Environmental Experiences from Vermont Law School

Vermont Law School (VLS) is utterly charming. Nestled in nature and river-rounded it is a wonderful place to research and enjoy all things environmental (whether natural; situational; or cultural). I find it hard to believe that I’ve already been here a month. Time has skipped joyfully by, thanks to a combination of kind, colourful and inspiring colleagues and friends; and enriching new experiences (e.g.: taking a lazy tube down the river; hiking up the scenic Kent’s Ledge; enjoying refreshing swims in local lakes and rivers; visiting Weston Priory and engaging in the energetic sport of contra-dancing).

A chance event initially ignited my desire to research and guest lecture at VLS’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. I participated in an energy conference in Oxford where I heard VLS’s magnetic and erudite Professor Michael Dworkin declare: “If you care about the environment, energy use is the most important issue. And if you care about energy, environmental realities are the most important constraints.” There and then, I decided that should an opportunity arise, I would love to learn from Professor Dworkin and his colleagues at VLS and to use the experience to conduct comparative research on energy markets; and inform the development of further climate change and energy law modules in Ireland and the EU. Happily, Fulbright provided me with a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to do just this.

The richness of my experience so far overwhelms me. There have been stimulating and inspiring exchanges with Professors Dworkin, Jones, Yirka and Jenny Thomas; the unexpected pleasure of participating in Professor Parenteau’s passionate and playful lectures on climate change; along with the benefits of learning from the practical experiences and extensive, specialised market knowledge of Ed McNamara (Vermont Department of Public Service) and Professor Jeannie Oliver (Staff Attorney for VLS Energy Clinic). Each of these experiences will no doubt enrich my teaching of the new Climate Change and Energy Law LLM module in University College Cork on my return home. All I can say is: a huge thank you to the Fulbright Schuman Program for making all this possible and …roll on the next month’s adventures!!

– by Eva Barrett (Lecturer in Law University College Cork)
2016-2017 Fulbright-Schuman grantee