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Drake Law graduate aims to make global impact on environment

Beth Dooley, a 2011 graduate of Drake Law School, has spent the past year completing her LL.M. at the University of Edinburgh, but her journey doesn’t end there.

Dooley will be spending three months working as an intern at the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, a part of the Department of Land Economy of the University of Cambridge.  During the internship, Dooley will be charged with working on a project dealing with the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) program under the international climate change regime.

REDD+ allows developing countries to be compensated by the international community for the carbon sequestered in forests that they conserve or sustainably manage in order to overcome the economic incentives to harvest and sell the timber.

Specifically, Dooley will be researching the legislation and policies of five developing countries to acquire information pertaining to how the countries navigated the regulations of the program to develop qualifying projects. This knowledge will then be used to supplement the base regulations and build an online resource for other developing countries to utilizing in developing REDD+ projects.

After completing her three-month internship, Dooley will begin a one-year fellowship at the Ecologic Institute, a think tank based in Berlin, Germany. Through its Transatlantic Fellowship program, Dooley was recruited by Ecologic Institute to work on agricultural policy projects as well as complete an independent research project on a European Union/United States agricultural and environmental policy issue.

“These experiences would not have been possible without the agricultural and environmental law education I received at Drake Law,” said Dooley. “Professor Neil Hamilton helped me secure an international research project during my 1L summer that continues to benefit me as these international organizations see I am interested in global agriculture and am able to live in and adapt to different cultures. I have used the U.S. environmental law and policy learned in Professor Jerry Anderson’s classes during my LL.M. program in Global Environment and Climate Change Law at the University of Edinburgh. Additionally, the writing experience I gained from participating on the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law prepared me to successfully complete my LL.M. and produce writing samples that eventually won me these opportunities.”

Upon completion of her work in Berlin, Dooley envisions herself moving into a position working on agricultural and environmental law and policy that affects small farmers and/or developing countries due to her belief that food security, land management, and trade issues are only going to become more important as the global population expands, the divide between “haves” and “have-nots” widens, and disastrous weather events increase in frequency and intensity.