Lawyers Climate Week: Law Firm Action Tuesday, September 24, 2019

 

Founded in August of 2011, the Law Firm Sustainability Network (“LFSN”) consists of law firms united and committed to promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility within their firms and throughout the legal industry.

Dedicated to law firm sustainability, LFSN has sought to establish environmental sustainability as a key component of professional and corporate responsibility.  Committed to improvement, the LFSN developed the American Legal Industry Sustainability Standard (“ALISS”), an online self-assessment for firms to measure key aspects of sustainability, to identify specific areas of strength and opportunities for improvement as well as recognition.   Devoted to knowledge-sharing, the LFSN fosters sharing and collaboration through webinars, roundtables and resources, including on demand learning and case studies that explore a wide-range of sustainability topics.

The LFSN is recognized as the premiere collaborative sustainability organization for U.S. law firms and law offices.  Membership is open to law firms and in-house legal departments.  Many LSFN members are AM Law 100, boutique or regional firms.  LFSN carries diverse representation from attorneys to management to professional and administrative staff sharing perspectives.  The LFSN is in part, funded by the generosity of its Leadership Council, including law firms Beveridge & Diamond PC, Nixon Peabody LLP, and Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  Visit https://lfsnetwork.org or contact Gayatri Joshi, Executive Director of the LFSN, gjoshi@ecoanalyze.com.

What next?

  1. Continue to learn more about the Law Firm Sustainability Network and the ALISS law firm sustainability assessment to see what actions your firm can take.
  2. Register for LFSN’s & CTTB’s co-hosted webinar on Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization and learn how your law firm can participate.
  3. Propose a Meatless Monday campaign in your law firm’s cafeteria and catering to reduce your emissions, conserve resources and raise awareness.

Look out for quick and easy action tips from the LFSN on Law Firm Action Tuesday, Sept. 24th.

Meatless Monday: Do you know what your “methane footprint” is?

Michael Maya, Director
International Bar Association – North America (Washington, D.C.)

Do you know what your “methane footprint” is?  And why is it so important? Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 84x more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.  Leading scientists and the United Nations have issued multiple, dire warnings about the need to keep methane emissions in check.  So what is the biggest contributor to your methane footprint?  Hands down, it’s beef, lamb and other livestock.  In other words, our diets.  More generally, human influenced sources contribute most of the methane in the atmosphere.  But livestock stands out as the most insidious, with grazing animals contributing roughly 40% of the annual methane released per year.  Did you know that, if all the cattle in the world had their own nation, “Cattle-Nation” would be the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the U.S.?  Please see the chart below.

 

Also, did you know that livestock production is the second leading cause of global warming after energy production? Please see the chart below.

 

Leading Causes of Global Warming

Source: www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/the-greenhouse-hamburger/ 

 

There is a reason why it’s useful to think of industrial meat production as the “coal mining of food production.”  Given the above, it’s not surprising that numerous scholars have concluded that reducing our meat consumption is the single most effective thing we can do as individuals to combat climate change.

 

As lawyers, we can use our legal training and advocacy to promote climate solutions.  But as individuals we can be a part of the solution by (1) cutting back on our meat consumption, thereby reducing our methane footprint, and (2) exerting a bit of leadership in our workplace by persuading the organization with which we are affiliated to do the same.  Hence, the concept of Meatless Monday.  Meatless Monday is a simple, elegant, partial solution to mankind’s ever-growing methane footprint.  By giving up meat just one day per week, you are reducing your meat intake by roughly 14% — a very meaningful reduction when it comes to climate change.

 

Call to the Bar and our many partner law firms and organizations are taking the pledge to go Meatless on Mondays.   The International Bar Association’s office in Washington, D.C. last year adopted a Meatless Monday policy at the suggestion of a colleague – to this day, a committed carnivore — who recognized the need to cut back on meat consumption for the sake of our groaning planet.  Will you join us in adopting this policy? How about suggesting that “Meatless Monday” be an agenda item at your next staff meeting?  You likely will be surprised by how many people will support this small but important move in the right direction.  Some of your colleagues will lend their support because they recognize the impact our diet is having on climate change.  Some will be motivated by health reasons, and still others by animal welfare considerations.  Whatever the motivation, your leadership is needed now more than ever.  Thank you for giving this your consideration.

 

Note: If you have questions about the above content, please contact Michael Maya at: michael.maya@int-bar.org

Lawyers Climate Week to Correspond with UN Climate Summit

After one of the hottest summers on record, climate change will be the focus of international attention on September 23, 2019, as the UN convenes in New York for the UN Climate Summit. That entire week in New York City is designated Climate Week NYC.

That same week is also being designated Lawyers Climate Week. From September 23rd-27th, each day of Lawyers Climate Week will highlight a different theme and how you can participate in the solution.   Every week until then, we will focus on one of the daily themes and share aspects of the issues.

  • Monday of Lawyers Climate Week will promote Meatless Mondays as an important step for reducing harmful emissions. Read more here.
  • Tuesday will focus on what lawyers and law firms can do to be more sustainable from the Law Firm Sustainability Network.
  • Wednesday will feature a webinar on Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization.
  • Thursday will feature a webinar on sustainability: What is it? How is it different than climate change?
  • Friday will focus on a call to action by national leaders in government and the private sector.

Lawyers Urge Candidate Debate on Climate Change

The next President will preside over the pivotal period for climate policy and will either make it the main priority for his or her administration or consign future generations to dire health and economic consequences that no later policy can meaningfully address. Proper regard for the future of the planet on which human life depends and for the democratic process requires that the candidates be given an opportunity to discuss their thoughts on the existential problem of climate change and what can be done about it.

For this reason, a group of lawyers and non-lawyers acting as A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change has delivered the attached letter to the Democratic National Committee urging it to hold a debate on climate change. A similar request will be made to the Republican National Committee if a contested primary is held.

If you wish to join in this call for a climate discussion and debate please send a note to the Democratic National Committee at https://my.democrats.org/page/s/contact-the-democrats or send your own letter with an endorsed copy of this letter.

Thank you for taking action on climate change.