People Places Planet Podcast

Welcome to ELI’s People Places Planet Podcast. Here, listeners can gain insight on some of the thinking behind ELI's work. Below you will find our most recent episodes. Be sure to tune into our special series on Environmental Disruptors.

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Increasingly, independent third parties—better known as “corporate compliance monitors”--are appointed to oversee a company’s compliance following the settlement of a criminal or, sometimes, civil enforcement case. Justin Savage of Sidley Austin LLP, speaks with Ike Adams, a Partner at Sidley Austin, and Michele Edwards and Brad Wilson, both with StoneTurn, a global advisory firm. The trio discuss corporate compliance monitorships, which has been a perennial hot topic in DOJ enforcement, particularly in the environmental space over the last 5 years. The episode is part of The Enforcement Angle series, featuring conversations about state and federal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations with senior enforcement officials and thought leaders on environmental enforcement in the United States and globally. 

Global sustainable development requires attention to environmental, developmental, and social priorities. ELI’s Georgia Ray speaks with ELI Visiting Attorney Tomkeen Mobegi, an international law expert whose past work has focused on climate change, environmental governance, and human rights and development in the Global South. Tomkeen shares his perspective on intersectional and international legal education, the importance of international treaties, and the unique approach of the United States in the international legal space. 

International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 to bring attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. One women’s issue that is often overlooked is access to clean water. In this episode, ELI’s Georgia Ray speaks with Elizabeth Koch, ELI’s Senior Manager of International Programs, and Jessica Troell, Director of ELI’s International Water Program, about two ELI initiatives pertaining to women and water: strengthening the recognition and protection of water tenure of the world’s most vulnerable populations; and the importance of inclusive decisionmaking in water diplomacy processes and the resultant positive implications for regional peace and human security.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment & Natural Resources Division is tasked with enforcing the United States’ civil and criminal environmental laws. In this episode, Justin Savage and Nicole Noelliste of Sidley Austin LLP talk with Todd Kim, the Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ ENRD, and Kate Konschnik, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of ENRD. The episode is part of The Enforcement Angle series, featuring conversations about state and federal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations with senior enforcement officials and thought leaders on environmental enforcement in the United States and globally. 

Many view the early 1970s as the dawn of environmental law here in the United States. President Nixon signed NEPA into law on January 1, 1970. By December of that same year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed. Across the Atlantic, France was similarly focused on the environment, and created the Ministry of the Environment in 1971. Was this pure serendipity or were there cultural and historical factors at play that contributed to that almost concurrent establishment?  And what other parallels existed between France and the United States in their environmental regulatory journeys? In this episode, ELI Visiting Attorney Aïcha Ghmouch discusses her work examining these two frameworks.

With its deeply forested mountains, unique rock formations, vast plains, and moonlike deserts, New Mexico—the fifth largest state of the nation—boasts a unique landscape. Tasked with protecting and restoring the environment while fostering a healthy and prosperous New Mexico for present and future generations, the New Mexico Environment Department covers a lot of ground. In this episode, Justin Savage, a Partner and the Global Co-Leader of the Environmental practice at Sidley Austin LLP, speaks with New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney and the former Director of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, Doug Parker.

February 2 is World Wetlands Day! Wetlands are critically important ecosystems contributing to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, and world economies. Sadly, nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests. Urgent action is therefore needed to reverse wetland loss and protect existing wetlands. In this episode, we speak with Ross Weaver, the Program Assistant Director for Wetlands Watch. This podcast is the first in a series of episodes dedicated to highlighting the incredible work done by wetland heroes throughout the country. Some of the project discussed in this podcast include the Community Rating System Workgroup, the Design Collaboratory, the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Program, and the Fight the Flood Program

The Environmental Law Institute has been making law work for people, places, and the planet for more than 50 years. And the year 2022 was no different. In this episode, John Pendergrass, ELI’s Vice President of Programs and Publications, and Sandy Thiam, Associate Vice President of Research & Policy and head of the Judicial Education Program, share highlights from our research department in 2022. Jay and Sandy also offer a preview of what’s in store for 2023. 
Tune into other podcasts mentioned in this episode: Artificial Intelligence, State Protection of Nonfederal Waters, ELI’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse, and the National Wetlands Awards

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts future warming, climate scientists play a crucial role in understanding what ecosystem functions and services are impacted by climate change. Without effective climate science communication, coordination and collaboration among federal agencies, NGOs, scientists, and legislators, environmental policymaking processes will be incredibly difficult. In this episode, ELI’s Georgia Ray speaks with ELI Science Fellow John Doherty about his paleoclimatology research, current climate change policy discussions, and barriers associated with making climate science education accessible. 

The significant environmental and human health benefits that are linked to electrifying transportation cannot be downplayed. Electric vehicles (EVs) do not produce tailpipe emissions, and, when charged using electricity generated from renewable sources like solar and wind, result in no operational upstream emissions either. But as more EVs reach the roads, governments will need to address a host of new environmental and social challenges. In this episode, ELI’s Georgia Ray and Jack Lyman, a partner at Marten Law LLP, reflect on the role EV production and use plays within a just energy transition. The episode is part of The Youth Review podcast series. 
Interested in learning more? Check out these articles and posts on EV emissions, EV battery production, EV charging networks, and environmental justice.