Earth Law


NELC Fellow Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of Earth Law Center, teaches this Summer Term course at VLS

Course Description:

Climate change and other global threats are increasingly illustrating the limits of our existing environmental laws to stem degradation. This course posits that environmental declines will continue until we address a fundamental assumption underlying our legal system: that humans are separate from the natural world and may treat it as property to be exploited, rather than as a connected ecological partner. The course will critically examine the sources of this assumption and its impacts on preventing us from achieving a healthy, thriving planet. It will then describe legal, economic, and other governance systems that recognize the inherent rights of the natural world to exist, thrive, and evolve, and it will discuss how such systems can be implemented to advance lasting sustainability. Specific applications will be highlighted, debated, and practiced.​

Syllabus – Summer 2016

 

 

New Frontiers in Environmental Policy


This seminar, offered at Vermont Law School, and originally developed by Prof. Gus Speth, explores the proposition that successfully coping with today’s environmental threats requires deeper challenges to our prevailing system of political economy than mainstream environmentalism in the United States has been willing to mount.

It develops the idea that a new American environmentalism is needed and with it new environmental policy and law that go beyond the traditional realm of environmental affairs. The nature of the modern corporation and its role in politics and in an increasingly globalized marketplace; consumerism and commercialism and the lifestyles they offer; the overriding priority routinely accorded economic growth; social injustice and its links to environmental prospects; the anthropocentric, materialistic and contempocentric values that currently dominate in American culture; and the prospects for a new environmental politics are among the topics that will be examined.

The question will be raised whether it is desirable and possible to transition to a new economic model where the priority is to sustain human and natural communities, and, if so, what new policies and politics might promote such a transition.

Syllabus New Frontiers Fall 2014 8 19 14