State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Sheila Foster Recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers

Sheila Foster headshot
Sheila Foster

Sheila Foster, Columbia Climate School visiting professor of climate and Georgetown University professor of law and public policy, has been elected as a fellow to the American College of Environmental Lawyers in recognition of her career achievements, thought leadership and significant contributions to the field of environmental law.

Foster is a distinguished scholar of environmental and climate justice. Her research spans a wide range of topics, including land-use policy, innovative resource governance regimes and the role of subnational governments and local leaders in addressing cross-border challenges such as climate change.

“Receiving the fellowship was quite a surprise, as it recognizes lawyers who are renowned in the field of environmental law, like Michael Gerrard and Michael Burger, ” Foster told State of the Planet. “When your peers are as esteemed as they are, it’s an honor.”

The American College of Environmental Lawyers is a prestigious professional association dedicated to upholding and improving the ethical practice of environmental law, the administration of justice and the advancement of environmental law in federal, state, municipal, tribal and international forums through outreach and education. Organizational membership is by invitation only.

Foster’s involvement with environmental justice stretches back to the 1990s, when it was still a fledgling discipline. “When I went to law school in the late ’80s, it wasn’t something I knew anyone focused on,” she said. Foster helped pioneer the field, with books like “From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement,” and “Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions Toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities.”

“This fellowship is great because environmental justice is a field that needs to be represented,” she said.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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