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Fundamentals of Environmental Law

Environmental law is a complicated area of the law, combining science, law, and government policy under one large umbrella! It attempts to shelter us from the heat of climate change while also helping us to develop laws for our land use, the protection of our wildlife, and the integration of new forms of energy. The Fundamentals of Environmental Law section will give you a brief introduction to environmental law, what it is, what it can do, and where it comes from. From there you can jump right in to some of our more specific topics!

The Canadian Constitution and Environmental Law

You may have already heard of the Constitution Act, 1867 or even the amended Constitution Act, 1982 and related Charter of Rights and Freedoms but this section will take a closer look at each of these documents from an environmental law perspective. It will provide you with a brief overview of the Canadian Constitution and then go on to explain how constitutional law can be used to help protect the environment and strengthen our environmental laws and regulations.

Managing our Environmental Resources: A Modern Take on the Tragedy of the Commons

As you can imagine, one of the reasons why the environment is so special is that it isn’t owned by any one person in particular and, hopefully, everyone can enjoy it - whether that means catching a glimpse of an animal on a trail or admiring a crystal clear arctic lake. This section will take a look at how we protect these common goods.

Environmental Justice

Have you heard of the term intersectionality? It refers to the ways that race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other personal identities are interconnected and create overlapping systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The idea of intersectionality is often discussed in the context of criminal law or other social movements but did you know that the intersectionality of race, gender, and socioeconomic status also has a role to play in environmental law?


Have you ever stopped along the road to Jasper to watch the bighorn sheep lick salt from the highway or have you noticed how many Canadian Geese return to the province in the spring from their winter abroad? Albertans are lucky, we have close contact with nature and the species that live there! This section explains and critiques what the provincial and federal governments are doing to protect these beloved species and discusses what they need to do better.

Toxins & Waste

The years since the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840), have brought with them massive technological advances, many of which have changed our global society for good. These advances include new technologies, faster communication, and a more globally connected world than ever before. However, alongside the positive effects of increased industry and technology comes one of its most negative counterparts, a dramatic increase in worldwide pollution.


Since you woke up this morning, how many times have you used water? Perhaps when you turned on the tap to take a shower or to brush your teeth? Or what about when you poured yourself some tea or coffee? Undoubtedly, even before reading this post, you interacted with water at least once or twice. But did you ever think about where your water came from or how it got clean enough to drink straight from the tap? Check out our section on Water to understand how we manage water in the province and some of the environmental challenges facing our water supply.


Energy is what keeps this computer running and it is what cooked your last meal, it is essential to our everyday life and because of this it is essential to have efficient, reliable, and clean energy. This is necessary both for the protection of our planet and to ensure that there is enough energy to go around. Check out our section on Energy to learn more about the renewable and non-renewable resources we have access to in Alberta and how we manage them.

Climate Change

The World Economic Forum, a not-for-profit foundation designed to promote political, business, and leadership ideals, publishes a yearly Global Risk Report which summarizes some of the greatest threats to our current way of living. In the 2020 report, the most pressing issues facing our world today include extreme weather and natural disasters, as well as the potential outcomes from the failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation. This section will look at what the law is doing (or not doing) to help manage and prevent climate change.

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