January 31, 2023

Environmental Justice Focus for Prominent Law Review Journal

Environmental Law 2022 dedicates its next issue to environmental justice topics.

Lewis & Clark’s upcoming Environmental Law Review (ELR) issue (vol. 52, issue 5) will be dedicated solely to environmental justice. As the nation’s oldest environmental law journal, the current student editorial leadership wants to use the law review’s position as a premier legal forum to foster diversity of authorship and shift the environmental discourse to issues faced by underrepresented populations. To that end, ELR is preparing articles that address the intersection of climate change, social, racial, public health, and environmental justice issues. The journal especially encouraged authors of color, women, and Indigenous authors to submit.

2022 Editor in Chief, Amy Kraitchmen, explained the journal’s decision. “When the current board and I transitioned into our positions at ELR, we knew we wanted to make environmental justice a priority for the journal. Because of the ELR’s strong reputation in the environmental community, we decided to use our platform to showcase voices and topics that aren’t always discussed in mainstream journals.” Along with this issue, ELR plans to debut additional DEI initiatives and publishing standards to ensure equal representation among authors and acknowledge social inequalities.

The environmental justice volume similarly provides an opportunity to showcase student work. “Everyone here writes a capstone, and Law Review requires every member to submit a paper,” said Kraitchman. “We publish four issues in our volumes and try to publish at least one student paper in each issue. It’s a great opportunity to promote the work everyone’s doing.” ELR’s winter issue (vol. 52, issue 4) is live and features a comment by recent alum Alexandria McCaskill JD ’22 on Funding for Green Spaces in Environmental Justice Communities.

Still, the push for environmental justice isn’t just from ELR. According to Kraitchman, there is a campus-wide interest in developing a stronger environmental justice focus at Lewis & Clark. “Almost everyone on the journal editorial staff has taken, or wants to take Prof. Lisa Benjamin’s Environmental Justice course.” While environmental justice may have once seemed like an emerging topic, students like Kraitchman now consider it a necessary competency for any environmental practice.