I’m very sorry to report the news that Luke Cole, long-time environmental justice advocate, was killed in a car accident this week in Uganda. Luke had taken a sabbatical from the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment , which he headed, to travel the world (he was also my law school classmate and friend). His death was announced by his father, Skip Cole, on Luke’s Facebook page.
Cole was well-known for his work on numerous leading environmental justice cases, including as counsel for the Native Village of Kivalina in its pathbreaking case seeking damages from large greenhouse gas emitters from the melting away of their Alaskan village. He was also a prolific writer, and co-authored an influential book with Professor Sheila Foster From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (NYU Press 2001). He taught courses in Environmental Justice at UC Berkeley, UC Hastings and Stanford Law. Berkeley’s Ecology Law Quarterly honored Luke in 1997 with its Environmental Leadership Award. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his son Zane.
He will be missed.