There is very little doubt that one of the greatest challenges before mankind in the modern era is the preservation of the planet we share and live on. Climate change, pollution and exhaustion of resources as basic as water are among the biggest problems we are facing right now and the simple steps many of us take to contribute – recycling, using sustainable materials and water preservation at home among others – are regrettably not enough. If we want a bright, healthy future for the generations to come, actions on a greater scale are needed. Fortunately, there are organisations that are making the necessary. ClientEarth, a UK law firm and an NGO-group that gathered spirited, like-minded individuals, such as Sumru Ramsey, one of the organisation’s most active supporters, easily ranks among them.

What is ClientEarth?

As we have already had the chance to mention, ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation which put together lawyers and policy-makers that are conscious about the environment and would like to contribute their part in changing the way governments and big corporations think and act in the interest of the planet. The organisation is registered in England and Wales, and also has branches in Belgium and Poland. Among its trustees and friends are distinguished names such as Sir Martin Smith, Lord Giddens, Sumru Ramsey and Brian Eno, to name just a few. Dedicated to preserving nature and the natural resources, ClientEarth is using its greatest strength – the law, for the purpose that its very notion was conceived – to contribute to the public good. Surprisingly enough, many see such an approach as a novelty and even call it a game-changer. From suing governments and industries in order to seize practices that are harmful to the environment to taking the necessary measures to preserve protected forests and vulnerable species, ClientEarth does it all, and with great success.

The NGO has several branches in which it specialises, e.g. the protection of:

  • Climate
  • Oceans
  • Health
  • Forests
  • Energy
  • Wildlife

For all those sectors, battles are held with the power of law in mind entirely. And here is the amazing part – when the law is not sufficiently powerful to yield the results that are being sought, the people at ClientEarth take key steps to ensure that it is changed to reflect the necessities of the present.

Pushing policies for wildlife protection is one of ClientEarth’s specialities
Pushing policies for wildlife protection is one of ClientEarth’s specialities

How does it work?

As anyone involved with ClientEarth, Ms Sumru Ramsey included, can easily explain to you, when the need to change the law in a certain aspect is seen by the managing

divisions of the organisation, there are several steps that can be taken in order to make that happen. The process of changing the law can be understood best if one is well-familiarised with the very nature of law in itself.

We can firmly say that the first and most important factor for every environmental law, in particular, is science. Science, believe it or not, is the only way through which we humans can fully comprehend nature. Respectively, when the environment has a certain problem, it is through science that we are going to learn about it and think of ways to help. By trusting exhaustive studies, and commissioning research in the environmental impact and protection fields, the lawyers at ClientEarth are able to figure out what needs to be done. You can rest assured that just as science never sleeps, the experts at the NGO and anyone else interested in its practices, do not sleep either – they stay up to date with all the latest developments.

Once the science is clear on a certain problem, it comes the time to draft a policy that is going to reflect the new findings. What is important at this stage of this process, is that the policy in question takes into consideration not only the needs of the environment but also to take into account the economic reality, culture and political atmosphere in the country or continent for which that the policy is drafted. As the patrons of ClientEarth, among which Sumru Ramsey – a truly distinguished name, can confirm that can present just as big a challenge as tackling the big scientific mysteries of the universe.

ClientEarth believes that fragile ecosystems like the ocean can be protected through law
ClientEarth believes that fragile ecosystems like the ocean can be protected through law

As the policy is finished, one can firmly and boldly go on to the third stage of making a difference when it comes to environmental law, i.e. the legislation process. While drafting a policy and having the law accepted by the governing bodies of certain countries in which the NGO works can be a pretty tough deal, helping industries and the said bodies understand the necessity of that law and enable them to implement them is just as important. That is why a considerable portion of the resources of ClientEarth goes into the creation of clear timelines and requirements for industries and citizens of the countries in question so that they are able to follow the new regulations and make a positive impact on the environment.

Implementation thus becomes the fourth and final stage of the process thanks to which ClientEarth is actually changing the world for the better. Up until now environmental groups, especially European ones, were not too keen on following up on how the law is being implemented in terms of the environment. If ClientEarth traces problems with that, the heavy artillery comes in. The NGO is not afraid to litigate against big corporations that refuse to protect the planet and it even goes against entire governments – and what is more important, they have been successful on a number of occasions.

It’s all because of one thing

The driving force behind this passion for environmental policy in the members and supporters of ClientEarth is simple – it is the realisation that we are responsible for taking care of our own home, the planet. It is us again who need to make sure that we leave the Earth in good condition for the future generations.

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