Disaster issues have several links to environmental law. Perhaps the most obvious is that climate change is likely to cause a sharp increase in the number of extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves. Less obviously, disaster law is the flip side of environmental law, concerned with how nature impacts us rather than how we impact nature. It raises many of the same issues as environmental law about risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis, the precautionary principle, etc.
As a discipline, disaster law is much less developed than environmental law. However, the Berkeley Law Library has established an extraordinary on-line archive, which makes it easy to find the key materials.
If you teach environmental law, think about spending a class on disaster issues, or even better, think about teaching a full course or seminar on disaster law.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more