Days before Tulane Law School closed its doors and the COVID-19 quarantine began, the 25th Annual Tulane Environmental Law & Policy Summit presented more than 20 panels over two days, covering a span of subjects from oyster management to climate change and risk allocation in the insurance and energy industries.
Each year, the Summit is an opportunity for students, attorneys, academics, scientists, government employees, community members, and others interested in a wide range of environmental issues to come together. This Summit not only marked our 25th Anniversary, but also the beginning of a new decade with ever-worsening climate change conditions and a global pandemic that has shut down much of the world.
We were honored to have hosted speakers from across the country who demand change. A Tulane Law School alumnus, Alfred Brownell, presented the Goldman Environmental Prize, an international award he received for his fight to save Liberian tropical forests and preserve the rights of indigenous people.
We were also joined by four incredibly talented and influential keynote speakers: Andrea Rodgers, Vic Sher, M. R. O'Connor, and Alejandro Camacho. To get more people involved in our fight, we must exchange information and trade skills. This year, attendees also had the opportunity to attend a workshop, led by two environmental non-profit groups, and learn about citizen science and activism.
Throughout the Summit organizing process, the students and volunteers were continually exposed to new and exciting developments in environmental law and policy each week. Hundreds of people turned out to attend these panels, engage in discussions, and interact with speakers during coffee breaks or a happy hour meet-and-greets. The Planning Committee and volunteers worked endlessly to ensure that these speakers and attendees had an engaging, informative, and entertaining weekend. We never could have imagined the events that immediately followed the weekend of the Summit, but the event was still a rousing success in the development of discussions and information-sharing in the fields of environmental law and policy.
This coming year, the Environmental Summit will be going completely virtual. We made this decision in light of ensuring the continuation of this tradition while guaranteeing the safety of attendees.
The Environmental and Energy Society students are still hard at work organizing this year’s event along with faculty and staff. Our overarching theme will focus on law and policy as it relates to environmental justice.
Civil rights and environmental rights are inherently intertwined, and especially after such a turbulent year, we feel it is important to dig into these topics to help us become more equitable students, lawyers, and advocates while pursuing careers in protecting our natural resources. Potential panels include the power of storytelling and environmental law, indigenous land and resource rights, and exploring Louisiana’s environmental injustices.
Although we will be using webinar software, we hope to still provide a fulfilling and interesting experience, all while still bringing the charm of New Orleans into our virtual activities. We hope you will join us February 26-27th!