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VT Law Environmental Solutions Conference to Feature Whale Wars Star, Look at Eco-Equity

March 21, 2014

CONTACT: Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764,

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., March 21, 2014—Capt. Paul Watson, environmental activist and star of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars,” will join Vermont Law School faculty and students to discuss the impact of environmental degradation on underprivileged and disenfranchised populations during the 2014 “Solutions Conference” March 28 at VLS.

The student-driven, day-long conference, “Eco-Equity—The Crossroads Between Cultural Diversity and Environmentalism,” will include five panels: “Indigenous Rights and the Environment,” “Developing Natural Resources,” “Industrialization and Waste Management,” “Civil Rights and Environmental Justice,” and “Environmental Justice on an International Scale.”

“The concept of environmental justice is about promoting a fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens,” said Vermont Law student Jeremy Walker ’15, one of the conference organizers. “Our panelists will discuss the ability of indigent communities to protect their health, safety, and economic interests from unjust environmental degradation. The conference will be informative not only for law students but also the general public.”

Watson, star of “Whale Wars” and founder of the marine-protection nonprofit Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is one of several panelists slated to speak during the symposium. He will be joined by Dr. Betsy Baker, associate professor and senior fellow for oceans and energy at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law. Their discussion will focus on promoting environmental justice on an international scale, and striking a balance between environmental advocacy and the promotion of cultural traditions.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak with students at Vermont Law School on the issue of Sea Shepherd interventions to oppose poaching by utilizing international law,” said Watson, who was named one of “50 people who could save the planet” (The Guardian). “I will also speak on defending ourselves from civil suits brought against Sea Shepherd by foreign corporations involved in high-seas poaching.”

Conference organizers look forward to hearing what Watson, a somewhat controversial figure, has to say.

“Captain Watson works on the front lines of marine conservation for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, work that is more dangerous and challenging than many people realize,” said Rachel Stewart ’16. “From a young age I was personally drawn to stories of the Sea Shepherd for their well-publicized fight against Japanese whaling, but their work in the Faroe Islands—and so many other places around the globe—is equally worthy of recognition. I’m ecstatic that Captain Watson is able to attend and personally impart to us the critically important message and considerable drive that has always been at the heart of Sea Shepherd.”

Details and speaker bios for the following panels are available online:

  • “Indigenous Rights and the Environment”: Advocacy tools available to indigenous people and how these tools may be implemented in other communities.
  • “Civil Rights and Environmental Justice”: How to motivate the public to take action against environmental injustices and a discussion of what remedies are available through an environmental law suit.
  • “Industrialization and Waste Management”: Case studies where communities have successfully risen against the threats of industrialization and poor waste management planning.
  • “Developing Natural Resources”: Economic rights versus impacts on culture, health, and the environment.
  • “Environmental Justice on an International Scale”: Striking a balance between environmental advocacy and the promotion of cultural traditions. Q&A.
The 2014 Solutions Conference is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, Latin American Law Students Association, Native American Law Students Association, and Environmental Law Society. For more information, including registration and continuing legal education credits, visit or email



Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

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