A new book tells the fascinating story so far of ClientEarth, detailing the activist lawyers’ journey over the decade since it was founded.
Written by founder and CEO James Thornton and his husband Martin Goodman, and commissioned by ClientEarth’s first grantmakers the McIntosh Foundation, the book charts the journey of the non-profit environmental law group from inception to the present day.
Client Earth – the book took four years to write and has already received extremely positive reviews; Nature says the book provides an ‘an unusual and much-needed inside view of the development of environmental enforcement litigation, and its broader implications.’ The book has also been described by environmentalist Jonathon Porritt as ‘inspirational.’
‘The story of ClientEarth – and of its charismatic founder, James Thornton – is truly inspirational. His only client is our battered, abused planet, and his favoured arsenal is the rule of law in defense of public interest. The hard-fought victories that you’ll hear about are all important, but more important still are the vision, values and gritty dedication of an amazing group of lawyers and campaigners to whom we owe a very great deal.’
SIR JONATHON PORRITT
The book is published by Scribe (RRP £20), with profits going to ClientEarth. The proceeds will enable the charity, which has offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, New York and China, to continue its international environmental work.
Thornton founded the organisation in 2007 and over the past 10 years it has seen legal successes in many areas of its work – from court victories against the UK government over pollution to helping protect the ancient Bialowieza Forest in Poland.
‘Once something becomes law, it becomes actionable and enforceable. Shortly afterwards, it becomes common sense. It becomes possible for a small group of people like ClientEarth to use existing legal structures to trigger big changes. The task is pretty daunting, but the rewards are huge.’
The story of enforcement
Goodman explains that laws are ‘meaningless when not enforced’, and says a main thrust of the book is the story of enforcement, including the writing of laws and regulations that are enforceable. ‘You cannot enforce invisible laws’, he writes, ‘and so it is important that readers come to know the laws that protect them.’
Goodman is the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction. He holds the chair of Creative Writing at the University of Hull, where he is director of the Philip Larkin Centre for Poetry and Creative Writing.