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Vibrant Environment

A City Under Siege: Unraveling the Glaring Link Between Environmental Degradation and Sociopolitical Turbulence

Anthony D'Souza
Monday, July 29, 2019

Much of the media concerning climate change have direly emphasized that its most horrendous effects will be borne by some of the world’s most impoverished developing cities, with coastal settlements on the front lines of this siege. Yet, most of these headline-grabbing pieces rarely explore the true complexity of these issues beyond mere sea-level rise and a few other similarly visible or tangible environmental problems. This blog aims to briefly outline the deeper extent of crises threatening these cities by further examining an experience of one particular city. A city where the ravages of global warming are more than just dire warnings—but a clear and present burden on its overwhelmingly underprivileged citizens every day. A city that offers perhaps one of the most holistic case studies to examine the entangled causality between environmental and social issues wrought by climate change. My hometown, Karachi, Pakistan.

Bridging the Gulf: Environmental Justice and Spill Restoration

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

In honor of the Environmental Law Institute’s 50th Anniversary Year, each month of 2019 highlights a different key theme that represents an important aspect of our work. July is focused on environmental justice, a movement and a concept that encompasses efforts to highlight the disproportionately harmful environmental impacts experienced by vulnerable communities, as well as a commitment to ensuring justice for all people. The growing effort to identify environmental justice concerns and to develop solutions for communities closely aligns with ELI’s mission to make law work for people, places, and the planet, including through our work in the Gulf of Mexico region.

California DTSC's Efforts to Address the Segregation of Pollution

Davina Pujari
Cole A. Benbow
Friday, July 19, 2019

The mission of California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is to "protect California's people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated resources, enforcing hazardous waste laws, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products." But, like any critical mission, its success depends on sufficient funding. And, to the detriment of the vulnerable communities it is charged with protecting, the Department is in the midst of dealing with a budget shortfall that will handicap its ability to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated in California—hazardous waste that disproportionately impacts low-income and minority communities. 

EJ Perspectives From Barry E. Hill

Barry E. Hill
Anthony D'Souza
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Throughout the month of July, ELI is taking a closer look at “Environmental Justice & Vulnerable Communities” as we continue to offer special events, programs, and publications in commemoration of our 50th Anniversary. As part of this month-long introspection into our work in environmental justice, Research Associate Lovinia Reynolds and Research and Publications Intern Anthony D’Souza reached out to Barry E. Hill, ELI Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Law Professor at Vermont Law School. Prior to coming to ELI, Professor Hill was the Senior Counsel for Environmental Governance at EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs. From 1998 to 2007, he was Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. Below are Professor Hill’s thoughts and perspectives, as an environmental justice advocate, on environmental justice in the United States.

How Sustainability Efforts and Women’s Advancement Globally Can—and Must—Go Hand-in-Hand

Cindy Starrett
Kristina Wyatt
Jennifer Roy
Samantha Seikkula
Melanie Hess
Friday, June 28, 2019

Climate change threatens to dramatically increase inequality and create greater hardships for women and girls, in large part because of their disproportionately vulnerable economic, social, and political positions worldwide. Food shortages disproportionately affect the health of women and girls, and in many regions, women are more directly dependent on natural resources threatened by climate change for their livelihoods. For instance, a U.N. report observed that in developing countries, women account for 45-80% of all food production, and about two-thirds of the female labor force is engaged in agricultural work. In such developing regions, women face unique vulnerabilities from the increasing unpredictability of food sources as well as the loss of income or jobs if agricultural resources are impacted by climate change.

Fast Fashion: Cutting Corners to Fuel Excessive Consumption

Kashaf Momin
Kaveri Marathe
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

When’s the last time you found yourself idly shopping out of boredom or buying a shirt just because it was on sale? If it was in the last week, then you’re not alone. The average American shopper buys 60% more clothing today than they did just 15 years ago, but keeps it for only half as long. At the end of the year, this results in approximately 80 pounds of unwanted clothing per person!

Maps, Mistakes, and Murder: Is Carpenter the Most Critical Environmental Case This Year?

Kieran Minor
Friday, June 21, 2019

Several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term touched environmental law, ranging from jurisdictional disputes over a state’s right to ban uranium mining to whether state or federal laws apply when hunting moose from a hovercraft along an Alaskan river. An unusual amount of cases navigate the intersection of environmental regulations and tribal sovereignty, the Court so far siding with tribes on the issues of state fuel tax exemptions and hunting rights. One pending case, Carpenter v. Murphy, is not explicitly environmental, but the answer to its core question has potentially seismic environmental implications: is the eastern half of Oklahoma still, technically, an Indian reservation? While the case primarily involves criminal jurisdiction, the degree to which the Court accepts or rejects this question may alter taxation, regulation, and even ownership of one of the most energy resource-rich regions in the country.

How Do We Bounce Back? Defining and Measuring Community Resilience

Rebecca L. Kihslinger
Monday, June 17, 2019

With climate change actively intensifying impacts from natural disasters, it is now more important than ever to design and implement community resilience plans and actions that will minimize damage when disasters occur. To prepare for an increasingly uncertain and fraught future, communities are identifying vulnerabilities, planning for forthcoming disasters, and taking action to become more resilient. But what exactly does resilience mean? What does it mean to be a resilient community? And, importantly, is there a concrete way to measure a community’s progress toward resilience as it is defined by the community so that its members can ensure they are taking appropriate steps to be better able to respond to a new normal?

Leadership of Women in the Environmental Movement

Leadership of Women in the Environmental Movement
Helena Kilburn
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Women have been leaders in every major movement, though their contributions all too often go unrecognized. The environmental movement is no exception. Women striving toward the betterment of this field have faced many challenges, but through skill and determination, they persevered. The environmental movement is over two centuries long with generations of women shaping policies and laws within the field. This blog features just a handful of the numerous women who paved the way for future environmentally conscious generations.

Gender and the Environment

Lynn L. Bergeson
Lorentz Hansen
Friday, June 7, 2019

Many have argued that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential to advancement in many areas of life, such as business, health, and education.  This brief blog post posits that the field of sustainable development and environmental protection are no different.  Gender equality and, more particularly, women’s empowerment, are critical to achieving sustainable development across the globe.  It is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and the gender differences and deeply rooted policies that perpetuate inequality differ from region to region.