Climate Courage: Remaking Environmental Law


We are living in the shadow of convergent crises. Social, racial, and economic inequality tears at the fabric of democracy. Global ecological crisis rips at the seams of social stability. Amidst these convergent crises, climate change looms. Climate change threatens to destabilize society and exacerbate existing patterns of inequality. However, it also creates opportunities to disrupt persistent patterns of exclusion and inequality as we pursue pathways for a just transition. Climate change compels us to rethink the role of environmental law in advancing transformative change. It invites us to consider how environmental law perpetuates inequality and how environmental law can operate more effectively to advance structural change. This Article advances that project.

Climate Courage highlights the existence of a swelling movement to advance environmental and climate law in ways that better align with other progressive law reform projects. It begins by disentangling the roots of U.S. environmental law to understand how the field emerged and evolved alongside but largely detached from other contemporary law reform movements before examining how the environmental justice movement and complementary projects are prompting a critical reassessment of environmental and climate law. The Article then identifies how intersecting crises are spawning a new generation of leaders who are unleashing more inclusive visions of life under and beyond the rule of law. Focusing on climate change, Climate Courage shows how these movements are creating opportunities to reimagine and remake environmental law.

“If we act now, together, united, to save those of us on the front lines, in the end it will also end up saving the rest of the world.”
– Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner
Iep Jāltok, Poems from a Marshallese Daughter (2018)


Stanford University Stanford, California
  • Cinnamon P. Carlarne, Climate Courage: Remaking Environmental Law, 41 Stan. Envtl. L. J. 125 (2022).
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