Environmental Law, Disrupted.

Book cover of "Environmental Law, Disrupted."
Keith Hirokawa & Jessica Owley, Editors
Release Date

To date, U.S. law has largely served as an obstacle to an honest assessment of our preparedness to face the climate change challenge. Given that society has become comfortable amidst mild climatic conditions, and given a pervasive reluctance to change, extreme and abrupt climatic changes will hit hard. Our current legal structure maintains a dangerous status quo and it is time to unleash the potential of communities and the private sector to produce innovative solutions.

This book, the fourth in a series by the Environmental Law Collaborative, addresses disruption from a variety of influences and perspectives. Some essays consider the disruptive effects of environmental changes on human and ecological safety, security, and well-being, suggesting that the impacts of climate changes are not accounted for in the current legal system. Some identify key changes needed to respond to climatic challenges, social inequities, and dwindling grey and green resources. Others deconstruct social, political, and professional frameworks to understand how such influences might be used to disrupt the current regime, or even ones where expectations are being disrupted with the endorsement of law. Taken together, these essays provide an understanding of the cause, effect, and opportunity that environmental disruption presents in the climate change era.

About the Author

Keith Hirokawa is a Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and Professor of Law at Albany Law School, which he joined in 2009. He teaches courses involving environmental and natural resources law, land use planning, property law, and jurisprudence. His scholarship explores convergences in ecology, ethics, economics, and law, with particular attention given to local environmental law, ecosystem services policy, watershed management, and environmental impact analysis.

Jessica Owley is a Professor of Law and Faculty Director for the Environmental Law Program at the University of Miami School of Law. She specializes in environmental and property law, with a focus on climate change, and is a leading expert on private land conservation and conservation easements. Her interdisciplinary work explores ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as furthering other environmental goals in the context of drastic change. Her work is cited widely and has received multiple awards, including most recently the 2019 Morrison Prize for sustainability research. She annually participates as an observer at the annual treaty negotiations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Book Reviews

“Environmental law began against a backdrop of burning rivers. Now the entire planet is on fire. The law has not kept up with the science of climate disruption and species extinction, to name but two of the existential threats facing humanity in the 21st century. Environmental law is long overdue for a complete makeover to address the root causes of ecosystem degradation, unsustainable consumption of natural resources, and systemic racism. Environmental Law, Disrupted. captures the thinking of the most innovative scholars in the legal academy. Read it as if your life depended on it because it does."

—Prof. Pat Parenteau, Vermont Law School