Climate and Environment

The climate emergency and environmental degradation are defining challenges of our time. They constitute an existential threat to the rights of present and future generations and to life on Earth writ large. To address this, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) engages in work at the intersection of environmental justice, climate change, and global human rights with academic and civil society partners in the Global South and the Global North. Our work takes on a systemic, forward-looking, and interdisciplinary approach that seeks to hold governments and corporations accountable for climate and environmental harms as well as amplify the voices of those most affected by them, from indigenous peoples to marginalized communities to future generations.

CHRGJ combines academic research and training, capacity building, advocacy, and strategic litigation to accelerate action on the climate emergency. It also works to redress harms generated by extractive industries and hold corporations engaged in extractive activities accountable for human rights abuses. Additionally, CHRGJ works to advance indigenous rights, including territorial rights, in regions and ecosystems like the Amazon, whose survival is essential to that of the planet.  The recognition that vulnerable regions and communities disproportionately bear the brunt of global warming and environmental degradation drives all of CHRGJ’s activities in this line of work.

CHRGJ spearheads these efforts in collaboration with partners around the world, including research centers, scientists, human rights and environmental NGOs, indigenous peoples, rural communities, and social movement organizations.

Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative

The Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative is part of the Global Justice Clinic (GJC) and collaborates with social movements and organizations in the Caribbean, with an initial focus on Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The initiative aims to uphold the human rights of marginalized communities on the frontlines of the global climate crisis and to advance their climate justice priorities nationally and internationally.

Climate Litigation Accelerator (CLX)

The Climate Litigation Accelerator (CLX) forms a central component of CHRGJ’s work on climate change and the environment. CLX helps advocacy and litigation efforts attain the speed and scale necessary to spur action on the climate emergency within the limited timeframe left to avoid triggering extreme scenarios of global warming. CLX conducts cutting-edge, comparative socio-legal research on rights-based climate litigation and serves as a collaborative hub for climate litigators, scholars, and advocates around the world. CLX aims to radically increase the impact and urgency of climate litigation by identifying gaps in existing practice, connecting litigants and experts in different fields (from climate science to strategic communications to climate economics), and spearheading and supporting climate lawsuits and other forms of advocacy.

Litigating the Climate Emergency

As part of its role as a collaborative hub, CLX hosts regular public webinars and strategic workshops. Leading climate change and human rights organizations, practitioners, scholars, and advocates from different regions comprise this community of practice and engage in collaborative strategizing. The events provide spaces for inter-disciplinary dialogue and learning, case workshopping and development, and catalyzing collaborations on legal actions. Recent community of practice webinars have focused on using climate change and human rights litigation to hold corporations accountable for climate harms and on the implications of COVID-19 for climate litigation.

As part of its knowledge production and capacity building work, CLX publishes original research by scholars and practitioners from the Global South and North. Recent publications include a blog series on “Litigating the Climate Emergency” in Open Global Rights and a forthcoming volume on the same topic.

Haiti Justice and International Accountability

The Global Justice Clinic (GJC) has a long history of collaborating with organizations in Haiti to promote the rights of marginalized populations. The Clinic works to advance transparency and public discussion of mining and to support mining-affected communities to meaningfully participate in decisions that affect their future. In 2013 the GJC began collaborating with the Kolektif Jistis Min (Justice in Mining Collective or Collective), a platform of Haitian social justice organizations, to advance human rights threatened by the development of metal mining in Haiti. This collaboration aims to empower communities affected by mining activity to know their rights, access information, collect relevant evidence, and monitor human rights violations.

Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative
Climate Litigation Accelerator (CLX)
Haiti Justice and International Accountability
Arpitha Kodiveri
Research Director
Ashley Otilia Nemeth
Research Scholar and Project Supervisor
Carlos Andrés Baquero-Díaz
Research Assistant
César Rodríguez-Garavito
CHRGJ Chair and Faculty Director
Professor of Clinical Law
Ellie Happel
Interim Director, Global Justice Clinic
Co-Director, Haiti Justice and International Accountability
Co-Director, Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative
Gabrielle Apollon
Director, Haitian Immigrant Rights Project
Jacqueline Gallant
Litigation Associate, Climate Litigation Accelerator
Melina De Bona 
Litigation Associate, Climate Litigation Accelerator
Sienna Merope-Synge
Co-Director, Caribbean Climate Justice Initiative
Director, Indigenous Land Rights and Earth Defense Project
Sharma Aurelin
Affiliate, Global Justice Clinic
Related Events
September 27, 2023
Panel on Justice for More Than Human Rights
View Event
July 26, 2023
“The Right to a Healthy Environment: how did we get here, where do we currently stand, and where are we going?”
View Event
May 22, 2023
Spring Talk with Dr. Noah Walker-Crawford
View Event

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