Ocean View, Michelle Bender MELP'15

​​​​​VLS alum Michelle Bender MELP'15, Earth Policy Fellow at Earth Law Center in Redwood City, California, dives into the legal and policy issues related to protecting oceans and marine ecosystems.​​​​​

​With California's drought worsening water problems, Michelle Bender was involved with the recent Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal, which addressed community, human and nature’s rights violations related to reduced flows in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Tribunal participants also discussed solutions to water flow and economic development issues “that protect, not injure, nature’s rights and human rights,” Bender says. Participants at the tribunal, modeled after the third International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris during COP21 in 2015, testified “about Earth’s destruction, while highlighting co-violations of human and environmental rights our legal and economic systems allow,” she says. The California tribunal was “a catalyst in developing the emerging field of nature’s rights.”


Learn more about Vermont Law School's JD program and the Water and Justice Program. Discover how you can get involved with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School and advocate for water rights.