This is the story of Client Earth, the charity that brought environmental lawyers into the mainstream in the UK and Europe and beyond.
The USA has a long tradition of activist environmental lawyers, but for many reasons (as explained in this book) this hasn't really been the case in the UK or the rest of Europe.
This book outlines how Client Earth was started by James Thornton, from his early vision
'Earth Day was too too feel good for him, too emotional a response to an urgent need. The earth was in urgent need of practical action, not a group hug.'
The book is full of examples of how using the law as a tool has secured environmental successes across the world from cleaning up Chesapeake Bay to enforcing the European Union Air Quality Directive, from training judges and lawyers in China in environmental law to helping local community groups in Ghana to use legal approaches to protect forests.
Throughout the book, Thornton (who works for Client Earth) and Goodman (the main author) underline and emphasize that good laws are not enough to protect the earth. The laws need to be effectively enforced if they have any hope of being taken seriously and of having any effect.
The Earth needs lawyers working to protect wildlife, prevent pollution and to catch and punish those who damage the environment - only this way can we hope to defeat the corporate interests that would destroy the earth.
Client Earth focuses both on wildlife and biodiversity and on environmental issues such as climate change and pollution, bringing the two aspects of the current crisis together in a way that is too often overlooked.
Client Earth by James Thornton and Martin Goodman published (2017) by Scribe Publications.
I never knew there were no environmental lawyers in the UK or the EU.
Have you read Robin Wall Kimmerer's "Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses." I am almost done with the book and I think you'd enjoy it.
Hi Jeff, it's more a case that lawyers here aren't activists in the same way as they often are in the US. So some lawyers may specialise in the environment but before Client Earth came along they wouldn't campaign or take a high profile approach to issues. That book sounds interesting, I'm fascinated by mosses.
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