You are here

Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law

Antonio A. Oposa Jr.
Distinguished International Environmental Scholar-in-Residence

"Shooting Stars and Dancing Fish"
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 5:00 pm, Gerber Glass Moot Court Room


Mr. Oposa is one of Asia’s leading voices in the global arena of environmental law and has had a remarkable career as a creative litigator, organizer and activist.

In 1993, Mr. Oposa made headlines worldwide for his role in the landmark case Oposa v. Factoran, where the Philippine Supreme Court held that a group of minors had the right to sue on behalf of succeeding generations because every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve nature. Mr. Oposa was counsel for 43 Filipino children who initiated an action against the Philippine Government for the misappropriation of the country's forest resources. The trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground of lack of legal personality to sue. In a widely-noted case on inter-generational responsibility, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld the legal standing and the right of the children to initiate the action on their behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn. It is now known in Philippine and global jurisprudence as the "Oposa Doctrine."

Mr. Oposa was awarded the highest United Nations honor in the field of environment in 1997: the UNEP Global 500 Roll of Honor. He also received the Philippines' "Outstanding Young Man Award" in 1993 for his work in public interest environmental law. He is the only Asian to receive the International Environmental Law Award from the Washington DC-based Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). In July 2013, Mr. Oposa was appointed as Distinguished Visiting Scholar for International Environmental Law at Vermont Law School and in 2014, he served as Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law.

An outstanding advocate in international law, Mr. Oposa is the author of numerous publications, articles and books. Among them are two internationally acclaimed books "The Laws of Nature and Other Stories" and an authoritative compendium on Environmental Law entitled "A Legal Arsenal for the Philippines Environment."

Mr. Oposa holds a B.S. in Business Administration from De La Salle University, Manila; an LL.B. from the University of the Philippines; and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, where he was the commencement speaker of his graduating class.

Click here for more information.


Pace Law School established the Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law to expand the its programs of research, education, professional and scholarly activity and publications in environmental law, a field for which Pace has received national and international recognition. The Kerlin endowment funds a named professorship on Environmental Law at Pace. Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, founder of Pace Law School's environmental programs, was named the first Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor in 1999 and Professor Jason J. Czarnezki was designated as the second Kerlin Distinguished Professor in 2014.

Mr. Kerlin, of counsel to Shearman & Sterling in New York City, was a distinguished lawyer. He was a founder and chairman of the Riverdale Community Planning Association, an organization that spearheaded the rezoning of the entire West Bronx to preserve the greenbelt area of that section of New York City. He was also a leader in protecting the natural environment of the Hudson River and its greenbelt area. Mr. Kerlin was the founding chairman of Wave Hill, the outstanding public garden and cultural institution in Riverdale, New York. Mrs. Kerlin, a long-time trustee of the Bank Street College of Education, was responsible for creating and supporting environmental and educational programs at Wave Hill for teachers and public school students.

Mr. Gilbert Kerlin passed away at the age of 94 in 2004; his wife of 60 years, Sarah, died in 2001. The Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law continues in their honor.


September 25, 2013
Jason Czarnezki
Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace Law School
“New York City Rules! Regulatory Tools and the Environment”

January 29, 2013
Patricia Salkin
Dean, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
“The Executive and the Environment: A Look at the Last Five Governors in New York”

October 27, 2011
John C. Cruden
President, Environmental Law Institute
“Making the Polluter Pay: Environmental Enforcement in the Modern Era”

October 18, 2010
Jim Salzman
Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy at Duke University
"What is the Emperor Wearing? A Critical Look at the Potential of Ecosystem Services for Environmental Protection"

October 8, 2009
Suedeen G. Kelly
Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
"Renewables and Smart Grid: Is This Where We are Headed?"



October 1, 2008
Peter Lehner
Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
"Environment, Law, and Nonprofits: How NGOs Shape Our Laws, Health, and Communities"



October 19, 2007
John P. Cahill '85 '92
Of Counsel, Chadbourne & Parke LLP
"Environmental Law in New York State: The Past as Prologue to the Future"



October 30, 2006
Theodore W. Kheel
Of Counsel, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP;
President and CEO, Nurture Nature Foundation
"Resolving the Conflict between Environmental Protection and Economic Development"


November 17, 2005
Malcolm Grant, CBE, MA, LLD, HonMRTPI, HonRICS  
President and Provost, University College London (UCL)
"Reconciling Science and Public Engagement in Environmental Policy Making: European Attitudes toward Releasing Genetically Modified Organisms"



November 8, 2004
Daniel C. Esty
Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale Law School
"Bringing Administrative Law to Bear in Global Environmental Governance"



October 27, 2003
Bharat H. Desai, PhD
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
"The Future of International Environmental Governance: Johannesburg and Beyond"



September 25, 2002
Juan Mayr Maldonado
Former Minister of the Environment, Republic of Colombia
"The Role of Ethics in the Construction of a Culture for Sustainable Development"



September 20, 2001
Jacqueline Lang Weaver
A. A. White Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center
"The Federal Government As a Useful Enemy: Perspectives on the Bush Energy/Environment Agenda from the Texas Oil Fields"



September 21, 2000
Carol Rose
Gordon Bradford Tweedy Professor of Law and Organization, Yale Law School
"Selling the Common Heritage? Commerce, Property and the Protection of the Environment"