Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will speak at two Valley events this week on the topic of climate change. (photo by Nicholas Whitman)

Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will speak at two Valley events this week on the topic of climate change. (photo by Nicholas Whitman)

Extinction—and not of the legal profession—will be the topic of some important conversations this week.

Typically, I offer nonlegal items on Fridays, when Change of Venue requires a loosening of the tie and a gaze turned toward the weekend. But a few events this week lead me to shift the schedule a bit.

the_sixth_extinction_cover1-by-elizabeth-kolbertSpeaking at a few events, Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will discuss humanity’s role in climate change, the history of cataclysm, and the future of our species. In her presentations, she will draw on one of her books, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

The first of two related events occurs in downtown Phoenix at the Orpheum Theatre (203 W. Adams St.) on Wednesday, October 19, at 7 pm. There, as part of the “Origins Project Conversation: Inconvenient Truths,” Kolbert will have “an unscripted and candid conversation” with Arizona State University archaeologist Curtis Marean, Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer, and ASU theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss.

Tickets for the Orpheum/Origins Project evening may be purchased here.

Then, at 7 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2016, Kolbert will speak again at the Tempe Center for the Arts (700 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281). This is a free event, “as part of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, an interdisciplinary partnership between the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives that explores how imagination, storytelling and the arts can merge with scientific inquiry to shape humanity’s response to climate change and create global solutions for the future.”

A Q&A session will take place after the lecture, with a brief reception and book signing to follow. This event is open to the public and free.

You can RSVP to the Tempe/Piper Center event here.

And you can get more detail from the event’s Facebook page here.


asu bonn un climate change negotiations polar bear

The climate is changing, along with the increasing impressiveness of law students.

Well done to law student bloggers. You are engaging in an activity that will distinguish you as you move into a challenging profession.

That’s what I thought as I read the blog posts of ASU students fortunate enough to attend a climate change conference in Europe. They covered the events and their participation well and with wit (e.g., “The first [] plenary was surprisingly dramatic, the hotel wifi is atrocious for an international event, the hotel buffet reminded one student of Reno, NV”). And apparently their posts received more than 1,500 visits.

As I reported previously, the students presented research on international legal regimes at the gathering in Bonn, Germany. Their involvement grew out of research they did with Professors Daniel Bodansky and Daniel Rothenberg.

You can read all the student posts here.

Here’s hoping that the blogging skill is one they continue to hone as they return and move toward law practice. As a wise man once said, strategy is nothing more than the ability to differentiate yourself from your peers (more on strategy next week).

blog_word_imageIn the blogging realm, there may be a handful of bloggers committed to the topic of climate change and law. And when you restrict the pool to one state only, there may be no one covering that increasingly important territory. Now that’s differentiation.

The days of waiting silently for your “turn” to exhibit your skill in a niche are long gone. Today, a law student or new lawyer may—should—develop blog content along with a voice that conveys knowledge and commands attention.

Keep blogging, exhibit your knowledge and your passion, and folks will notice.

Have a great weekend. And if you haven’t started a blog, give it some thought.

asu bonn un climate change negotiations polar bear

The climate is changing, along with the increasing impressiveness of law students.

I recall law school as periods of intense work surrounding by longer stretches of incomprehensible reading, periodic nervous gazing at my checkbook register, and coffee. Much coffee.

So when I heard about another approach, I had to take notice.

This week and next, a group of ASU Law School students will be in Germany, where they will present their own research on climate change as it relates to the law and international agreements.

And while they’re doing this, they will blog.

ASU Professor Daniel Bodansky

ASU Professor Daniel Bodansky

Did I mention I was good at drinking coffee?

In any case, the students and their faculty members will be abroad from June 3 to June 14.

Here is how the law school’s own Janie Magruder describes the exploits of these talented people:

“A group of professors and students from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will present their research on international legal regimes at a global climate change negotiation organized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 3-14, in Bonn, Germany.”

“The law students—Daniel Crane, a May 2013 graduate, 3Ls Evan Singleton and Michael O’Boyle, and Ashley Votruba, a student in the J.D./Ph.D. Social Psychology program—will address participants on June 5. They will be accompanied by Professor Daniel Bodansky, the ASU Lincoln Professor of Law, Ethics, and Sustainability, and Daniel Rothenberg, a Professor of Practice in the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies, and the Lincoln Fellow for Ethics and International Human Rights Law.”

ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg

ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg

“The students’ work resulted from an independent research project this past spring, taught and supervised by Bodansky and Rothenberg, housed in the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, and funded by the ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. They were chosen from 20 applicants for ‘The Future of Climate Change Negotiations Project,’ during which they learned about the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and other elements of the larger effort to use international law and regulations to address global climate change.”

Both of those professors are amazing scholars, so I’m sure the students are getting the learning experience of a lifetime.

Read more about the trip here.

And as I said, they’ll be posting on a blog throughout their time in Germany. Why don’t you bookmark their page to keep tabs on them. Who knows; they may even allow comments and questions (giving us all a pen pal abroad!).

We hear much talk about environmental awareness these days. But fold in a conversation on ethics? That’s a new twist.

“Sustainability and Ethics” was the title of a Friday program at Arizona State University. It was part of a daylong event sponsored by the Women Law Students’ Association at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The panelists were:

Ed Fox, APS, and Kris Mayes, ASU Law School, at February 11 event

In the April issue of the magazine, we will have more about this great panel. In the meantime, there are more photos on the magazine’s Facebook page.

Judge Mary Schroeder in Arizona Attorney Magazine, May 2003

Later this week, I will attend a panel discussion on environmental sustainability. I’m looking forward to it—but many others run hot and cold on the topic.

The symposium is part of a larger event sponsored by the Women Law Students Association at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It is called “Arizona: Exploring Our Legal Landscape,” and it is slated for this Friday, February 11.

The day’s offerings sound great. They include a keynote by Judge Mary Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (Read our 2003 story about Judge Schroeder here.) Other topics that will be covered are issues in family and social justice, diversity and immigration, and nonlawyer views.

But it is the panel on “Sustainability and Ethics” that is hooking me. It includes Professor Dan Bodansky (whom we featured in a recent story), Ed Fox with APS, and former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes.

In Arizona Attorney Magazine, we have been running features that fall under our banner “Earthwise Lawyering,” and this event sounds like more valuable information to share with readers. I am hoping the speakers explore how a concept like sustainability interacts with climate change.

Dan Bodansky in Arizona Attorney, October 2010

However, a news story I came across today reminds me of the pitfalls that lie ahead in any attempt to address—or even discuss—climate change. The story describes efforts in the U.S. Congress to reverse federal efforts to control carbon emissions—or to participate at all in climate change initiatives. Read the full article here.

I’ll report out after Friday’s conference.

Kris Mayes