Political Science Doctoral Program at the University of California, Irvine
Humanity has struggled to manage environmental crises since time immemorial. The concept ofsustainability emerged over 600 years ago during such a time of crisis in Europe. Yet, it was not until global awareness of environmental problems reached a tipping point during the second half of the 20th century that humanity sought to devise solutions to these pressing issues on an international scale using the holistic framework of sustainability. As the international community dealt with the task of balancing economic development with environmental protection, law became the vehicle through which sustainability would enter the global conversation on how to combat the ills associated with industrialization and repair a deteriorating planet. This talk chronicles the development of sustainability as it relates to the law and offers an overview of progress made and the challenges that lie ahead in addressing some of the most critical issues in human history such as climate change and population growth.