GLSM – The Renewable Rikers project (Rebecca Bratspies)

Rebecca Bratspies is a Law Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she is the founding Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform. She is an internationally recognized expert on environmental justice, the regulation of new agricultural technologies, and the human right to a healthy environment. Professor Bratspies has written scores of law review articles, op-eds, and other publications including four books. Her most recent book Environmental Justice: Law Policy and Regulation is used in schools across the country. Professor Bratspies serves as an appointed member of the New York City’s Environmental Justice Advisory Panel, and EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. Professor Bratspies also serves as a scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform, as a core member of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Law in Context.
She is a past member of the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, Past-President of the American Association of Law Schools Section on the Environment, and a former advisor to the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research.
Her environmentally-themed comic books Mayah’s Lot and Bina’s Plant, made in collaboration with artist Charlie LaGreca-Velasco, have brought environmental literacy to a new generation of environmental leaders. Her current project involves helping students educate their families and communities about the importance of the census. To that end, she has recently published We All Count, as both a comic book and coloring book.

The good legal story :
Rebecca spoke about her galvanizing work to bring the Renewable Rikers project to fruition. When Rikers, a notorious island prison in New York City, was slated to be closed, a coalition of community organizers sought to transform the land itself from a place known for its inhumanity to a place of growth and community engagement. Transforming the island into a site for green infrastructure, including developing renewable energy, food scrap, and yard waste composting and wastewater treatment infrastructure on Rikers Island will enable New York City to close noxious peaker power plants and aging wastewater treatment facilities that have disproportionately burdened communities of color.

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