He Tapuwae: footprints left on the land, symbolizes the human journey into new territory as we explore and develop our world. This Colloquium will therefore focus on key emerging themes of international, comparative and domestic environmental law and our journey in responding to them. The experience of low lying coast and island communities, for example, reflects the fact that at the heart of environmental pressures and conflicts lie frequently fractious relationships and interactions between power and vulnerability. All around the world, there are deep tensions, frequently, between vastly different understandings of how to live as human beings in the complex ecologies in which we find ourselves and with which we are co-formed.

Local and traditional communities across the world share multiple forms of environmental vulnerability. Indigenous peoples in the critically endangered forests; communities suffering from the effects of irresponsible mining or hazardous wastes; subsistence farmers whose resources are degraded or appropriated without fair recompense. A wide range of human communities suffer from forms of deep environmental injustice in the name of ‘business as usual’. Meanwhile, innumerable predations affect animal populations and the fragile ecosystems upon which all life on earth depends.

Those who depend most intimately and directly upon the living world for their physical and cultural existence tend to suffer most from environmental destruction and degradation. While all of human life depends upon the living world, communities vulnerable to the socio-cultural effects of environmental degradation suffer particular and well-documented forms of environmental injustice, exclusion and marginalisation. This IUCN Academy Colloquium invites participants to address this challenge and the various ways in which law could more effectively ‘speak truth to power’.

Our hope, as organisers, is that members of the Academy will contribute to a critique of environmental injustice and offer ‘sacred footsteps’ into new frontiers of environmental justice. We hope for fresh jurisprudential, doctrinal, institutional and tactical insights, and practical mechanisms for the delivery of resilience to vulnerable communities, animals and ecosystems.

Paper abstracts focused on the Colloquium theme that address any one of the following topics are invited for submission by Friday 1 March 2013:

  • "Re-imagining Law"
  • "Visions of Protection"
  • "Indigenous Wisdoms"
  • "The Environmental and the Political"
  • "Rights-based Approaches"
  • "Risk and Resilience"
  • "Environmental justice, sustainable management and sustainable ethics"
  • "Property rights and sustainability"
  • "Freshwater resources"
  • "Oceans and marine resources, marine environmental security and creeping jurisdiction"
  • "Air, ozone, climate and outer space"
  • "Climate change and displacement"
  • "Flora, fauna and biodiversity"
  • "Wastes and hazardous substances"
  • "Procedural environmental obligations"
  • "Energy and resource allocation: geothermal, hydro, wave and wind"
  • "Natural hazards: coastal erosion, floods, fires, earthquakes and tsunamis"