Environmental Law Society

Mission: The mission of UCLA's Environmental Law Society is to educate students about current issues in environmental law and policy, provide a space to facilitate conversations about environmental problem-solving, and foster a supportive community for students interested in addressing environmental issues.

To further our mission, ELS plans speaking events featuring environmental law practitioners and professors, arranges an annual trip to the Environmental Law Conference in Yosemite, coordinates UCLA participation in inter-school environmental moot court and negotiations competitions, organizes environmentally-focused activities for students, and works to green the law school.

  • Events

    ELS hosts a wide variety of events from speakers to field trips and conferences. Below is a sampling of past and annual ELS events.

    Annual Competitions, Conferences, and Symposiums

    • California State Bar Environmental Law Conference, Yosemite (​Oct.)
    • Pace Environmental Moot Court Competition (Jan.)
    • Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (Feb.)​​
    • State Bar Environmental Negotiations Competition (Mar.)
    • LACBA Environmental Law Section Events
       

    Speakers and Panels

    • Career Paths in Environmental Law
    • AB-52 and its CEQA Impact Panel featuring Laura Miranda, Deputy General Counsel, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Vice-Chair California State Native American Heritage Commission; William Wood, Visiting Professor, UCLA School of Law and Southwestern Law School; Jason Weiner, General Counsel and Water Initiative Director, Wishtoyo Foundation and its Ventura Coastkeeper Program
    • Lunch with Angela Mo, U.S. Department of Justice
    • Resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline: A Continuing Battle
    • A Frank Conversation on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Environmental Law
    • The Proposed Border Wall and Its Impact on Border Communities, the Environment, and Native American Land
    • Environmental Law and Policy Under the Trump Administration
    • A Los Angeles Story: Youth of Color Versus Big Oil
    • Climate Change, Drought, and Future of California's Water Supply
    • The Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Debacle: Consumer, Business, and Enforcement Implications
    • The Paris Climate Agreement: Challenges for Decarbonization in the World-Leading Economies
    • Environmental Impacts of International Trade (Trans-Pacific Partnership)
    • The Next Refugee Crisis? Climate Change and Sinking States
    • Solar Geoengineering: An Overview of Risks & Benefits
       

    Field Trips and Social Events

    • Hikes
    • California Coastal Clean Up Day
    • Toxic Tour
    • Surfrider Paddle Out
    • Whale-watching trip
    • Kayaking trip
    • Tour of NRDC Santa Monica offices, award-winning LEED certified "green" building
    • Succulent Terrarium Social
  • Sustainability Tips

    Sustainability Tips for Law Students

    Calculate your carbon footprint and ​explore ways to reduce it!

    SCHOOL SUPPLIES

    Buy supplies made from recycled materials--UCLA stores sell green products such as recycled paper, green apple school supplies, recycled notebooks, and Seventh Generation products. Many other products have a green alternative. Check out buygreen.comgreenerchoices.org, and Recyclebank for some ideas.

    Using a laptop saves a lot of energy, maximize your energy savings byenabling "sleep mode" and "hibernate" features on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. Mac users, look for energy saving settings under system preferences in the apple menu. And don't forget to unplug your computer when you're not using it.

    Don't print unless you really need to. Free pdf programs like Foxit for PCs and Skim for Macs will allow you to highlight, and write notes on your documents, making it faster for you to find what you're looking for in class or while writing a memo.

    Two-sided printing is the default option on all of our printers (saves paper and saves you $ since it deducts only 5¢ per side instead of 7¢ for single-sided printing). Since starting this last year we have saved over 1.5 million sheets of paper!

    Buy Used Books (the SBA Book Sale is at the beginning of each semester and there are many websites for trading/selling used books & other supplies)

    Upgrading your technology? Check out Best Buy's trade-in program and others like it at popular retailers.

    Use rechargeable batteries. Rechargables last up to 3 years longer, and they are accepted by more recyclers. Just don't forget to unplug when not charging.

    TRANSPORTATION

    You don't need a car to get around Los Angeles. Here are some helpful sites to get you where you need to go. Also, click here to find out how to get discounted public transit student passes.

    Metro (LA, bus & subway) $1.50, cheap quarterly student passes available

    Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica) $0.50 w/student ID during the school year

    Culver City Bus (Green Bus) $0.50 w/student ID during the school year

    UCLA Carpool Matching

    UCLA Vanpool (for those with long commutes)

    Zimride (carpool matching, also on facebook)

    Zipcar (for those rare occasions when you do need a car)

    FlyAway (Direct shuttle Westwood to LAX) $10

    Bicycle LA (LA Dot: maps, safety, law)

    LA Bicycle Coalition (advocacy opportunities, maps and discounts at shops)

    Bikerowave (community co-op, they help you repair and maintain your bike)

    Google maps now has search options for public transit and walking, and MTA.net has a transit trip planner.

    If you must drive, you can save gas by: properly inflating your tires, getting regular tune ups, using good motor oil with the "energy conserving" label, lightening your load, driving the speed limit, avoiding rapid acceleration/deceleration, and not idling for more than 30 seconds.

    WATER

    Bottled water costs more, adds more plastic to our landfills and isn't even any better for you than regular tap water, so why not buy a reusable bottle? Check for ones without Bisphenol-A.

    Turn off the water (shower or sink) while brushing your teeth, lathering soap, shaving, etc.

    Wash dishes or vegetables in a sink full of clean water instead of letting the water run while rinsing.

    Use your clothes washer and dishwasher for full loads only (saves 300-800 gallons/mo)

    Check your faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If the coloring begins to appear in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a wasteful leak that should be repaired at once. Even a small leak can waste thousands of gallons of water each month.

    Plant drought resistant plants in your garden or encourage your landlord to.

    Use a self-closing spray nozzle (mandatory in LA) on the hose when washing your car, or use a waterless car wash.

    LADWP provides low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators at no charge to LA residents and businesses. You may pick these up at any of the fifteen LADWP branch offices located across LA. These can save 500-800 gallons/mo.

    Snitch. Report water waste to the LA's Water Conservation Team by calling (800) DIAL-DWP or online. (LA's Water Conservation Ordinance prohibits watering lawns between 9am and 4 pm, washing a car without using a self-closing spray nozzle, etc.)

    FOOD

    GSA's Community Supported Agriculture, locally grown produce delivered right to you at Weyburn, and soon University Village. Don't live in university housing? Check out these other options.

    Farmer's Markets

    Thursday, Westwood, 12 - 6p on Broxton

    Thursday, Westwood, 1-7p Vets Garden at the VA

    Saturday mornings, Brentwood 1st & OakSanta Monica Arizona & 3rd

    Sunday mornings, Santa Monica Main Street & Ocean ParkHollywood Vine & Sunset

    More complete list here and reviews here.

    Organic food on campus:

    Organic To Go sandwiches and salads at Northern Lights, Kerckhoff Coffee House, and the Bombshelter.

    Greenhouse Healthy Foods Bar at Terrace Food Court, Ackerman, Level-1.

    Fair Trade Organic Coffee & NUMI Organic Teas at Jimmy's, Northern Lights, Kerckhoff Coffee House.

    Make your lunch, use reusable containers -->we have a fridge and microwave in the law school for you to use

    Eat less meat. Livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases, according to the United Nations. Not eating a burger saves as much as 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, 280 gallons of water, and 50 square feet of land, according to the PB&J Campaign.

    Veggie Recipe Ideas.

    Vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles.

    Choose sustainable seafood with the Seafood Watch Pocket Guide. All over the world fisheries are collapsing at increasing rates.

    RECYCLE

    UCLA Recycling: CRV Beverage Containers, Whitepaper, Mixed paper/cardboard, Newspaper, Green Waste Rock product, Wood and Metal, Computer Toner Cartridges. Make use of our recycling bins, located in all of the big classrooms on the bottom floor of the law school, the lounge, the courtyard and at various places throughout the school.

    You can recycle almost anything. Los Angeles provides free service for multifamily residential buildings (if your apartment building does not have recycling tell your landlord about this free program). Los Angeles uses the blue recycling bins to collect the following mixed items:

    All clean dry paper - computer, wrapping, colored, arts and crafts paper, unwanted mail, flyers, phone books, note cards, newspaper, blueprints, magazines, file folders, paper bags, post-its, catalogs, and all envelopes (even those with windows)

    All cardboard boxes and chipboard - all cereal, tissue, dry food, frozen food, and shoe boxes; paper towel and toilet paper rolls; and corrugated boxes broken down and flattened.

    All aluminum, tin, steel metal, and bi-metal cans - (Rinse if possible) soda, juice, soup, vegetables, and pet food cans; pie tins; clean aluminum foil; empty paint and aerosol cans with plastic caps removed; and wire hangers.

    All glass bottles and jars - (Rinse if possible) soda, wine, beer, spaghetti sauce, pickle jars, broken bottles, etc.

    All Clean Plastics # 1 - 7 - (Rinse if possible) soda, juice, detergent, bleach, shampoo, lotion, mouthwash, dishwashing liquid bottles, milk jugs, yogurt tubs, plastic planters, food and blister packaging, all plastic bags and film bags (includes grocery and dry cleaning bags), all styrofoam (polystyrene) products, and miscellaneous plastics such as plastic coat hangers, toys, laundry baskets, and plastic swimming pools.

    Donate operational electronics and other items to a second-hand store such as the UCLA Thrift Shop.

    UCLA's Environmental Health and Safety Department offers cell phone recycling. There are drop boxes at many locations on campus including: Ackerman Union, the Wooden Center, and several libraries. Contact the EH&Sfor more drop box locations.

    UCLA Software Central has a CD and DVD recycling program. You can drop off your CDs and DVDs at over 11 locations on campus. For more information and locations go to their webpage.

    Batteries, appliances and other electronic waste should be properly disposed of at a S.A.F.E. center. Find a center near your home or use the S.A.F.E. Center on campus at 550 Charles E. Young Drive West. It accepts e-waste on Saturdays. Check hours here or call 800-98-TOXIC.

    Many electronic stores, such as Best Buy, provide recycling for electronics, batteries, and printer cartridges. Contact the electronics store where you purchased your product to see if they will recycle the waste. Hewlett Packardand Dell both have recycling programs.

    Trade in your video games and movies for store credit.

    See if you can trade in your old cell phone at your service provider. Often phones can be refurbished.

    Don't change your oil in the driveway or on the street. Los Angeles has more than 200 certified used oil collection centers, where you can recycle used oil for free. For more information, call (800)98-TOXIC or click here.

    ENERGY

    Purchase renewable energy from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Los Angeles gets most of its power from coal burned in Utah, but you can elect to purchase anywhere from 20% and 100% of your power from renewable sources for an extra 3 cents per kwh. For more information, visit LADWP's Green Power page.

    Cut down on your energy consumption by turning off lights and switching to compact flourescent lightbulbs. The average CFL lasts ten times longer than an incandescent bulb and saves the equivalent of burning 400 pounds of coal and lowers emissions of greenhouse gas.

    Set your thermostat at appropriate levels and turn it off when your home is unoccupied. Lower thermostat to 68 degrees or lower in winter and 78 degrees or higher in summer.

    Fill the dishwasher before running it. A dishwasher that is 90% full uses four units of electricity. If it is only 50% full, it still uses three units of electricity. Filling it will also save you money on your electric bill!

    Free Energy Efficient Refrigerator Program - LADWP offers its low income discount rate program customers the opportunity to replace their old, inefficient refrigerators with a new energy saving model. Refrigerators must be at least 10 years old and more than 14 cubic feet to be eligible for exchange. LADWP will arrange to pick up your fridge and install a new one at no charge. Call LADWP for more info.: (800) DIAL-DWP.

    CLEANING

    Did you know that even if you wear your suits all the time you shouldn’t be dry cleaning them more than once a season? Limiting dry cleaning can prevent wear and tear on your clothes, save you money, and improve your health and the environment. Most dry cleaners use a toxic solvent known as perchloroethylene. Even those claiming to be green often just replace perc with another solvent. The best option is known as professional wet-cleaning. The closest wet-cleaning to campus is at Cleaner by Nature, located at 11919 Wilshire in L.A. (Brentwood area) and 2407 Wilshire in Santa Monica. A list of professional wet-cleaners, as well as cleaners using the less toxic carbon dioxide based system, is here.

    Properly dispose of cleaning chemicals and other hazardous waste at a S.A.F.E. Center. Find a center near your home or use the S.A.F.E. Center on campus at 550 Charles E. Young Drive West. Check hours here or call 800-98-TOXIC.

    Instead of using traditional cleaning products that often contain chemicals hazardous to your health and the environment, try buying plant-derived, biodegradable cleaners. More info here and here. You can even make your own nontoxic household cleaners--cheap simple and easy using basic ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and lemons.

    When cleaning, use cloth towels instead of paper towels. Or re-use old items like an old t-shirt, socks, newspapers, and toothbrushes for scrubbing.

    OTHER

    Bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping. Keep one in your car and backpack.

    Buy Used (thriftstores, UCLA Thrift Shop, trading places, craigslist, etc)

    Switch to paperless bank statements and online bill pay.

    Cancel bulk mail.

    Reduce household paper consumption. Replace paper towels/napkins with cloth ones. Use less toilet paper. Buy recycled paper products. Use used envelopes as scratch paper and recycle when you're done.

    Bulky Item disposal - Los Angeles offers free bulky item pickup for household furniture, mattresses, appliances, TVs, and computer monitors. Make an appointment for pickup by sending an email.

    Compost - The Bureau of Sanitation offers free monthly backyard composting workshops around the city, and offers discounted composting bins. Call (213)485-2260 for the date, time, and location of the next workshop or compost bin sales event.

    Pick up free mulch for your garden, just bring a shovel and a bag. LA residents can pick up as much mulch as they need. The West LA location is at: 6000 Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016. Call for hours of operation: (213)485-2260.

    Free Trees - Los Angeles' "Residential Trees for a Green LA" Program offers LA residents (and LADWP customers) free shade trees. After completing a short online workshop, you can receive up to 7 trees to your home within 4 to 6 weeks. For more info. on the City's large scale tree planting projects, visit www.milliontreesLA.org.

    Beauty and Skin - visit a salon that uses natural hair color (henna, soy, or vegetable) and organic products.

    Eco-Friendly gifts - Treat friends to concerts, meals, sporting events, or other activities (spa certificates or movie passes) instead of buying "stuff." or, give plants!

    GET INVOLVED

    Join ELS! Send us an email to els@lawnet.ucla.edu and we'll add you to our listserv.

    Leaders in Sustainability Graduate Certificate Program

    Promote sustainability in your community

    Volunteer for an Eco-friendly organization:

    Tree People (plant trees around LA)

    Surfrider (beach cleanups and ocean advocacy)

    Sierra Club (environmental outings and activism)

    Heal the Bay (restoring Santa Monica Bay's Marine environment)

    For more green tips try these helpful websites:UCLA Sustainability, NRDCSierra ClubNG's Green Guide

    Would you like to share your sustainability tips? Send your ideas to: els@lawnet.ucla.edu

  • Resources
  • Job Listings

    Although this is in no way comprehensive, here is a listing of environmental organizations with potential summer/semester legal employment opportunities:

    ​California Air Resources Board, Office of Legal Affairs

    California Office of Attorney General: Environmental Section, Land Law Section, and Natural Resources Section

    California State Water Resources Control Board

    Center for Biological Diversity (San Francisco, CA; Petersburg, FL; Portland, OR)

    Center for Ocean Solutions

    Climate Resolve (Los Angeles, CA)

    Communities for a Better Environment (Los Angeles, CA)

    Conservation Law Foundation (Boston, MA; Portland, ME; Concord, NH; Providence, RI; and Montpelier, VT)

    Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President​

    Department of Justice, Environmental & Natural Resources Division

    Environmental Defense Center (Santa Barbara, CA)

    Environmental Defense Fund (Washington, DC)

    Environmental Law Institute (Washington, DC)

    Environmental Protection Agency

    Hudson Riverkeeper (Westchester County, NY)

    Los Angeles Waterkeeper (Santa Monica, CA)

    Natural Resources Defense Council

    Property and Environment Research Center (Bozeman, Montana)

    San Diego Coastkeeper

    Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger​ (San Francisco, CA)

    South Coast Air Quality Management District

    Helpful Resources

    PSJD: public interest job database
    UCLA Law Symplicity: job database
    Professor Sean Hecht: hecht@law.ucla.edu
    Professor Cara Horowitz: horowitz@law.ucla.edu

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