September 13, 2021
More than ever, the public needs to know how the law works (or does not work) to protect the environment. My goal for summer 2021 was to work with an organization that recognizes the need for public legal education about environmental law and environmental issues. As such, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to intern with East Coast Environmental Law.
Under the supervision of East Coast Environmental Law staff lawyer Tina Northrup, the focus of my work this summer was to research provincial laws for the protection of species at risk in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. My research will form the basis of free public materials—planned new additions to East Coast Environmental Law's signature Summary Series—that explain how these provincial laws work, highlight instances where the respective governments may not be adhering to their laws, and suggest how the laws could be improved. I was also able to conduct related research, and produce a legal memorandum, about legal and conservation issues surrounding the elver (juvenile American Eel) fishery in Atlantic Canada.
My work with East Coast Environmental Law this summer helped me to understand the need for contextualizing the law and legal issues: this has made me a better researcher. I expected that my research would lead to Parliamentary debates, statutes, and case law. I did not expect it to lead to subjects ranging from history and economics to biology and even Canada's constitution! My work also gave me valuable lessons on writing about legal topics for diverse audiences.
I will fondly remember my summer with East Coast Environmental Law and hope to contribute to its work in future. It has been a privilege to work on increasing access to environmental justice for all Atlantic Canadians. Finally, it has been a pleasure getting to know the East Coast Environmental Law team and my fellow interns. Thank you for the opportunities to learn (and sometimes laugh)!
Mark's work with us was funded by the Schulich Academic Excellence Fund for Internships—a program administered by the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.