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Client Earth

Feeling hopeless in the face of climate change?

Then, reading Client Earth by James Thornton and Martin Goodman might bring back a spring in your step. ClientEarth is a charitable law firm representing the interest of Earth and is made up by a group of clever lawyers who find creative ways of using the law to force governments and companies to abide by environmental legislation. Legislation is one thing, ClientEarth’s founder James Thornton reminds us, enforcement something else entirely. And you thought you didn’t like lawyers? Think again.

Thornton, an American, brought his experience from a similar US based organisation called National Resources Defence Council. Despite knowing that London air quality would shave years off his life expectancy, Thornton moved to London and set up ClientEarth in 2007.

This book tells the stories of some of the fascinating cases that ClientEarth has brought before the courts and won: the dangerous London air quality, the hyper-polluting coal plants in Poland, the reckless fishing practises in British waters and the destruction of forests in Africa. And the good news is that it works!

It also looks at the intriguing Chinese idea of building an ‘ecological civilisation’ to follow on from the ‘agricultural civilisation’ and the ‘industrial civilisation’, a process which ClientEarth is assisting with through the training of thousands of judges in China.

If not exactly a nail-biting thriller, this uplifting book will leave you with the rather perverted hope that, perhaps, it is the lawyers that will save the day, after all.

Client Earth by James Thornton and Martin Goodman is published by Scribe, 281 pages.

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