by pollution </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability - </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental justice at local and global scales </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intragenerational and intergenerational equity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tends to be more proactive, less reactive </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. II. Drivers for Sustainability in Legal Education <ul><li>Outside legal profession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clients* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Universities and colleges* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nongovernmental organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Within legal profession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Bar Association as well as several state and local Bar Associations* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Law firms and other law organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current and prospective law students </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Clients <ul><li>Business, government, nongovernmental </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate sustainability efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate codes of conduct (e.g., CERES) </li></ul><ul><li>Private standards or certification systems </li></ul>
  14. 14. Universities and Colleges <ul><li>Major area of U.S. sustainability progress since 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop institutional plan to become climate neutral </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In meantime, take two tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>677 Commitments as of 3/24/10 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most law schools are part of universities </li></ul>
  15. 15. Bar Associations <ul><li>American Bar Association </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) Model Sustainability Policy and Implementation Guidelines for Law Organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Massachusetts Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>California Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future </li></ul>
  16. 16. III. Sustainability in Seven Core Areas of Legal Education <ul><li>Curriculum & teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Scholarship & research </li></ul><ul><li>Buildings & operations </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach & service </li></ul><ul><li>Student life </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional mission, policy, & planning </li></ul><ul><li>External stakeholders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Calder & Dautremont-Smith (2009) </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Curriculum & Teaching <ul><li>Knowledge and skills that future lawyers will need include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainability framework, especially relationship between environmental quality and human well-being </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to work with people from other disciplines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agility in different legal systems (from local to international) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legislative and contract drafting, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Substantive law-- “beyond environmental law” </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Trends in curriculum & teaching <ul><li>Courses that focus on or emphasize: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biodiversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Textbooks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental law texts that introduce sustainability and environmental justice concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stand-alone texts on human rights and environment, climate change, and biodiversity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Texts in other courses (e.g., property) with sustainability perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interdisciplinary programs in law and sustainability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental clinics that focus on sustainability and environmental justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graduate law programs on climate change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joint degree programs </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Scholarship and Research <ul><li>Law for sustainability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>empirical research on the design and implementation of new or modified legal instruments and institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>engaged scholarship--writing that provides information, tools and ideas that policymakers, practicing lawyers, and others can use to address the challenges and opportunities of sustainability and environmental justice </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Copyright ©2007 by the National Academy of Sciences Clark, William C. (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 1737-1738 Research characterized by the motivations that inspire it
  21. 21. Law Journal Articles on Climate Change or Global Warming 1990-2008
  22. 22. Law Journal Articles on Sustainable Development or Sustainability 1990-2008
  23. 23. Law Journal Articles on Environmental Justice 1990-2010
  24. 24. Research Centers and Institutes <ul><li>Centers or institutes that focus on sustainable development issues or legal tools to foster sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Centers that are devoted entirely or substantially to climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative interdisciplinary research and programs (e.g., Yale-Columbia Environmental Performance Index, ranking UK 14 and US 63 out of 163 countries in 2010) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Buildings and Operations <ul><li>Concrete and visible manifestation of a university’s or law school’s commitment to sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful learning opportunity for students </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LEED certification for new buildings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation in ABA-EPA Climate Challenge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student initiatives </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Outreach and Service <ul><li>Partnerships with local communities and regions </li></ul><ul><li>Community-centered research and problem solving (e.g., environmental justice clinics) </li></ul><ul><li>Energy and climate change centers </li></ul><ul><li>Public lecture programs, roundtables, and other forums </li></ul>
  27. 27. Student Life <ul><li>Student culture, including school-provided living arrangements, new student orientation, student governance and other activities that foster active citizen leadership and learning </li></ul><ul><li>Student participation, support, and advocacy for energy and water conservation, waste reduction, and other sustainability efforts. </li></ul><ul><li>Students holding administrators accountable for meeting their commitments. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Institutional Mission, Policy, and Planning <ul><li>Centers and institutes grow out of a university’s sense of mission, and often amplify or modify its mission—especially mission of service to community </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit law school sustainability policy </li></ul><ul><li>Internal sustainability process </li></ul><ul><li>Specific steps toward sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>University commitments that affect their law schools </li></ul>
  29. 29. External Stakeholders <ul><li>Law organizations, bar associations, nongovernmental organizations, government, and law clients </li></ul><ul><li>Surrounding communities </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach to external stakeholders is essential </li></ul>
  30. 30. Summing Up <ul><li>Challenges of achieving environmental quality and reducing large-scale poverty in next half century are enormous </li></ul><ul><li>While technological innovation is important, legal innovation is equally important </li></ul><ul><li>Law schools have an essential role: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in training lawyers to do that work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in conducting research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in service to their communities </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. “ They gave their today for our tomorrow.”
  32. 32. Who are we, and how do we want to be remembered?
  33. 33. <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Prof. John C. Dernbach </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Widener University Law School </li></ul><ul><li>3800 Vartan Way </li></ul><ul><li>Harrisburg, PA 17106-9382 </li></ul><ul><li>(717) 541-1933 </li></ul><ul><li>(717) 541-3966 (fax) </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>