Environmental Justice Law Society

Environmental Justice Statement of Purpose

EJLS is a student organization whose purpose is to help build capacity for action within the Vermont Law School (VLS) community as well as nationally and internationally in order to further the Environmental Justice movement. Environmental degradation, climate change, and pollution disproportionately affect low-income and communities of color. EJLS recognizes that while some communities are bearing an unfair environmental burden, others are realizing a disproportionate benefit from the same. These communities have historically been targeted for polluting industries like waste facilities, chemical plants, and power plants while regulators provide little enforcement. As a result, these communities are more likely to suffer adverse health effects as a result of toxics, pollution, water contamination, and inadequate access to healthcare and fresh food. Individuals in EJ communities--particularly children--are at an increased risk of adverse health effects EJLS further recognizes that communities of color and low-income communities do not have the same opportunities to parks, recreation, and healthy food. Environmental justice is the belief that--regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or geography--all people have a right to live in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment.

Environmental Justice Goals

It is the goal of EJLS to break the cycle of disproportionate impacts in communities of color and low-income communities. Our specific goals include, but are not limited to:

  1. Discussion. Providing a forum to discuss local, regional, and nationwide solutions to Environmental Justice issues both on and off VLS campus;
  2. Awareness. Providing educational opportunities regarding local, regional, national, and international Environmental Justice issues for the VLS community;
  3. Accountability. Abide by and promoting the 17 principles of Environmental Justice;
  4. Cooperation. Coordinate with government, private, nonprofit, and other institutions on current and future environmental justice initiatives;
  5. Activism. Providing members a platform in which they can formulate and review Environmental Justice legislation and litigation.
  6. Access. Providing access for the student body to Environmental Justice leaders;
  7. Insight. Demonstrating the link between people within the spaces they inhabit and the public health, civil liberties, and workers’ rights issues that persist in those spaces.