By Monika Holser, UCLA School of Law, Class of 2018. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post any comments on the original post, which can be found here.
GIS (geographic information system) is a computer system for “capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on the Earth’s surface.” It allows multiple layers of information to be displayed at once, enabling one to visualize and understand relationships on a map. Different types of information can be overlaid in the program regardless of their original format or source. According to ESRI, GIS is described as the “go-to technology” for location-based decisions and is fundamental in understanding the current and future issues involving geographic space.
Judging a Book by its Cover: The Tension between Evidentiary Gatekeeping and Compensatory Theories of Tort
By Julie Amadeo, J.D. 2016, New York University School of Law.
This article has been adapted from a larger work and has been posted as part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original article, which can be found here.
Human minds are primed to jump to conclusions. Call them intuitions, or things we just know, our ability to draw conclusions is a survival instinct, developed over many years of evolutionary progress. Now assume a man has been largely healthy his entire life. Maybe this man is a line worker at a factory, or a firefighter, or even just a soccer player. Suddenly, he learns that he has a fatal disease that will cause him to suffer for various years before finally killing him. He sees his co-workers falling ill with the same sickness and they all begin to think it must be something they were doing in common. Perhaps it was the chemicals they produced at work, or something burning in the fires, or maybe the turf they played on. But, there’s no evidence of this, it is just a hunch. Producing conclusive scientific evidence is costly and would take years. Perhaps the only way of getting any sort of evidence is to sue the employer, or products producer which would lead to discovery and possible answers. The man approaches a lawyer who is well known in the field of toxic harms and asks him to take on his case. The lawyer, however, declines and informs the man because of the lack of epidemiological – human study—evidence available on the topic, his case would likely be decided in favor of the defendant on summary judgment and he would never get the closure he is looking for.
Constitutions & the Environment: Comparative Approaches to Environmental Protection and the Struggle to Translate Rights into Enforcement
By Kyle Burns, J.D. Candidate, 2017, University of Virginia School of Law. The author would like to thank Professor A.E. Dick Howard, whose seminar in comparative constitutional law inspired this piece.
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate.
Every nation around the world faces ecological hardships. Almost every nation has responded with a legal regime that attempts to ensure environmental protection. These environmental law schemes come in various forms. Some nations place environmental protection at the highest level, securing it within a national constitution, while others relegate it to the statutory level. Some nations have positive rights, placing a duty on the government to protect the environment, while others create negative rights, preventing discharges of pollution into the air and water. What becomes clear upon analyzing different regimes is that neither the source of the right (i.e. constitutional or statutory) nor the form of the right (i.e. positive or negative) is the dispositive factor determining how protective a nation’s environmental law regime is. I submit that it is the manner in which those rights are enforced that controls the end result. Thus, even the loftiest promise of environmental quality can go unrealized in the face of substandard enforcement or outright non-justiciability, while seemingly less important statutory restrictions on pollution may achieve greater benefits.
By John Bullock, J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School. The author would like to thank Ari Peskoe, Senior Fellow in Electricity Law at the Harvard Environmental Law Program Policy Initiative, and Robin Smith and Nate Bishop for their help and advice.
This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original, which may be found here.
About the ELRS:
The Environmental Law Review Syndicate (ELRS) is a collaborative effort of the nation’s leading environmental law journals that provides an outlet for student scholarship and fosters academic. ELRS operates as a cooperative syndicate: each week a different student submission is selected for publication on the websites of all member law reviews.