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JD2B Blog

17th Annual NAELS Conference
By Roshan Tolani

Making of Future Environmental Lawyers

Law is not limited to trivial litigation.  It also deals with issues that threaten our existence such as human’s interference with nature.  
Global climate change is one such phenomenon that can threaten all human efforts unless arrested immediately.  Law students need to recognize this.  
As a part of this realization, an audience of approximately 300 law students and law practitioners gathered at the George Washington University law school last week to attend a series of lectures on global climate change at the 17th Annual NAELS conference.  Former Vice President Al Gore was the featured speaker at this conference, which had the theme “Future of environmental protection.”  
It is imperative to widen the perspective of future environmental lawyers.  Before they practice these laws, they need to be aware of climatic change, the gravity of its consequences, and public liability.  The growth of human civilization in the name of progress has witnessed deforestation, urbanization, and desertification.  Law students need to know the impact of these measures before they formulate any new laws dealing with environmental change.
This is not to say that the legal community has done little to curb this menace until now.  Environmental Law came into existence in the 1960s in major industrial nations.  The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed in 1970 along with the Environmental Quality Improvement Act and the Environmental Education Act.  Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970, too, in order to monitor and analyze the environment, conduct research, and work closely with state and local governments to formulate pollution control policies.  
Environmental law as it exists today is a whirl of complex statutes, laws, treaties, conventions, regulations, and policies.  Today, environmental law covers everything from protecting the ozone layer to conserving water bodies.  Some laws regulate the impact of human activities while others are preventive in nature.  If these and other laws are enforced, they can surely help combat climate change.
Conferences like this are an excellent way to create a bridge between those who foresaw the present plight and conceived modern environmental law decades back, and the students who will practice it tomorrow.  It is a challenge for law students to test these measures and perfect them.


Posted on: 03/20/2007 05:53 AM | Number of feedback 0

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