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Vibrant Environment

Here’s How Digital Technologies Are Advancing Environmental Justice

Smokestack Air Pollution
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

For Environmental Law Institute President Scott Fulton, the inability of the United States’ environmental policies and programs to bestow benefits across communities of color and the disadvantaged stands as a major shortcoming of our environmental protection system to date. But, as discussed at ELI’s 7th GreenTech webinar, on “Technology and Environmental Justice,” the explosion of monitoring technologies, big data, expanded analytical abilities, and other technologies raises the possibility, albeit with caveats, that those developments can help solve long-standing environmental justice (EJ) challenges. Discussing the issues during the July 29, 2021, webinar were the following featured experts: White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Senior Director for EJ, Dr. Cecilia Martinez; California EJ Alliance (CEJA) Green Zones Program Manager, Tiffany Eng; Tennessee State University (TSU) Associate Professor Dr. David Padgett; Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) EJ Staff Attorney, Taylor Lilley; and ELI Visiting Scholar LeRoy C. (Lee) Paddock.

Financing Solutions for Small Community Water Systems

Drinking Fountain
By Rosa Brown, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Monday, August 23, 2021

For every story of a utility system in crisis that makes the headlines, many more struggle in the shadows. Out of the more than 40,000 small community water systems operating in the United States, almost 1,800 were designated serious compliance violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 2020.

Disability-Inclusive Local Climate Action Planning in the United States

Wheelchair User Next to Water
By Brendan Hyatt, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Climate change poses unique dangers and challenges for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, despite wide recognition of the vulnerabilities of people with disabilities to climate change, disability perspectives and needs remain largely excluded from climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Effective and inclusive climate action planning is essential to protecting the 26% of Americans who experience a disability from the most dangerous aspects of climate change.

Engaging Thousands: Reflections on a Recent China Program Webinar on Climate Change

Earth
By Akielly Hu, Associate Editor
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

On July 14, the ELI China Program hosted a webinar on climate change litigation in the United States for the environmental law community in China. The event garnered a record-breaking audience of over 5,500 participants sustained over the course of three hours of detailed instruction on climate law.

Adaptation to Climate Change: Tribes Are Leading the Way (Part 2)

Hurricane Ridge in Olympic Peninsula WA
By Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Jefferson & Rita Fordham Presidential Dean, Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, and Heather Tanana, Assistant Research Professor, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series on climate change and its impact on indigenous peoples in the United States. Part 1 introduced the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities, while Part 2 provides specific examples of how these communities are responding in order to protect their land, people, and resources. 

Heating Up: Climate Change Impacts on Tribal Communities (Part 1)

Drought affected ground
By Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Jefferson & Rita Fordham Presidential Dean, Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, and Heather Tanana, Assistant Research Professor, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Monday, August 2, 2021

This is Part 1 of a two-part blog series on climate change and indigenous peoples in the United States. Part 1 introduces the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities, and Part 2 looks more in depth at how these communities are responding in order to protect their land, people, and resources. 

The Year U.S. Financial Regulators Acknowledged Climate Change Risks

New York stock exchange building
By Hana V. Vizcarra , Staff Attorney, Harvard Law School’s Environmental & Energy Law Program
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Disclosure law in the United States is on the cusp of change. Significant shifts in the information investors expect to see in disclosures and how they use it are redefining what “material” is and changing disclosure obligations for companies. Federal financial regulators are also incorporating climate change risks into their work, adding pressure to improve climate-related disclosures.

Environmental Liability Could Help Remedy Biodiversity Loss

Pongo the Stolen Orangutan, credit Jaclyn Schwanke
By Carol Adaire Jones, Visiting Scholar
Monday, July 26, 2021

In a rural community in North Sumatra, Indonesia, an environmental NGO recently filed one of the first natural resource liability suits for illegal resource exploitation against a zoo holding critically endangered animals. Extending the “polluters-pay” principle, the case has the potential to set a global precedent for holding illegal wildlife traffickers accountable for repairing the harm they cause—not only to individual plants and animals, but also to species survival, ecosystem health, and human well-being.

International Legal Protections for Sharks and Rays in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Sharks swimming in ocean
By Greta Swanson, Visiting Attorney
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Industrial fisheries imperil sharks and rays. The populations of most species of sharks and rays are on the decline, and many populations are down to just 10 to 30 percent of their levels just a few decades ago. Although international agreements are in place to manage fisheries, restrict the trade of endangered species, and conserve migratory shark and ray populations, they have not been sufficiently effective in stopping the decline of many of these species.

The U.K. Environment Bill: A Pending Opportunity for Significant Environmental Governance

Tower bridge in London
Wednesday, July 7, 2021

On January 31, the United Kingdom’s long and tumultuous departure from the European Union concluded with Brexit Day. This monumental, and by some, staunchly condemned, process ushered in a breadth of legal impacts, especially in regards to national environmental law and policy. EU directives previously served as the foundation for a large contingency of environmental standards, environmental protection regimes, conservation schemes, and enforcement and compliance in the U.K. Additional implications of Brexit include those at the intersection of agriculture and the environment, business and trade implications, sustainability efforts, chemical regulation, renewable energy development, the Paris Accord and other climate goals, and a variety of multinational treaties and directives. In short, the impacts on environmental governance were, and are, enormous and far-reaching.

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