Vibrant Environment


All | Biodiversity | Climate Change and Sustainability | Environmental Justice | Governance and Rule of Law | Land Use and Natural Resources | Oceans and Coasts | Pollution Control

All blog posts are the opinion of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ELI, the organization, or its members.

For inquiries concerning ELI’s Vibrant Environment blog, please contact the Blog Editor at blogeditor@eli.org.


Community Composting

NRDC and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) recently released a Model Municipal Zoning Ordinance on Community Composting, a template ordinance intended to advance community composting by establishing it as a permissible land use under a municipality’s zoning code—thus helping municipalities meet their climate and waste reduction goals while achieving various other co-benefits.

Chesapeake Bay retriever swimming in water

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Bay's 64,299-square-mile drainage basin, which covers parts of six states (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) and all of Washington, D.C. (the Bay jurisdictions). With its diverse flora and fauna, the Chesapeake Bay is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of these regions.

If you told me years ago that I would be pursuing a degree in statistics and machine learning, I would not have believed you. Even after receiving the 2021 National Wetlands Award and immersing myself in a vibrant and innovative college environment, I have come to more fully appreciate the many ways we can approach wetlands conservation and education efforts. 

Climate Justice

"We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share."Maya Angelou

Wetlands

In one of the most famous speeches in American history, President John F. Kennedy implored his fellow Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” I’m borrowing JFK’s words to illustrate how I approach restoration: Ask not what the land can do for you—ask what you can do for the land. This maxim evokes something greater than oneself that deserves respect, service, and ethical treatment.  For JFK, it was country. For me it is the land, or to be more accurate, an ecosystem.

Wetlands Nebraska

Having worked to conserve Nebraska’s wetlands over the past 30 years, and in honor of National Wetlands Month, I have been reflecting on what factors make wetland conservation successful. Thanks to the collaboration of many different partners, including landowners, we can be proud of the accomplishments made in wetland research, restoration, and management. To build on these successes, I believe it is important to broaden the network of people who understand wetlands and support their conservation. To do this, we need to expand and improve our outreach and education efforts.  

Timeline depicting the U.S. Supreme Court's environmental regulation rulings.

Today’s Supreme Court is, to borrow a phrase from a recent discussion, reshaping American life. It’s doing so across numerous areas of law, prompting commentators, professionals, and everyday citizens to adapt to a rapidly evolving legal landscape.

Scott Fisher NWA

He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauā ke kānaka.  This frequently spoken ʻōlelo noʻeau, or proverb, succinctly sums up the Hawaiian view on the human relationship to our environment: the land is the chief, and people are the servants. Traditionally, wetlands in particular were revered as agriculturally productive lands where the elder sibling of the Hawaiian people and staple of life, kalo (taro), was grown.

Wetlands Month

Wetlands are critical ecosystems that provide important benefits for people and wildlife. They provide flood protection, resilient infrastructure, carbon storage, increased water quality, and are integral to the culture and economy of local communities. The urgency of preserving these important resources is only heightened by the reality of climate change.

clean stream
1969 was an important year for the environment. A number of headline-making environmental crises that year, including the Santa Barbara oil spill, the Cuyahoga River fire, and deadly smog in cities from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, raised the profile of environmental degradation and led to public outcry for a healthy and safe environment. Barry Commoner, a leading ecologist and early environmentalist, famously described this period as one where “the heavens reek, the waters below are foul, children die in infancy”.