What Can University-Community Partnerships Contribute to EJ and the Common Good?

EJ_Logo_3-360x360We had a terrific conference here at Santa Clara University on environmental justice and university-community partnerships for research, learning and social change.  There were some great keynote speakers,  including Rachel Morello-Frosch of UC Berkeley, Patrice Simms of Earthjustice, Gustavo Aguirre of CRPE, and Fr. Pedro Walpole, S.J. of Ecojesuit.  There were also many terrific panelists (all listed on the agenda that can be found on the conference website).  Among the lawyers, it featured Veronica Eady, Assistant Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board, Marianne Engelman-Lado of the Yale Law School Environmental Justice Clinic, and Helen Kang of the Golden Gate University Environmental Law and Justice Clinic discussing their experiences.  Santa Clara University’s President Michael Engh, S.J., gave the welcome remarks to the conference.  The second day included a discussion with Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J., Secretary of Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, about a potential national and international network of Jesuit higher education institutions around environmental justice issues.

"How Can We Work Well Together" Panel

From left: Veronica Eady, Kimy Grandi Soriano, Jennifer Merritt, Jacky Riviera, Marianne Engelman-Lado, Martha Matsuoka, Chad Raphael.

The conference took the participants through the arc of university-community partnership issues beginning with a panel describing the state of environmental justice. The following panels then discussed examples of what community-university partnerships on environmental justice have accomplished (“What have we done together”), followed by post-lunch panels on the lessons and best practices those collaborations teach us (“How can we work well together”) and on the opportunities for future collaboration (“What could we do together”). The panel on future collaboration opportunities allowed a number of speakers to make pitches for potential projects.  The day concluded with a performance by Santa Clara’s Ballet Folclorico and a poster session and reception. The second day, the conference followed up on the project opportunity discussion as well as a more detailed session on the formation of potential national and international environmental justice-focused network within the context of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities as well as the International Association of Jesuit Universities.

The interest and enthusiasm about the conference resulted in more than a 200 participants as well as a great set of presentations on the success stories of community-engaged research for advancing environmental justice, especially concrete substantive accomplishment and improvements in public health, as well as the set-backs and many opportunities for further action.  The event was an exciting culmination of three years of effort on the part of my colleagues Professors Chris Bacon (Environmental Science & Studies), Ed Maurer (Engineering), Chad Raphael (Communications), Iris Stewart-Frey (Environmental Science & Studies), and myself (Law), which will hopefully mark the starting point for new and strengthened relationships, joint projects, and networks related to environmental justice.

 

How the 14 tons of seized Pangolin scales illuminates a need for change in CITES

In early April 2019, fourteen (14) tons of pangolin scales were seized by custom authorities in a single smuggling operation bust. [Full article can be found here.] This seizure of pangolin scales, worth an estimated $38.7 million, is an example of how the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) protects wild endangered species populations by restricting trade. CITES regulates trade of  specimens -“any animal or plant, or any recognizable part or derivative thereof” that are listed in Appendix I by requiring import documentations and export permits. CITES further requires “scientific authority to determine that the export is not detrimental to the survival of that species.” CITES Art. 3(a). Pangolin scales fall into the Appendix 1 category as of 2016, when it was determined that all eight species of pangolins are endangered. [See IUCN article here.]

However, while CITES may prohibit the import and export of pangolin scales, it does not directly prohibit the poaching and killing of these animals. Therefore, while it may be illegal to ship pangolin scales without proper documentation, the shipment itself may be too far removed from the killing of the animal to protect the pangolins’ lives. As the recent article pointed out, while poaching is illegal, poachers and hunters often cannot resist the exorbitant pay-offs that pangolins offer. “Scales from a single pangolin can provide a life-changing sum of money for people living in some of the poorest communities.” [See CNN article here.] However, it is not until the scales are smuggled into (often) Asian shipping hubs that they are seized. By this time, the pangolin or scales may have changed hands many times from the original hunters or poachers. Preventing the deaths of these animals at this stage is especially urgent given that several species of pangolin are designated as “critically endangered,” just a step above extinction.

In order to better protect endangered species, it may not be enough to only establish export and import regulations. Often, endangered species and goods made from them become more valued because of their scarcity. By imposing restrictions, CITES may have also made the killing and poaching of the pangolin more lucrative for killers, while exposing only the transporters to criminal prosecution. Therefore, countries should devote more resources to the protection of their endangered species at the killing and poaching stage, rather than relying primarily on the ex post prohibitions the result from the permitting requirement at the international shipment level.

Cynthia Yuan

Santa Clara Law Environmental Film Festival

We had a terrific environmental film festival today at Santa Clara Law.  The environmental documentary short films were created by students in my international environmental law course as an exercise in the use of multi-media story-telling and narratives as a tool of persuasion and advocacy.  I think the films thoroughly succeeded.  The line-up of films:

  1.  “Climate Refugees: A Global Issue,” Cynthia Anaya, Gina Santoni, Mahi Mangrio
  2. “How Cars Shape Our Lives,” Pepita Fallmann & Michael Lins
  3. “The Green New Deal,” Jordan Nunes
  4. “Lebanon is Drowning in its Own Waste,” Elsa Hajjar
  5. “Hong Kong, World of Contrasts,” Linnea Doan
  6. “Global Food Waste,” Cynthia Yuan & Kaushik Nagaraj
  7. “Swimming in a Sea of Plastic,” Daniel Tayakin & Jacqueline Ackerman

[I will add links to the student films as they are uploaded and become available.]

The Best Picture and Runner-up Awards were determined by a blue-ribbon jury, made up of Professors Ellen Kreitzberg, Ken Manaster, Cookie Ridolfi, and David Sloss.  The audience voted on the Audience Choice Award.

And the winners were (drum roll . . . ):

Best Picture: “Climate Refugees: A Global Issue,” Cynthia Anaya, Gina Santoni, Mahi Mangrio

Runner-up: “Global Food Waste,” Cynthia Yuan & Kaushik Nagaraj

Audience Choice: “Lebanon is Drowning in its Own Waste,” Elsa Hajjar

BestPicture (3)

(From left:  Gina Santoni, Professor Kreitzberg, Mahi Mangrio, Cynthia Anaya, Professor Ridolfi)

Runnerup (3)

(From left:  Prof. Kreitzberg, Cynthia Yuan, Prof. Ridolfi, Kaushik Nagaraj)

 

Position: Aoki Water Justice Clinical Lecturer, Univ. Calif. Davis Law School (Deadline: May 19, 2019)

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT DAVIS SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications for a Water Justice Clinical Lecturer, who will act as the director of the Aoki Water Justice Clinic, by May 19, 2019 and/or until the position is filled. The Aoki Water Justice Clinic is a transactional live-client legal clinic that provides technical legal assistance to small disadvantaged communities in California’s Central Valley and beyond, who lack reliable and affordable access to safe drinking water. We seek applications from candidates with a background in law who (1) possess extensive experience in state, national and international critical race and nation studies law and policy issues and (2) excellent transactional, analytical, legal writing, negotiation and advocacy skills, including high-quality precision in contract drafting, and skill in high-level and detailed analysis. All candidates must apply through the UC Recruit system at the following link: https://recruit.ucdavis.edu/JPF02783. For full consideration, applicants should apply by May 19, 2019, although we recommend that you submit your materials as soon as possible. Candidates must have a J.D. or equivalent degree. We require a cover letter and curriculum vitae and contact information for three references at this time. In addition, as part of their application, candidates must include a Statement of Contributions to Diversity. Information about the Statement can be found at http://academicaffairs.ucdavis.edu/diversity/equity_inclusion/index.html. An optional statement of teaching can also be included. Please note that we may require further documentation at a future date, including, but not limited to, letters of recommendation, which will be treated as confidential per University of California Policy and California state law. Please direct questions to Director of Clinical Legal Education Gabriel “Jack” Chin, Chair of the Search Committee, via email at gjchin@ucdavis.edu. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see https://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/DiscHarassAffirmAction.

Fellowship: Land Use/Sustainable Development Graduate Fellow, Pace Law School (Deadline: no deadline available)

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Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law is hiring a Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Graduate Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Fellow will work part time in Pace’s Land Use Law Center while working towards an LLM in Environmental Law.

 

For more information, visit https://law.pace.edu/graduate/llm-graduate-fellowships.

Since 1978, Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law has provided an internationally acclaimed environmental legal education. Our dedicated faculty have been pioneers in developing and implementing environmental law and continue to serve as national and world leaders in the field. We are the only top environmental law program that is about forty minutes away by train from New York City and two hours away by air from Washington, DC, providing students with easy access to outstanding practice opportunities.  Fellows receive a full tuition waiver and a modest stipend to cover living expenses. Applications for the Land Use and Sustainable Development Fellowship are due April 30, 2019.

About the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development (For more information, visit law.pace.edu/landuse)

Established in 1993, the Land Use Law Center is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities and regions through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and dispute resolution techniques. The Center provides research, training, technical assistance, support and strategic planning services to communities.  Working with trained law students, the Center quickly, affordably and effectively develops techniques to remedy nearly all types of land use problems that afflict urban, suburban and rural communities.  The Center enjoys a track record of successful implementation in partnership with local land use leaders, other change agents, and state and federal agencies.

It accomplishes this through its programs and catalytic demonstration projects, which cover a range of topics, including:

  • Local Environmental Law and Natural Resource Conservation
  • Historic Building and Agricultural Land Preservation
  • Smart Growth
  • Community Economic Development
  • Urban Revitalization
  • Affordable, Fair and Workforce Housing
  • Vacant and Distressed Property Remediation
  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Sustainable Site and Neighborhood Development
  • Green Building Programs
  • Local Wind and Solar Energy Regulation
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Community Resiliency
  • Climate Change Mitigation
  • Collaborative Decision-Making and Facilitation

Santa Clara Environmental Law Society Annual Spring Symposium on “Technology and the Environment”

We had a terrific ELS symposium at Santa Clara with faculty and outside experts on “Technology and the Environment.”  Expertly organized by ELS Co-President Cynthia Yuan, the panel of faculty and experts included SCU Law Professors Dorothy Glancy and Catherine Sandoval, Professor and children’s rights advocate Tom Nazario of USF Law School, Patent Attorney and Monterey Bay Air Resources District Hearing Board Chair Michael Guth, and SCU Alum and Cal Public Utilities Commission staffer Jamie Ormond.  [Unfortunately, we did not get a group picture, and I only caught Professor Sandoval and part of the audience in these images.  Apologies to all others present.]

Presentations focused on the value of enhanced wireless communications infrastructure for under-served populations, especially as a means for enhancing environmental disaster response (Sandoval), the serious environmental harms to local populations (especially children) and the environment caused by electronic waste exports to the developing world, especially Africa and Asia (Nazario), questions as to the potential environmental benefits and costs of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles (Glancy), ongoing challenges and needs to address the environmental risks of “old” technologies (such traditional power plants), and opportunities for use of technology in reducing the carbon footprint of energy use (Ormond).  Overall, a really interesting set of discussions and questions and hopefully also inspirational for the students who attended.

Environmental Film Festival at Santa Clara Law School, Wednesday, April 24, 12-1 pm, Charney Hall 104

If you are in the Santa Clara area, please join us at a April 24 Film Festival of environmental short films made by Santa Clara Law Students.  (Location is Charney Hall 104, 12-1 pm, April 24, 2019.)  Topics include “Lebanon’s Waste Problem,” “Sustainable Transportation Policy in the US and Europe,” and other films.  A blue-ribbon jury of SCU Law faculty (including Professor Ellen Kreitzberg, Cookie Ridolfi, and others) will judge the film entries, and the audience will be able to vote for an audience film award.

Come to this fun event!

FilmFestivalPoster2