Publication Title

Southeastern Environmental Law Journal


climate change

Document Type



Wherever you turn with regard to climate change, you'll hear about the worst, and the worst of the worst, and the worst that will happen after that. Young lawyers should put themselves in the right frame of mind to tackle all these "worsts" that are headed our way.

In the interest of keeping it simple, we would suggest a personal strategy for every young lawyer that would entail: (I) Honoring Knowledge and Learning; (II) Protecting Your Institutions and Loving Your Country; (III) Planning and Conducting Your Personal War on Bad Law; and (IV) Rejecting Defeatism and Impossibility Theorems.

Let's consider these strategies in order. Knowing your circumstance is followed by the occasion of improving your circumstance. This captures the power of positive thinking. If the flaws in human nature that are so celebrated by pessimists could stop effective action, human progress would have been stanched long ago. Despite all talk of futility, impossibility, and resignation, the entire legal scene is a frenzy of hope, effort, creative initiative, and change.

That "unwarranted optimism" of the human species and of the legal profession appears to have seized momentary control in the rush to protect our world and our climate from unprecedented challenge. It's a nice place to end a legal story. Impossible problems can only succumb to implacable convictions. Humans created the conditions for this climate change catastrophe. Perhaps they can stumble into ultimate triumph.



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