The thesis of the E4A and L4E Law and Governance Research Initiative, led by Geoffrey Garver, is that the Anthropocene imposes a pressing need to reframe law and governance toward a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship, with rigorous reliance on contemporary science and traditional knowledge systems. The research initiative is coordinated closely with the work of the Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA)  ELGA emerged out of the 2016 Oslo Manifesto for Ecological Law and Governance. Per the Manifesto, “the ecological approach to law is based on ecocentrism, holism, and intra-/intergenerational and interspecies justice. From this perspective, or worldview, the law will recognise ecological interdependencies and no longer favour humans over nature and individual rights over collective responsibilities. Essentially, ecological law internalizes the natural living conditions of human existence and makes them the basis of all law, including constitutions, human rights, property rights, corporate rights and state sovereignty.”

2020 Work Plan

The 2020 work plan for the E4A L&G Research Initiative builds on previous efforts, notably a October 2017 joint E4A/ELGA workshop on the transition from environmental to ecological law and Ecological Law and Governance webinars that began in 2017. New in 2020 is work on ecological law case studies, which are designed 1) to highlight how ecological law transforms not just environmental law but all areas of contemporary law and 2) to give the mostly theoretical concepts of ecological law concrete ground in real life situations around the world. 


Key Activities for 2020

1) Continuation of the EL&G webinar series, in partnership with ELGA, the Australia Earth LawS Alliance, the Center for Environmental Ethics and Law, Earth Law Center and the World Commission on Environmental Law

2) Initiation of a series of Ecological Law Case Studies in Quebec, Vermont, Brazil and elsewhere, kicked off with presentations by Geoffrey Garver and Carla Sbert at a February 2020 EL&G webinar, with a view to publishing the studies along with a comparative analysis in 2021;

3) Publication of the book From Environmental to Ecological Law, edited by Kirsten Anker, Peter Burdon, Geoffrey Garver, Michelle Maloney and Carla Sbert (Routledge);

4) Coordination of EL&G panels at a relevant conferences and symposia, and

5) Ongoing collaboration with ELGA and ELGA partners and regional research centers on joint areas of interest. Click here for more details.

Past EL&G webinars covering the intersection of ecological law and governance with topics such as rights of nature, oceans, ethics and spirituality, human rights, climate change, COVID-19 and more are archived on the ELGA website