The panel discussion, Comparative environmental justice insights from SA and the USA, was chaired by the Vice Chair of the ELA, Dr Melanie Jean Murcott, whose LLM studies focused on the role of environmental justice in South African socio-economic rights litigation, and whose LLD studies focused on developing a legal theory of transformative environmental constitutionalism that can contribute towards the emergence of a social justice-oriented environmental law jurisprudence in the courts. The three experts from left to right were:
Prof. Nadia Ahmad, who spoke to environmental justice under USA law. Nadia is an Associate Professor at Barry University School of Law. Her research explores the intersections of energy siting, the environment, and sustainable development and draws on international investment law and corporate social responsibility. She has published over 30 scholarly articles and book chapters. In 2016, she was recognised by the Orlando Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership and community involvement. Among her many other accolades, Nadia currently serves as Vice Chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice’s Environmental Justice Committee, which was presented with the 2016-2017 ABA Committee Excellence Award, and the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee.
Dr Louis Snyman, who spoke to environmental justice under SA law. Louis is an attorney in South Africa and head of the Environmental Justice Programme at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of Witwatersrand. His PhD examined the conceptual and legal frameworks for spatial planning and environmental management in sensitive areas, and argued that these functions can be better integrated through environmental spatial planning. His work develops this framework through a detailed empirical case study of development in the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site.
Dr Desmond D’Sa, a prominent environmental and human rights activist, who spoke to struggles for environmental justice in South Africa, particularly in his role as co-ordinator of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance. For 25 years Desmond has been a watchdog snapping at the heels of errant companies, particularly major oil refineries who have polluted their way through decades of industrial expansion in the south of Durban, South Africa. Desmond has received the 2013 Diakonia Human Rights Award in light of his selfless and tireless commitment and contribution to environmental justice and human rights in Durban. He has also been honored the 2014 recipient of the very prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize Award and more recently with a doctorate from the Durban University of Technology, Health Sciences Department.
Available on Vimeo
In the midst of a high-stakes local election, a group of grassroots activists in rural Alabama band together to take on industrial polluters and complacent politicians.
Winner of Best Short Film at EarthX Film Festival and the Reel South Award at Indie Grits Film Festival. Official Selection at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and American Documentary Film Festival.
Director: Fraser Jones
25 Feb 2021
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm