Skip to main content
News Release

‘Law and Policy for a New Economy’ Redefines Boundaries of Environmentalism

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


The current political economic system is misaligned for meeting the global imperatives of rapidly reducing greenhouse gases and sharing wealth more equitably, the authors of a new book maintain. In "Law and Policy for a New Economy: Sustainable, Just, and Democratic" (Edward Elgar, May 2017), legal experts address issues ranging from climate disruption to energy and food as they present a systems-change approach for reorienting the economy.

"The challenges we face are much broader than setting parameters around pollution," said Associate Dean Melissa K. Scanlan, editor of "Law and Policy for a New Economy" and cofounder and director of the New Economy Law Center at Vermont Law School. "They go to the heart of the dominant, global political economy. Our legal experts examine the values needed to transform the current system into one supportive of ecological integrity, social justice, and vibrant democracy. And they provide a greater understanding of how we move off fossil fuels and reimagine the creation and ownership of energy and food, as well as shift investments to capitalize local, mission-driven business."

"If the lawyers of the world don't find a way to accelerate the evolution of environmental law, we will all be guilty of planetary malpractice," said Durwood Zaelke of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development in his review. "This timely and provocative book sets up our challenge and starts us thinking of some possible solutions."

Chapters include "The Joyful Economy: Rising Up from the Devastation of People and Nature" by James Gustave "Gus" Speth, cofounder of the New Economy Law Center; "New Hopes and Hazards for Social Investment Crowdfunding" by Professor Jennifer Taub, nationally recognized for her research and writing on corporate governance and financial market reform; "Distributed Renewables in the New Economy: Lessons from Community Solar Development in Vermont" by Professor Kevin B. Jones, director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), and Assistant Professor Mark James; and "Legal Democracy: Using Legal Design, Technology and Communications to Reform Food and Agriculture Systems" by Professor Laurie Ristino, director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS).

For more information about "Law and Policy for a New Economy: Sustainable, Just, and Democratic," visit

New Economy Law Center scholars and environmentalists explore the role of law and policy change in transitioning to a new economy. Founded in 2015, the center is the first virtual community of law and policy scholars of its kind, with fellows working across multiple disciplines and countries. The center provides a framework for people to share best practices and develop concepts from around the world. For more information, visit


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation's largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; three Master's Degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, and Center for Applied Human Rights. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.​