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Rights of Nature: Shifting Paradigms and Grounding in the Law

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Vermont Law School

164 Chelsea Street

Royalton, VT 05068

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Do environmental statutes work? Should nature take the stand in court?

The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Volume 20 Symposium explores a new paradigm in environmental jurisprudence. Drawing on the international trend of legal personhood for natural entities, we will investigate and debate if this approach works in these countries and whether it will work in the United States. We welcome speakers from multiple cultures and perspectives for a lively discussion of nature’s place in our legal system.

Schedule for the day:


8:00am: Breakfast/ Registration

8:30am: Introductory Remarks
Dean McHenry, VLS Dean
Dillon Post, Journal Editor in Chief
John Echeverria, Journal Faculty Advisor
Hannah Dean and Margaret Shugart- Symposium Editors

9:00am: Introductory Panel
Moderator: Tony Zelle, Partner in Zelle McDonough & Cohen, Board Treasurer of Earth Law Center
Margaret Stewart, Director of Center for Earth Jurisprudence
Grant Wilson, Directing Attorney at Earth Law Center
Cormac Cullinan, Directing Attorney with Cullinan and Associates in South Africa, CEO of EnAct International
Shannon Biggs, Co-Founder of Movement Rights
Question and Answer

10:30am: Keynote Address
Catherine Iorns Magallanes, Professor University of Wellington, National Board Member of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand

11:30am: Indigenous Perspectives Panel
Moderator: Rachel Stevens, Attorney and Assistant Professor with Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic
Deon Ben, Grand Canyon Trust and Navajo Nation
Kirsten Anker, McGill University, Faculty of Law
Question and Answer

12:30pm: Lunch
Drafting activity with Steven Marx, gubernatorial candidate in Vermont
Reading examples of constitutional amendments

1:45pm International Panel
Moderator: Tracy Bach, Professor at Vermont Law School
Hugo Echeverria, Environmental Attorney in Ecuador
Craig Kauffman, University of Oregon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Rachelle Adam, Animal Rights and Environmental Attorney and activist in Israel, Lecturer
at the Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
Question and Answer

3:00pm: Break/ Snack

3:15pm: Applied Law Panel
Moderator: Dean Jennifer Rushlow, Director of Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School
Linda Sheehan, Senior Counsel Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Reed Loder, Professor at Vermont Law School
Kevin Schneider, Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project
Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)
Question and Answer

4:45pm: Closing Remarks


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Vermont Law School

164 Chelsea Street

Royalton, VT 05068

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