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LAW Environmental Justice

Environmental Law: Conservation & Natural Resources

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Environmental Law
Conservation & Natural Resources

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LAW 768

Environmental Justice

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[ Academia ] Environmental Law: Conservation & Natural Resources

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Academia ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Human Rights : Environmental lawyers should understand the methods and concerns of the environmental justice movement, particularly the perspective it uses to consider environmental harms. Future civil rights lawyers will also find this course useful. It addresses the disparities between poor and affluent neighborhoods with respect to a variety of environmental safety and resource issues.

General course Description:

This course will introduce environmental justice as a social movement, including its central substantive concerns (the needs of humans in the built environment rather than the need to protect the environment from humans) and its methods (community-based political organizing rather than professionalized judicial or legislative action). The bulk of the course will then pursue a broader conception of environmental justice today by using social science research, theory, and case studies to investigate the civil rights and poverty aspects of environmental safety and natural resources. The course will include units on: (1) toxic exposure and public health disparities stemming from the disproportionate siting of locally-unwanted land uses in poor neighborhoods of color; (2) access to natural resources and basic public services, including clean water, wastewater disposal, and open space; (3) tools in environmental justice advocacy (including community-based lawyering, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, common law nuisance actions, and transactional lawyering); (4) environmental justice issues in Indian Country, and (5) environmental justice issues in climate change policy. Much of the course material, including student presentations, will be grounded in the experiences and advocacy histories of specific communities, both urban and rural, across the country. Grades will be based on class participation and (1) weekly reflection papers of 3-5 pages each week for each of our topics or (2) a long research paper. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02) which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Students who opt for a long research paper may, if they so choose, conduct substantial legal research responsive to a non-profit environmental justice organization's legal needs. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments, Final Paper.

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