The Three Degrees Project is a brand new project on climate justice housed at the University of Washington School of Law.

Three Degrees projects dovetail with key elements of the law school’s evolving environmental law program, and can help leverage new environmental initiatives. Three Degrees already has the capacity to feed the important elements of a robust environmental law “Program,” both in the short-term and the long-term: 1) journal, 2) clinic, 3) fellowships 4) institute, and 5) curriculum.

1) Journal

The Washington Law Review will be publishing articles by three Three Degrees Conference scholars—Randall Abate, Deepa Badrinarayana, and Amy Sinden—in the May issue of the Washington Law Review. Professor Greg Hicks, Jeni, and I will be writing the introduction.

2) Clinic

Project partners have been approaching Three Degrees with requests for support on climate justice projects. These projects could easily feed into the workflow of an environmental law clinic, assuming student interest. For example, the Permanent Mission for the Maldives approached us last November with a request for help researching climate refugee law for a Human Rights Council forum. Three Degrees is actively cultivating partnerships with several entities around the globe, including the UN, the University of Bergen (Norway), Re-Vision Labs, Face the Change (climate and human rights project based at UC Berkeley), the E3 Network, the UW Center for Human Rights, the United Nations University, and others.

3) Fellowships

The proposal for a fully funded Three Degrees Project includes support for two student fellowships annually (contingent on funding). The fellows would assist project staff on research, scholarship, and projects related to climate justice issues.

4) Institute

In its current phase, Three Degrees is a project housed at the UW School of Law. Depending on faculty support and important other factors decided by the law school administration, the “project” could eventually evolve into an “institute.” Three Degrees would be the only climate justice institute based at an American law school.

5) Curriculum

Beginning in January, 3D embarked on its first pilot-project postconference: The Climate Justice Seminar. The Seminar integrates 25 graduate students from 15 different departments on the UW campus, including students in the school for marine affairs, Evans school, atmospheric sciences, occupational and health sciences, public health, engineering, urban planning, anthropology, philosophy, law, and other graduate programs.

Three core faculty teach the seminar: Professor David Battisti (atmospheric sciences), Professor Greg Hicks (law), and Stephen Gardiner (philosophy). Students in the seminar were selected on an application basis. Together, from an interdisciplinary perspective, seminar students will be researching glacier retreat in the high-Andes and assessing possible adaptation strategies for communities in the region by working directly with impacted groups in the Ecuador highlands. Adaptation assessments will be built around 3D’s core framework for climate justice, which considers the impact of climate change on five basic human rights to health, food & water, security, equity, and justice.

The Story. (Click to view slideshow. Warning: It’s mostly pictures!)