EcoPerspectives Blog

Reporting on COP: Hurricane Matthew Underscores the Importance of Loss & Damage for Haiti and the Developing World Under the Paris Agreement

The following article is part of an Eco-Perspective special in which the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law is collaborating with the VLS COP22 Observer Delegation __________________________________________ By Beth Bootz Earlier [in October], Hurricane Matthew left a path of destruction, ravaging Haiti and the southeastern coast of the United States. In Haiti, the death toll is uncertain,… Read more »

A 133 Billion Pound Burden—Who’s Doing the Heavy Lifting?

Summary: Good samaritan food laws across the country provide liability protection for those who donate food. Unfortunately, families who depend on such donations pay a dramatic cost if they become ill because of simple negligence. __________________________________________ By Sarah Munger In 2010, the United States wasted an estimated 133 billion pounds of post-harvest food.1 Of that, 43 billion pounds… Read more »

The Power of Policy

Summary: While many law students graduate and become litigators, judges, or an attorney who plays another role in the judicial branch, some law students set their sights on the other two branches of government – the legislative and executive branches. We need lobbyists and policy advisors to assist our legislators so that the science necessary… Read more »

Stranded Assets v. the Social Cost of Carbon: The Tortured Economics of Climate Change

Summary: If there is one thing the fossil fuel industry, the government, and climate change activists might agree on it is this: in the end it all comes down to money. Oil, gas and coal companies, and their investors, are terrified of leaving fossil fuels in the ground. As to issue of climate change as a whole,… Read more »

Using the Free Market to Affect Change: An Argument for Environmental Taxes

The past two years have yielded unprecedented executive and regulatory engagement in the climate change discussion. In November 2014, the United States and China—two of the world’s most significant emitters—jointly committed to reducing their carbon emissions. In August 2015, the Obama administration announced the Clean Power Plan, which will implement national standards to govern carbon… Read more »

Home-Rule Hope: A Community Guide to Keeping Hydraulic Fracturing Off Local Property

Summary: In 2011, the city of Munroe Falls, Ohio sought to prevent Beck Energy Corporation from drilling until the company complied with the city’s relevant municipal ordinances. The citizens voted to create an ordinance that would ban hydraulic fracturing from the city’s territory. Subsequent cases challenged such ordinances, and such cases attempted to answer whether the… Read more »

Anti-Green-Washing-Soft-Policy: A Comparison of Transnational Eco-Labeling

By Gabriela Steier and Madhvvi Mehta What are Eco-Labels? Eco-labels are soft-policy examples of progressive environmental policy with a consumer-empowering component. In fact, eco-labels illustrate powerful tools of consumer-driven environmental protection and show that green-washing can be stopped through soft law approaches. ISO standards, for instance, provide “practical tools for companies and organizations of all… Read more »

Wyoming’s Data Trespass Laws Trample First Amendment Rights: A Preview

Summary: In 2015, the Wyoming Legislature passed two new laws creating criminal and civil causes of action for trespassing to collect resource data. Over the last year, the laws have undergone intense public scrutiny, culminating with several NGOs suing Wyoming to have the laws repealed on First Amendment grounds for restricting environment-based speech. __________________________________________ By… Read more »

Hope Remains with GMO Food Labeling Efforts

By Bonnie Smith On the evening of July 7—one week after Vermont celebrated its labeling law for genetically engineered (GE) foods going into effect—the U.S. Senate voted 63-30 to approve a federal GE food “labeling” bill. Today, the House of Representatives voted 306-117 to approve the bill. Unfortunately for Vermont and any other state that… Read more »


Summary: Food waste is  a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. By encouraging food donation and streamlining food-recovery policies the federal government can build a national framework to combat the massive accumulation of food waste and begin to change people’s food-waste habits. __________________________________________ By Bonnie Smith Every year Americans punt enough… Read more »