Lawyers Climate Week Day 2: Law Firm Action Tuesday

MAKE YOUR ORGANIZATION MORE SUSTAINABLE.

10 QUICK AND EASY ACTIONS

 

 

  1. Set your printers to duplex printing by default and use a minimum of 30% recycled content to consume fewer trees.
  2. Use a small, thin font like Courier or one that has perforation to use less ink.
  3. Create a supplies reuse center to save money and use fewer materials.
  4. Reuse materials like bubble wrap and paper for packages and recycle plastic packaging (i.e., shrinkwrap, plastic pouches etc) that bear the Store Drop Off label.
  5. Choose non-stop flights; as much as 50% of emissions come from takeoff and landing.
  6. Opt out of single-serve coffee pods or use ones that are recyclable or compostable.
  7. Buy Energy Star-rated electronics/appliances to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
  8. Use non-toxic paints/carpeting to reduce pollutants and emissions and to improve employee wellness.
  9. Institute a “last out, lights off” policy to conserve energy and money.
  10. Maintain your HVAC system to ensure optimum temperature, humidity, and air quality to reduce environmental impact as well enhance employee productivity and wellness.

 

BONUS:  Member of the LFSN?  Complete your ALISS law firm sustainability assessment!  Or become a member and take the assessment!

Lawyers Climate Week Day 1: Take the Meatless Monday Pledge

Skipping meat for one day a week is a modest change that can make a BIG difference in your carbon/methane footprint. Getting your workplace to adopt Meatless Monday will make a far BIGGER difference.

 

Here are 9 facts for you and your colleagues to consider:

  1. Meat production is one of the largest contributors to methane in the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 84x more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
  2. 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.
  3. Animal based foods are far more resource intensive, while plant based foods have a vastly lower carbon footprint.
  4. A third of the world’s crops and a third of available fresh water are used for livestock production.
  5. Eating less meat and more plant-based food can make you and your colleagues significantly more healthy.
  6. The average American consumes about 8 ounces of meat per day.   By eliminating meat from your diet just one day per week you’re reducing your meat intake by 14%.
  7. A Meatless Monday advocate emits nearly a ton less of CO2 per year.
  8. The shift towards plant based foods is being driven by millennials, who are much more conscious of how much meat they eat, where it comes from and how it impacts the environment; a workplace that adopts Meatless Monday is a more millennial-friendly workplace, which may even help with recruiting and retention.
  9. Every burger you replace with a veggie or meat alternative burger is the same as driving your car 320 fewer miles.

Take the pledge and go Meatless on Mondays!  And how about putting Meatless Monday on the agenda of your next staff meeting?

Thank you for giving this your consideration, and please consider sharing these facts with a few colleagues and friends.

How to Participate in Lawyers Climate Week

Over the course of the past five weeks, we have introduced you to the different daily themes being held for Lawyers Climate Week.  Starting on Monday 9/23, you will receive a daily email that you can share with your colleagues.  We invite you and encourage you to participate in programs and call to action.

Monday, 9/23: Meatless Monday
Learn more Meatless Monday facts in our next blast and Pledge to go Meatless Mondays.  Call to the Bar and our many partner law firms and organizations are taking the pledge to go Meatless on Mondays.  Make it a year around program in your cafeteria and catering.

Tuesday, 9/24: Law Firm Action Tuesday
Learn more about the Law Firm Sustainability Network and in our Tuesday blast, adopt the LFSN’s quick and easy sustainability tips to make your organization more sustainable. Already an LFSN member?  Take action by submitting your ALISS law firm sustainability assessment.Wednesday, 9/25: Legal Pathways Webinar Wednesday
On Wednesday, join the Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization webinar and learn how you and your organization can participate in this unique pro bono project in which lawyers draft model legislation to implement recommendations from the book.Thursday, 9/26:  ESGs & SDGs Sustainability Webinar Thursday 

On Thursday, join our webinar to learn why capital markets are focused on how companies integrate ESG factors and SDGS into business management.  Incorporate them in your organization’s mission and in your practice.  

Friday, 9/27: Lawyers for Climate Action Now
On Friday, we’ll share more on the call to action to contact your representatives in government.  Sign and send the letter or send your own on the call for climate action now.

You have your checklist for next week, tell us how you plan to participate.

Lawyers Climate Week: Lawyers for Climate Action Now Friday, September 27

Lawyers, individually, and collectively as a profession, are uniquely positioned to advance public sector climate solutions. Protecting society from harm is the most fundamental purpose of law and government. Faced with clear evidence of impending harm, we as citizens and lawyers have a duty to speak out on the need for effective government action to prevent or mitigate such harm. Climate change is a current and impending harm.

Lawyers have a special duty to speak out on important societal issues, especially regarding matters that may be effectively redressed through law. As concerned citizens, lawyers can be valuable participants in many forms of climate sustainability activism, including advocating for action to elected official and policymakers. As part of Lawyers Climate Week, on Friday September 27, 2019, we are urging that letters be sent to your elected officials to urge meaningful and cost-effective action to address climate change.

A brief excerpt of the attached draft letter that can be sent to U.S. Senators and Representatives on the climate emergency follows:

As a first step toward slowing and then reversing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, I urge you to support or sponsor legislation that would put a price on carbon, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and boost renewable energy and climate friendly agriculture. Without these commonsense steps we will consign future generations to dire health, safety, security and economic consequences that no later policy can meaningfully and cost-effectively address.

You can find your elected officials at the federal level in the U.S. as follows:

Our call to our fellow members of the bar – and others – for climate action begins now. Won’t you add your voice to the call.

Constituent Letter Sample

The Global Climate Strike is Coming

The world will be focused on climate change at the end of September.  The United Nations will be holding a climate summit on Monday, September 23. Activities will be taking place all week to focus attention on the challenges caused by climate change and the need for urgent actions to combat it.  The American Bar Association has just passed a resolution urging lawyers to get involved with climate advocacy.  At Lawyers for Climate Action-A Call to the Bar, we are responding with Lawyers Climate Week, offering educational events and opportunities for activism to the legal profession.

 

Before all that happens, however, young people will lead the way.  You can help.  On September 20, youth activists will lead a Global Climate Strike.  This strike marks the next step in the series of school strikes for climate and other activism led by young climate change advocates like the Juliana litigation plaintiffs, Alexandra Villasenior, and Greta Thunberg, who traveled across the ocean in a zero greenhouse-gas emissions sailboat to take part in this month’s events.

 

Young people, who have more at stake than any of us, will again lead a series of protests and other actions.  This time, they are asking adults to join them.   “If a kid says help, you help.”  We encourage lawyers who are able to do so, to answer their call.  Nobody should neglect their solemn responsibilities to their clients.  But most of the time, lawyers have more flexibility than health care professionals, teachers, or workers assigned to shifts about how and when we do our work, and when to pursue other interests and commitments.  On September 20, consider spending part of your day taking part in climate activism, and permitting your colleagues at your law firm, school, business or other organization to do the same.  And let us know—we’ll be sure to give you some shine!

Lawyers Climate Week: Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization Webinar Wednesday, September 25, 2019

 

Join us for a special session on Wednesday, September 25th, as Call to the Bar and the Law Firm Sustainability Network co-host a webinar session to discuss the book titled Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States and a unique pro bono project in which lawyers draft model legislation to implement recommendations from the book. Register here.

This book contains key information and recommendations that explain technical and policy pathways for reducing US greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.  This 80×50 target and similarly aggressive carbon abatement goals are often referred to as deep decarbonization, distinguished because it requires systemic changes to the energy economy. Using these technical and policy pathways, Legal Pathways provides a legal playbook for deep decarbonization in the United States, identifying well over 1,000 legal options for enabling the United States to address one of the greatest problems facing this country and the rest of humanity.

Participants are invited to learn how law firms can help implement the more than 1,000 options identified in a new book, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, edited by Professors Michael Gerrard and John Dernbach. More than 20 law firms have already signed up for this work, and more are needed.The legal options identified involve federal, state and local law, as well as private governance. The 34 individual topics addressed by the book relate generally to:

  • Energy efficiency, conservation, and fuel switching in buildings, industry and transportation
  • Electricity and fuel decarbonization
  • Carbon capture and negative emissions
  • Non-carbon dioxide climate pollutants

OUR SPEAKERS

John Dernbach

Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center @Widener University

John Dernbach is a nationally and internationally recognized authority on sustainable development, climate change, and environmental law. He is the director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, and brings his expertise on property, environmental law, international law, and sustainability. Professor Dernbach writes and lectures widely on climate change, sustainable development, and environmental law. He has written more than 50 articles for law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, and has authored, coauthored, or contributed chapters to more than 20 books  Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center@Widener University

 

Michael Gerrard
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice @Columbia Law School
Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation, and founded and directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He also chaired the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute from 2015 to 2018. From 1979 through 2008, he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter. Upon joining the Law School faculty in 2009, he became the senior counsel. His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals; handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects; and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors. A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book Award.

Richard Horsch
Retired Partner of Counsel @White & Case 
Rick Horsch is Retired Partner of Counsel at White & Case LLP, a global law firm. His practice has focused on U.S. environmental law and international environmental law.  He regularly advises on climate change matters. He is a former Co-Chair of the ABA International Environmental Law Committee. Since 2011 he has been an Adjunct with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies where he teaches courses on domestic and international environmental law. He is currently working on a pro bono basis with Professors John Dernbach and Michael Gerrard in managing the Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization implementation project.