About ELSC

Professor John Dernbach and Students at Harrisburg's City CouncilWelcome to the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center’s website. The Center will create new opportunities to engage our students and the faculty in the practical problems faced by state and local government and the practicing bar.   We will propose, advocate, and evaluate the effectiveness of laws relating to the environment, energy, and climate change, and help public and private decision makers solve legal problems concerning these subjects.   We will help prospective and current students engage in environmental law while they are at Widener, through clinics, coursework, externships, and other activities.  Finally, we will better help students prepare for careers in environmental law, climate change and energy opportunities that will become more numerous and challenging in the years ahead.

Law for Sustainability
The Center’s credo is “Law for Sustainability.”  The Center will attempt to answer–through scholarship, teaching, applied research, special projects, and clinical programs–the question of how law can and should be used to achieve sustainability.  The urgency of the task before us requires this kind of engaged effort:  providing information, tools, skills, and ideas that policy makers, practicing lawyers, law students, and future lawyers can use to address the challenges and opportunities of sustainability.

Sustainable development provides a framework for humans to live and prosper in harmony with nature rather than at nature’s expense.  Nonetheless, sustainability does not now have an adequate or supportive legal foundation, in spite of the many environmental and natural resources laws that exist.  If we are to make significant progress toward a sustainable society, much less achieve sustainability, we need to develop and implement new or modified laws and legal institutions.  Government, business, and nongovernmental organizations increasingly demand legal work that addresses sustainable development issues.

On this website, you will find information about the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center and links to much more.  We hope you will join with us in shaping environmental law and policy in the 21st century.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let us know.

Header Photo Credit: Migrating Snow Geese, Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Pa. Photo by Rick Carlson. © Sand River Photography