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"Don't Be a Fossil Fool: A Recap of The 2020 VJEL Symposium"

October 23, 2020

By Austin Scarborough JD'21

Every year, the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law hosts a symposium. The topics vary and are based on different issues of environmental law. This year, the symposium was based on decarbonization and titled, “Don’t Be a Fossil Fool: Transitioning To, Living In, and Protecting A Decarbonized World.”

There were four panels that focused on clean energy justice, climate goals, nature-based solutions, and grid security. Each panel addressed a different aspect of the importance of decarbonization. Panel members were composed of practitioners, academics, and researchers from around the world. All of this was tied together by our keynote speaker, the global energy scholar Raphael Heffron.

Traditionally, this symposium is held on campus and about 200-400 people attend throughout the day. However, due to the safety of our guests, panelists, and staff, we held the symposium virtually through a livestream service. This was the first symposium that Vermont Law School has ever held in a completely virtual format and we had over 1600 guests throughout the symposium. This is over 4x the number of guests that typically attend.

This is not only a testament to the importance of the topic but the quality and reputation of the speakers as well. The Journal would like to thank all of the Vermont Law School staff that assisted with the transition and promotion of the event. The Journal wants to especially thank Emily Potts for her diligent work in preparation for the event and on the day of the symposium as well.

As we question what our new world will look like post-COVID-19, we know one thing: the importance of environmental law and the Journal’s worldwide status as a leader in legal environmental literature is here to stay.


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