Legal education isn’t just about scholarship. At Berkeley Law, it’s also about action—especially on issues as urgent as global warming—with students driving vital climate work across campus.
Ecology Law Quarterly, among the oldest student-run environmental law journals, publishes articles on hot-button topics by professors, practitioners, and professionals outside the legal community. There is also an annual issue devoted to student work, and ELQ awards fellowships to students working in the public sector on environmental initiatives.
Co-editors-in-chief and 2019 graduates Craig Spencer and Stephanie Phillips led 90 students at the journal this school year, publishing leading content around important environmental themes. “Recent articles on offshore drilling, marijuana cultivation on public lands, and the Clean Air Act’s constitutionality represent ELQ’s wide-ranging approach to environ-mental scholarship. We aim to spark and shape these often controversial discussions,” Spencer says.
One student whose work will appear in an upcoming ELQ issue is Candice Youngblood ’19.
She received a merit-based Switzer Environmental Fellowship, given to 20 graduate students nationwide, after her research on the environmental justice implications of indirect source air pollution at California ports circulated among academics and regulatory decision makers.
Youngblood also helped reignite a popular Students for Economic and Environmental Justice (SEEJ) symposium, attended by more than 200 students, lawyers, academics, and community members this year. When a college class revealed that her home neighborhood’s pollution burden and vulnerability was in the 99th percentile for California census tracts, Youngblood’s asthma became a source of personal and professional motivation.
“The environmental justice movement arose because communities of color felt that the environmental space was largely white, middle-class, and conservation-oriented; meanwhile, we were fighting for our lives,” she notes. Promoting the core value of empowering communities to speak for themselves, Youngblood says her “mission at SEEJ is both to help fill a curriculum gap and foster institutional knowledge so that the work continues.”
Kaela Shiigi ’20 helps the campus-wide Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative by holding energy networking events and bringing in speakers on everything from the Paris Climate Agreement to water justice.
She has also collaborated with SEEJ to enlist speakers on “issues that cut across traditional practice,” such as “the tensions between providing clean and affordable energy and who bears the costs of these large-scale projects.”