Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The first environmental law course

Spurred by Laurence Tribe's claim that he taught the first environmental law class in the US, an environmental law professor list recently discussed what was the first environmental law course taught in the US. Julian Conrad Juergensmeyer noted that he taught a course called the Law of Pollution Control at Indiana University Law School Bloomington in 1966 and 1967, and someone thought that Joseph Sax taught a course at Colorado in the mid-sixties.

David Cavers (U Chicago Photographic Archive)
So far, though, it seems that David Cavers at Harvard was the first (preceding Tribe by at least five years). Based on course catalogs at Harvard, Richard Lazarus found that Cavers taught a course “Legal Protection of Environmental Quality” in 1967, a course in “Government Regulation: Product and Environmental Hazards” in 1965 that focused on “air pollution, water pollution, and atomic radiation”, and a course called “Problems in the Public Control of Atomic Energy” in 1951.

Can any of you think of any earlier classes, including those not necessarily called "environmental law"? What about in countries other than the US? Please write me with thoughts.


  1. Would Karl Neumeyer's course in Munich--maybe around 1930--be relevant. See Peter Sand's book, publ. very recently. Peter F. Neumeyer

    1. Peter posted on Neumeyer's work here https://environmentlawhistory.blogspot.co.il/2015/10/peter-sand-on-karl-neumeyer-as.html, but didn't mention a course. I'll ask him.