If you're a Canadian (or an American) you don't have a right to a clean breath of air, or a drink of pure water. Your body contains a pound of plastic and traces of 700 toxic chemicals — and you can’t sue the polluters responsible. But elsewhere – in more than 180 of the UN’s 193 member nations – citizens actually do have a legal right to a healthy environment.
- Noted author and educator Silver Donald Cameron and Cape Breton University have developed a course called Political Science 3750, Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World. First offered in the winter term of 2019, the course features stories from Dr. Cameron’s award-winning documentary film Green Rights and the companion book Warrior Lawyers (Amazon). It is focused on legal cases in Ecuador, New Zealand and the Philippines, in Argentina, India, Colombia and the Netherlands, where citizens have been winning big battles against corporate polluters and complacent governments by flexing their environmental rights.
Dr. Stepan Wood of the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia co-teaches the course, using the online material in his concurrent UBC seminar, Green Rights and Warrior Lawyers. The two professors and two classes share the first 90 minutes of each 2.5 hour session. A unique feature is real-time “virtual visits” by several of the trailblazing lawyers being studied — “like having Václav Havel and Virginia Woolf visit a class on modern literature,” says Dr. Cameron.
The course will be offered again in September, 2019, but only for formal academic credit. Last year it was offered as a 3-C course — for Credit, but also as an online non-credit course for a Certificate of Participation, or just to satisfy participants’ Curiosity (also online). We hope the 3-C version will be offered again in the near future; in the meantime, to register for academic Credit, visit the CBU web site at www.cbu.ca. To receive information about future arrangements for the Certificate or Curiosity versions, please write to learning@TheGreenInterview.com