Sustainability: Can Law Meet the Challenge?

34 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2012

See all articles by Rebecca M. Bratspies

Rebecca M. Bratspies

City University of New York - School of Law

Date Written: 2011


It is commonplace to note that the world is experiencing an unprecedented rate of change. The "boundary shattering force[s]" of globalized markets and new technologies are likely to continue smashing through pre-existing social and political fault lines for the foreseeable future. This rate of change has significant ramifications for the sustainability of human society. Indeed, making the transition to a sustainable society may be the greatest challenge that we face as a species. The role of law, and lawyers, in that process has yet to be determined. This essay argues that law can be a tool for encouraging that transition to sustainability.

Keywords: sustainability, international law, democracy, participation, uncertainty, precautionary principle, globalization, environment, climate change, wicked problem, complexity

JEL Classification: K32, K33, O19, Q28, K10, D8

Suggested Citation

Bratspies, Rebecca M., Sustainability: Can Law Meet the Challenge? (2011). Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, Summer 2011. Available at SSRN:

Rebecca M. Bratspies (Contact Author)

City University of New York - School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

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