Edith Brown Weiss Delivered First Talk in the Environmental Law Distinguished Speaker Series
Web Editor - Published: September 26, 2010
On Thursday, September 23rd, Edith Brown Weiss, the Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law at Georgetown University Law Center, spoke to faculty and staff in the Barrister’s Club on the Delaware campus. Her presentation – the first in a new Environmental Law Distinguished Speaker Series sponsored by the Environmental Law Center – was also shown via teleconference in Harrisburg.

Before Professor Brown Weiss spoke, Professor James May gave a brief background of the Environmental Law Center and the origin of the Environmental Law Distinguished Speaker Series. Distinguished Professor Andrew Strauss then introduced Edith Brown Weiss, saying, “She has been a major, major force in international law.”

Before giving a brief historical perspective on major developments in international environmental law, Professor Brown Weiss noted, “Environment is something that concerns all of us. We all are constituents of environmental law.” Throughout her remarks, she stressed the importance of “transparency and accountability.” She suggested that further developments must come from the “emergence of common values” as people around the world realize that environmental law issues impact everyone on the planet.

Upon the conclusion of her remarks, Professor Brown Weiss took questions from the audience. She answered a question about whether or not we had met a moral responsibility to future generations by saying, “No. We haven’t implemented solutions, and we haven’t given younger generations a voice.” She also took questions on the connection between international environmental law and poverty, how to combat the fact that human self-interest can impede real reform, the role of personal values in setting policy, international collaboration and overpopulation, the potential contributions of domestic constitutional law.

A graduate of Stanford University, Edith Brown Weiss earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and an Honorary LL.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. From 1990 to 1992, Professor Brown Weiss served as Associate General Counsel for International Activities at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Before joining the faculty at Georgetown, she was a Professor of Civil Engineering and Politics at Princeton University. In 2003, she received the ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy.

The next speaker in the Environmental Law Distinguished Speaker series will be Professor Robert V. Percival of the University of Maryland School of Law on Tuesday, November 9th. He will present “Liability for Environmental Harm and Emerging Global Environmental Law” on the Harrisburg campus.