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.

Listen on iTunes Listen on Google Play Music Listen on Spotify RSS Feed
Water utilities are tasked with providing clean, affordable water to their constituents, yet, a growing number of utilities are charging high prices for water and/or carrying out policies that decrease, rather than increase, water access. Participatory governance, which aims to enable those who are most closely affected by a problem to influence how policymakers solve that problem, may offer a path to a more just water policy. In “Turning Participation into Power: A Water Justice Case Study,” Prof. Jaime Lee of the University of Baltimore School of Law offers a revamped model of participatory governance she dubs the “Constituent Empowerment Model.” The model, which was recently implemented in Baltimore, Maryland, goes beyond traditional community involvement mechanisms and has the lofty goal of shifting power dynamics. In this episode, Linda Breggin, a Senior Attorney at ELI and Lecturer in Law at Vanderbilt Law School, speaks with Professor Lee to learn more.

In this episode of the People Places Planet Podcast, ELI’s six summer interns (Jesse Ferraoili, Rebecca Huang, Fatima Lawan, Priyanka Mahat, Raf Rodriguez, and Jeremy Rubin) join host Georgia Ray to reflect on their time as summer interns, talk a little more about who they are, what they are interested in, and what brought them to ELI. They discuss their independent research work, work done on broader projects at the organization, and things they have learned throughout the summer.
A Tufts rising senior will tell you about her fight for maternal health in the Black community, especially as it pertains to air quality. Another will dive into uranium contamination in America’s southwest. A third will talk about his work with prison populations and the heat related illnesses that can occur inside the system. All of them will discuss what it was like to work at ELI, how they hope to continue in the environmental space, and the lessons they have learned spending the summer in D.C. 

If you are interested in learning more about The Center for Black Maternal Health & Reproductive Justice at Tufts (with whom Fatima worked closely on her project), you can visit their website.

In this episode of the People Places Planet Podcast, former Research Associate Shehla Chowdhury joins host Georgia Ray to reflect on her time as a research associate, which ended in June 2022. She discusses her work in the nascent field of environmental peacebuilding, while also delving into her contributions to the local government environmental assistance network, differences between domestic and international environmental work, and her takeaways from studying non-governmental organizations in the Global North and Global South.

Interest and urgency in advancing environmental justice has gained new momentum in the United States in recent years. In 2021, we spoke to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette to learn about New Jersey’s newly enacted EJ law. In this latest episode, he joins us again to discuss proposed regulations for implementing the law. The episode is part of the Groundtruth series created in partnership with Beveridge & Diamond, one of the nation’s leading environmental law firms.

Interest and urgency in advancing environmental justice has gained new momentum in the United States in recent years. But what about the rest of the world? This episode takes a global look at EJ, including its relationship with human rights and climate justice issues, and shares what companies can do to advance EJ goals more broadly. The episode is part of the Groundtruth series created in partnership with Beveridge & Diamond, one of the nation’s leading environmental law firms.

For more than a decade, ELI and Vanderbilt University Law School have featured some of the year’s best academic thinking on legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems via the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR).  Linda Breggin, a Senior Attorney at ELI and a Lecturer in Law at Vanderbilt University Law School who co-founded ELPAR, and Kritsen Sarna, a Vanderbilt law student who served as editor-in-chief, talk to Howard Learner, President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, to find out his thoughts on environmental citizen suits, the subject of one of this year’s featured articles.

The Environmental Law Institute’s Blight Revitalization Initiative for Green, Healthy Towns (BRIGHT) program released The BRIGHT Guide to help communities develop and execute corridor projects in their own neighborhoods to produce positive health, ecological, and economic outcomes. In this episode, ELI Research Associate Georgia Ray speaks with Scott Wilson Badenoch Jr., Founder and Executive Director of ELI’s BRIGHT Program; Alda Yuan, Managing Director and Lead Editor of The BRIGHT Guide; and Noble Smith, Guide Author and Editor. Scott, Alda, and Noble explain what is inside The BRIGHT Guide and how it works, who it benefits, and how listeners can get started using the resource in their own communities.

As the agency responsible for regulating the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity, in addition to natural gas and hydropower projects, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) plays an integral role when it comes to U.S. environmental law and policy. In the latest episode of People Places Planet Podcast, Emily Mallen, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, D.C, talks to Matt Christiansen, FERC’s General Counsel. Emily and Matt discuss a variety of topics, including climate change, renewable energy, the grid, and energy justice. To listen, visit or find us on your favorite podcast app.

The Martín Peña channel is an urban tidal channel connected to the San Juan Bay Estuary, located in Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. According to the 2020 Census, nearly 11,000 people live in the Martin Peña channel area. Sadly, flooding is a constant threat. In this episode, Elissa Torres-Soto, a Staff Attorney at ELI, speaks with three young activists from the area: Krystal Géigel, Mayrita Rosario, and Jeymi Benítez. The trio are members of Líderes Jóvenes en Acción (LIJAC), which in English translates to Young Leaders in Action.

El Caño Martín Peña es un canal urbano conectado al estuario de la Bahía de San Juan, ubicado en la ciudad de San Juan, la capital de Puerto Rico. Según el Censo de 2020, existe una densidad poblacional en el área de casi once mil personas. Desafortunadamente, un grave riesgo para los residentes son las constantes inundaciones. En este episodio, Elissa Torres-Soto, abogada de ELI, habla con tres líderes comunitarios jóvenes que viven en el área: Krystal Géigel, Mayrita Rosario y Jeymi Benitez. Los tres son miembros de Líderes Jóvenes en Acción (LIJAC), Young Leaders in Action en inglés.