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Changing our laws & saving our world

Reflections upon completing my LLM in Global Environment & Climate Change Law

At my LLM graduation in front of the University of Edinburgh McEwan Hall

2022 was a year with many milestones for me: I presented policy recommendations at the Scottish Parliament, celebrated my graduation from the University of St Andrews and received the Principal’s Medal. Furthermore, I was given the opportunities to attend Stockholm+50 and COP27 as a youth delegate, attended the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Conference in Oslo, published a research paper, finished my LLM degree in Global Environment and Climate Change Law and celebrated my graduation from the University of Edinburgh in November.

The world around us is rapidly changing and challenging us to rise to calls of justice. My studies at the Edinburgh Law School have deeply inspired me in my mission for our Earth. Thus, even though this is a slightly delayed post I would love to share some reflections on my LLM studies that I wrote at the end of last year.

Law has traditionally been a means to enforce the status quo, and to stabilise our society. However, our generation faces challenges like no other – calling us to adapt to the changing of societal norms and legislation, the enforcing of international law, the call for new environmental laws, the challenge of adapting to a society that is fit to live on a habitable planet.

Over this last year I have been part of an inspiring cohort of global environment and climate change law students and every week we had to confront and debate some of the biggest questions and challenges that face law and us in our modern times. One of the many lessons that my time as a law student has taught me is how deeply that what happens globally at a political and societal level matters, impacts, and shapes us.

Furthermore, experiences such as being a youth delegate at Stockholm+50 and COP27 have taught me is that when it comes to global problems such as Climate Change, the pandemic, and war – these injustices do not stay within one field or specialty. They sweep across society, and they challenge us all to confront some of the largest injustices that face our generation. So, regardless of speciality – everyone of us will face some of the same challenges. That also means that we have a support system. We can call upon each other, take and give advice, and unite to address global challenges both at an international and national level.

One of the sparks I am most grateful for is that my studies in Edinburgh inspired me to join Stop Ecocide, become a youth ambassador for ecocide law and spokesperson for youth for ecocide law. Currently, the killing of our planet and future is still legal under international law. But that must and is changing. 2023 will be a big year for making international ecocide law a reality and all of us can be part of these historic developments.

I could recite the saying that the world is our oyster but least we forget that oysters also need the right conditions to thrive, an ocean that is not acidified, and a world that can sustain itself. So, if we want the world to be our oyster, we have a united mission to protect our world. To seek justice. To realise that there is no social justice without climate justice and vice versa. To burst beyond our bubbles and to have courage to live life in an active sense of hope. One that compels us to action. In the words of Oscar Wilde “It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.”