Environmental Summer Session Participants Visit CIEL

The Environmental Law Summer Session participants had their first site visit of the eleventh annual Environmental Law Summer Session on Friday, May 29 when they visited the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). The Summer Session participants met with several CIEL attorneys, who discussed what they do. CIEL President Carroll Muffett kicked off the visit, welcomed our participants to CIEL, and gave an overview of the organization. Carroll discussed the power of international environmental law and the ability for a small organization to have major impact. Additionally, he discussed CIEL's current work related to climate change litigation. He also discussed the work he has done in the organization starting as an intern and now as president. Then Marcos Orellana (LL.M '98, SJD '09), Director of the Human Rights and Environment Program, discussed the connections between people and environmental harm by highlighting the fact that in most places worldwide, when the environment is being harmed so are the people in the community. He also discussed the various international law tools used to protect human rights and the environment. Lastly, Marcos emphasized the right to a healthy environment as a human right and discussed the debate around it as many countries are unwilling to recognize it. The visit concluded with a discussion with Carla Garcia Zendejas (LL.M '97), Director of the People, Land, and Resources Program, who shared her experiences as an environmental lawyer as well as discussed what she does at CIEL. Carla began her talk by sharing her experiences starting an NGO in Mexico to protect people and workers from harm caused by pollution and new construction of oil terminals and other industry. She described the difficulties of the work as well as the importance of it. Additionally, Carla highlighted the importance of being part of a larger community and support network to help in the struggle to protect people and the environment. As part of this she discussed CIEL's work with the Bank on Human Rights campaign. Carla emphasized how tools, like the Early Warning System, can help alert communities to potential harms and connect them with organizations like CIEL who can assist them in using the independent accountability mechanisms at the various development banks, such as the World Bank Inspection Panel and the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman. All three lawyers took questions and had an interactive discussion with the summer session participants about the challenges of working at an NGO and the areas on which CIEL concentrates.

More pictures coming soon! Check out the ones already posted on Facebook!