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Vibrant Environment

Environmental Justice in Urban Development: The Problem of Green Gentrification

The High Line, New York City
By Chelsea Chen, Development Intern, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, October 25, 2021

Former railroad turned elevated park, the New York City High Line presents a prime example of creating new green spaces to beautify, ameliorate, and revitalize surrounding communities. Although certainly one of the city’s most popular parks, the High Line also serves as the culprit for a sharp 35% increase in adjacent housing values. As urban planning and sustainability collide, leaders around the world are beginning to realize both the economic and environmental benefits of green space in the public realm. However, rapidly introducing attractive green spaces to areas that historically lack environmental resources creates a process known as “green gentrification.”

As AI Proliferates, Environmental Protection Hopes and Fears Rise

Solar Panels
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications have rapidly become more sophisticated and widespread, “even as legal and regulatory frameworks struggle to keep up.” Moreover, AI’s often-overlooked environmental implications are simultaneously “sweeping and quite complicated,” and for all of its promise to help improve the environment, AI could in fact cause environmental harm. With those framing remarks, Andrew Tutt, a Senior Associate with the law firm Arnold & Porter, opened a February 18 webinar on “Environmental Applications & Implications of Artificial Intelligence,” the third in ELI’s GreenTech series running through 2021.

Personal Care Products: The Health Risks, Disproportionate Impacts, and Outdated Legislation of the Cosmetics Industry

Eye Shadow Makeup
By Heather Luedke, Research Associate
Monday, October 18, 2021

What products did you use this morning as you got ready for your day? Shampoo? Soap? Deodorant? Makeup? Likely at least one of these, along with other personal care products. The Environmental Working Group found that women in the United States use an average of 12 personal care products each day, and men an average of six. And, while many of the chemicals in these products likely pose minimal risk, some chemicals found in personal care products have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and other health problems. Further, women of color face disproportionate impacts. On average, women of color use more beauty products than white women, and the beauty products they use disproportionately expose them to hazardous ingredients.

Natural Resources in Outer Space

Asteroid
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Renewed interest in outer space has brought new sources of investment and technology. Last year witnessed 110 orbital launches, tied for the highest annual number since the early 2000s. Increased activity in outer space will accelerate potential environmental effects; for instance, space mining could lead to natural resources being extracted from the moon, Mars and other planets, and asteroids. The primary environmental issues include debris, pollution of earth’s atmosphere, and biological or nuclear contamination.

In this month’s issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, Scot W. Anderson, Julia La Manna, and Korey J. Christensen discuss the legal framework surrounding development of natural resources in outer space. The authors provide an overview of space mining regulations generally, and examine regulatory efforts to mitigate environmental issues.

Protecting Future Generations: A Global Survey of Legal Academics and Implications for Climate Change Law

Mountain Landscape
By Suzanne Van Arsdale, Research Development Specialist, Legal Priorities Project
Monday, October 11, 2021

A recent study by Eric Martinez and Christoph Winter surveyed over 500 legal academics regarding how and to what degree the law can protect future generations. Here, I discuss some of the authors’ findings and the implications for using law to take action against climate change.

The survey asked legal academics for their views on legal protection of future generations and other groups, which groups could be granted legal standing, the ability of law to influence the long-term future, and specific areas of law and sources of risk. Climate change and environmental law were featured in several questions, as both are commonly associated with future generations and the long-term future. This can be seen, for example, in the rise of environmental constitutionalism, scholarship on representing future people in climate governance and intergenerational justice, as well as a rapid increase in climate litigation, with global cases nearly doubling from 2017 to 2020.

Are We Ready for the Emerging Circular Economy? Ready or Not...

Plant
Wednesday, October 6, 2021

“The United States has a very effective liability management policy and legal framework, but that same framework has some unintended consequences for the circular economy,” including risk aversion that can create barriers to circular economy businesses, said John Lovenburg, Vice President of Environment at BNSF Railway, in his opening remarks as moderator of ELI’s fourth GreenTech webinar March 24, 2021, on “The Emerging Circular Economy.”

Incorporating Environmental Justice Into Hazard Mitigation Plans

River Flood
By Fiona Osborn, Research and Publications Intern, ELI, and Rebecca L. Kihslinger, Senior Science and Policy Analyst; Director, Wetlands Program
Monday, October 4, 2021

Despite popular belief, natural hazards are not “great equalizers.” Environmental burdens fall disproportionately on marginalized groups. These inequities stem from legacies of racial injustice and systemic income disparities that have caused certain neighborhoods to have both poor infrastructure and limited access to financial resources, creating greater threats from hazard-related damage and difficulty with recovery efforts.

A Progress Report From the War on Science — and the Environment

Wildfire
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

One voter in seven believes that Hillary Clinton is running a cabal of satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles. A member of Congress charges that last year’s wildfires in the western states were caused by Jewish space lasers. A U.S. senator insists that China aims to breed a race of super soldiers by harvesting visiting athletes’ DNA when it hosts the winter Olympics in 2022. The Ohio legislature recently heard testimony alleging that the Covid vaccines are magnetizing people. According to a 2012 survey, one in four members of the U.S. public does not know the Earth orbits the Sun. A poll by the Associated Press in 2014 found that four in ten Americans dispute evolution and half do not believe the Big Bang theory.

Climate Action Strategy Workshops and the Need for More Language Accessibility

Spanish Spoken Here Sign
By Andres Llado, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Monday, September 27, 2021

This summer, the Miami-Dade County’s Office of Resilience conducted a series of workshops inviting the community’s input into the drafting of the county’s climate action strategy plan. These workshops were held to offer community members the opportunity to comment on local policy measures as well as shape the direction of current and future policymaking by offering suggestions and ideas. Rather than simply checking off boxes for expectations of citizen engagement by local government, the stated goal of these workshops is to produce an accessible avenue for community members from all identities, especially those that have historically faced discrimination, to take the lead on local climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. In accomplishing this goal, language accessibility is a key consideration to ensure effective citizen engagement and maximized impact.

Lessons From the Pandemic for the Future of Work

Laptop on Desk
By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

During the spring of 2020, while we were in the early grip of the pandemic, I pointed in an earlier blog to a possible silver lining. Perhaps what appeared then to be broad societal acceptance of the science around the coronavirus might leave us better able to also rally around the science on our other mega challenge — climate change.

Well, the broad consensus on pandemic science hasn’t exactly held. The prior administration downplayed the pandemic — and the science behind it — in an effort to rally the economy and stir up support for a reelection bid. Then, with the turnover at the White House and in the Senate, the politicization of pandemic science intensified, with some questioning whether a scourge that has disrupted lives everywhere and killed over four million people is actually an elaborate hoax.

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