Islam & Earth

A collection of voices and conversations on Earth connection, environmental issues, climate action,and sustainable solutions through an Islamic worldview.

Episode 4, Shawwal, 1444

Politics of Environmental Lawmaking

In this eye-opening episode, Dr. Nadia Ahmad shares insights from her work on the environmental legal framework and how her own journey into the study of law initiated at the heels of 9/11 and the civil rights issues that would ensue.

She discusses sacrifice zones, whose residents are subject to severely hazardous impacts due to environmental injustices.  She speaks about corporatism, which she defines as a system that's been put in place to ensure how the interest of corporations are maintained within decision-making structures of the state, thus causing environmental impacts which are purposefully silenced.  She connects this to how climate cages exist, which is the caging of people, whether that is prisons or economic, or political cages that enclose vulnerable populations to environmental impacts. 

Dr. Ahmad continues to discuss respectability politics which forces a person to conform to the mainstream in a respectable way, instead of speaking with transparency.  She highlights the need to speak as you are and speak about the issues in a way that matters to you at that moment of your life, and not simply engage in respectability politics, or else it loses the edge of what the argument is.   

Dr. Ahmad sheds light on the unique way the Islamic system endows rights to trees, and animals which hasn't been included as a part of the broader environmental law-making process as many of these Islamic texts are not translated into Western languages.

Finally, Dr. Ahmad discusses climate chauvanism, as she argues that the major bodies, tables, conferences that are leading the climate change narrative is predominantly represented by a male, white demographic, and climate solutions are often through the lens of first world countries.

She stipulates the importance of translating our ideas into part of the public space, so we can be part of the narrative.
Dr. Nadia B. Ahmad was born in Orlando to immigrant parents from Pakistan and India. She is an Associate Professor at Florida’s Barry University School of Law and Coordinator of the Environmental and Earth Law Certificate Program. Her research centers on the intersections of energy siting, the environment, and sustainable development drawing on international investment law and corporate social responsibility. She serves as a Kerry Fellow at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Council Member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and as a member of the Academic Advisory Group for the International Bar Association's Section of Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law. She has spent her academic career focusing on frontline communities who are the most vulnerable to energy production. She is a co-author of the textbook, “Environmental Justice: Law, Policy, and Regulation." She has also been a Visiting Associate Professor at Yale Law School and the inaugural Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Law at Pace Haub School of Law. 

More information regarding Dr. Ahmad's work can be found at:

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