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.


climate protest

In 1972, amidst calls for reform and on the heels of the nation’s first Earth Day, Montana amended its constitution to include an inalienable “right to a clean and healthful environment.” According to Art.

fashion

The fashion industry is growing exponentially, as are marketers’ use of claims about “sustainability” and other environmental attributes of fashion garments. This month’s featured article in ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter explores recent instances of greenwashing in the fashion industry and efforts to address the problem, and proposes specific ways that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should improve its guidelines for environmental marketing claims and expand enforcement.

Mount Trashmore

For decades, the East End neighborhood of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has faced the environmental, health and economic ordeal of Mount Trashmore, a three-story abandoned waste dump. In the 1990s, local community members’ advocacy helped clean up the site. Unfortunately, remediation was incomplete. The site became a magnet for illegal dumping, health hazards, disinvestment, and crime.

Lady Justice statue with blindfold and scales

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published its proposed Phase II National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rule on July 31, 2023.

Plastic bottles

According to the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC), in 2018, the United States generated approximately 15 million tons of plastic containers and packaging, but only recycled roughly 2 million tons (13%). The majority of that plastic instead was either landfilled (approximately 10 million tons or 70%) or incinerated (approximately 2.5 million tons or 17%). The recycling rate for plastic is much lower than rates for other common packaging materials including glass (31%), paper (80%), aluminum (35%), and steel (75%).

corn

What we grow and consume in America has a profound impact on our lives. It is also directly influenced by federal policy, and most importantly the Farm Bill, a collection of government programs that requires renewal every five years. This sprawling legislation governs initiatives from farm subsidies to low-income nutrition support. In our second blog of this three-part series, we discuss the many sustainable practices that could improve our climate and environment, farmer livelihoods, and communities’ health.

Youth Protestors - There is no Planet B

In June, arguments wrapped up in a Montana trial that was both routine and historic—Held v. Montana. Routine, because plaintiffs are calling upon Montana 1st Judicial District Judge Kathy Seeley to determine whether certain provisions of Montana law violate their rights under the state constitution. That will involve statutory interpretation and constitutional law, as applied to the facts—standard fare for a state trial judge of general jurisdiction.

The 2022-2023 ELPAR Vanderbilt University Law Students with ELI Senior Attorney Linda Breggin (first row, third from right) and Professor Michael Vandenbergh (first row, far left).

Each year, the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR)—a collaboration between Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) and ELI— identifies some of the year’s best academic articles that present legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems.

What we grow and consume in America has a profound impact on our lives. It is also directly influenced by federal policy, and most importantly the Farm Bill, a collection of government programs that requires renewal every five years. This sprawling legislation governs initiatives from farm subsidies to low-income nutrition support. In our first blog in this three-part series, we explain the severe environmental and climate impacts of modern industrial agriculture.

Planet Earth held by two hands in a green tint

By formally recognizing the Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment through two separate resolutions in 2022, the United Nations has set the stage for a more just and inclusive world. Big headlines like this often overlook all the background work necessary to make it happen. That’s what makes the 2023 UN Human Rights Prize incredibly exciting.