All VLS Courses
Climate Change Litigation
This course reviews the various statutory and common law claims being tried in climate litigation, the kinds of remedies sought, and the jurisdictional and evidentiary obstacles that must be overcome.
Climate Change: The Power of Taxes
This seminar explores the ways in which tax systems can effect change in the energy consumption behavior of business, industry, and consumers. The seminar addresses issues of theory, policy, politics, and law and --while focusing on climate change-- provides students with a framework for understanding how and when to use tax measures to address other environmental problems.
Comparative Environmental Law Research Seminar
A research and writing seminar that provides a framework and faculty supervision for students to engage in comparative environmental law research. While the seminar is designed primarily to support VLS students participating in the US-China joint student research projects and will focus generally on China, the seminar is sufficiently broad to accommodate students interested in researching the environmental law systems of other countries.
Comparative U.S.-China Environmental Law
An overview of the tremendous environmental challenges for the 1.3 billion people in China and the efforts to address them through law and regulation. After an introduction to the political and legal system and cultural background of the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, we will survey the basic regulatory schemes managing air quality, water resources and quality, natural resources, environmental impact assessments, and pending legislation concerning waste management and energy conservation. If there is sufficient interest, we may offer an additional, optional, one-credit session in China immediately following the class, to let students experience firsthand the environmental conditions and lectures and meetings with leading Chinese environmental scholars and activists.
Download 2013 Course Syllabus
Culture and the Environment
Interdisciplinary seminar that combines the study of cultural ecology with legal anthropology. The course examines the historical roots of the current environmental crisis in the development of agriculture, urbanization and industrialization. The course focuses on the political and cultural challenges of climate change in other historical periods and the challenges that global warming presents in different parts of the world.
Examines assumptions underlying environmental, constitutional, corporate, and other laws, and how those assumptions impede our ability to live cooperatively and sustainably with the natural world. Identifies legal, governance, and economic systems that better recognize the inherent rights of all people and the natural world.
Download the 2013 Course Syllabus
Explores the principles of ecology using an interdisciplinary approach and field-based work. Course work stresses the inventorying of biotic and physical components of a landscape, examining how these components are distributed, and determining what forces drive these patterns. Topics include interpreting the natural and cultural histories of a landscape, biodiversity conservation, and the scientific method, among others.
Download 2013 Course Syllabus
Ecology of Food and Agriculture
A critical examination of several case studies drawn broadly from the science, law, politics, economics and policy of food and agriculture. The course also has the broader goals of teaching the student to critically read the scientific literature, and to effectively apply science in diverse legal and political settings.
Ecosystem Conservation Strategies
This course will focus on the conservation theory behind landscape scale projects and specific implementation actions. Case studies will draw conclusions for lawyers and practitioners. The course will involve lectures and discussion. Materials will draw on actual cases and projects involving The Nature Conservancy and other conservation organizations.
Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World
Examines key issues in American energy policy and searches for ways to ease the strains which that policy puts upon environmental sustainability. The course reviews fundamental facts about our energy demands and sample regulatory orders and legal writings that address many of those elements from the perspective of a legal review. Background readings will include ethical issues of social justice in siting projects and meeting-or limiting-energy demand, the statutory schemes underlying traditional regulation, and an introduction to wholesale electric markets.