Call For Abstracts - Environmental Constitutionalism Symposium

Posted by Gabriella Mickel, community karma 31

Call For Abstracts

Environmental Constitutionalism


On November 2, 2021, New York State voters passed a ballot measure amending the New York State Constitution to instantiate a right to "clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment." This reflects a trend in subnational constitutionalism. New York joined Pennsylvania and Montana in adopting self-executing provisions, and Illinois, Hawai'i and Massachusetts in recognizing a right to a healthy environment. Other states are or have recently considered such "Green Amendments," including Maine, Maryland, and New Mexico. Environmental rights are common across the globe, too. More than 150 countries recognize the right expressly, impliedly, legislatively or by regional agreement. And just last year, the UN Human Rights Council adopted and the American Bar Association endorsed a resolution recognizing a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right, which the UN General Assembly will consider this fall. The question this symposium aims to address is whether and the extent to which recognition of environmental rights makes a difference, and what that that difference portends for New York's Green Amendment. 


Yet many questions remain about rights-based approaches to environmental protection, including in particular environmental constitutionalism. How can people assert constitutional environmental rights? Can these rights help fill the legal gaps for action on climate change or environmental justice? What is the best way to frame and express environmental rights in constitutions? Should constitutional environmental rights be anthropocentric, ecocentric? Grounded in public trust theories? What can we learn from the experience adopting and implementing environmental rights to date?


Pace Environmental Law Review (PELR) is pleased to announce an upcoming virtual symposium titled “Environmental Constitutionalism” hosted by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University on Friday, October 28, 2022. The symposium will bring together scholars, advocates, regulators, and policymakers to discuss constitutional environmental rights. Some possible topics and themes for interested scholars to consider writing on include:

·      The potential for constitutional environmental rights to advance environmental justice

·      Environmental constitutionalism and climate change

·      The operation of state environmental rights in a federalist system

·      The role of the judiciary and environmental constitutionalism

·      Implementation of state environmental rights

·      International and comparative law perspectives


To be considered, please email your CV and abstracts to or via Scholastica with the subject line reading: PELR 2023 Symposium Issue.

·      Abstract Submission Deadline (300-500 words): August 5, 2022

·      Selection Notification: September 5, 2022


Based on abstract submissions, the organizers will invite speakers to present at the symposium, which will be held in a digital format. All accepted abstracts can further be submitted as articles or essays and, consistent with the below guidelines, published in the Pace Environmental Law Review’s Symposium Issue.


If your abstract is accepted, the deadline for full articles is April 10, 2023, by 5:00pm EST.

·      Length: Articles should be between 25-75 double-spaced pages, including text and footnotes (6,250-19,000 words). Essays should be approximately 10-25 double-spaced pages, including text and footnotes (2,500-6,250 words).

·      Style: Papers should embody thoughtful academic writing and explore a relevant symposium topic while offering a unique discussion.

·      Citations: All references should be cited as footnotes, following the citation style of the 21st edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citations.

·      Format: A table of contents should be included, noting all sections and subsections of the article. All articles should be submitted as a Word document, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins.


Announcing the Annual Professor John R. Nolon Student Writing Competition!

Entries are encouraged from any law student from now until the final deadline as August 15, 2022. This year’s topic is Environmental Constitutionalism. Maximum length, 35 double-spaced pages, 12pt times new roman font (including footnotes, which may be single-spaced, 10pt times new roman font). To submit, email with the subject line reading: PELR 2023 Writing Competition. Prize Awarded: 1st place: $500 and publication in PELR. 2nd and 3rd place – consideration of publication in PELR. Criteria for judging entries will be organization, practicality, originality, quality of research, clarity of style.


To Register for the Symposium as an Attendee, click here!