7 Things Lawyers can do to Support the Global Climate Strike by climate justice.org.au

Published on the Climate Justice Blog, original article 18 September 2019, link here, re-posted with permission

By Dr Keely Boom

The Global Climate Strike is a wake up call to the world to stop the climate crisis. Students around the world are fighting for climate justice, with three clear demands: (1) transition to 100% renewable energy; (2) keep fossil fuels in the ground; and (3) help victims of climate change.

These young people are now leading the greatest social justice movement that the world has ever seen. This is a critical point in time where we have the opportunity to address climate change. But if we fail, the consequences will be devastating.

So, if you are a lawyer who wants to support the Global Climate Strike, what can you do?


Teen activist Greta Thunberg has described climate change as an ‘existential threat’ and called upon leaders to ‘listen to the scientists’. The starting point is to read the latest reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The IPCC stated in 2014 that the world is on the path to ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts’ of human-caused climate change.


The students who are planning to march at the upcoming Global Climate Strike have urged adults to join them. The climate emergency threatens all of us. If we want to fight for climate justice, we can show our support by marching in the streets alongside the students.


If you hold a university position, you can ask your university to declare a climate emergency – just as Newcastle Law School has done. Your law firm could declare a climate emergency. You could join efforts to ask governments and other bodies like the Law Council of Australia to declare a climate emergency. At a personal level, you can commit to take emergency action through using your unique legal skills and experience to fight climate change.


As a lawyer, or even a law student, you could choose to attend the Global Climate Strike as a Legal Observer. As a Legal Observer, you would not be participating in the strike, but instead observing any police interaction with the protestors. In some places there are already Legal Observer groups that you could join. Or you might want to start your own group to provide independent observation in your local area and train other lawyers in how to be a Legal Observer.


Climate activists who engage in civil disobedience may be charged with offences. Young students may have little understanding of the legal system or their rights. Activists are unlikely to have resources to obtain private representation. As a lawyer you could provide legal advice and representation to activists engaged in the Global Climate Strike who face criminal law proceedings. There may also be activists who require legal advice around their rights at their workplace if they do not have the permission of their employers to do so.


As governments fail to meet the challenge of the climate crisis, climate litigation has spread around the globe. Young people in the US have brought lawsuits against governments over inaction. A farmer from Peru is suing a German utility company. The Philippines Human Rights Commission is investigating the world’s Big Oil, Coal and Gas producers for allegedly causing human rights violations. Climate litigation is a powerful tool in the fight for climate justice. You may be able to provide advice and represent communities and others seeking climate justice.


It is clear that our current legal system is failing to adequately address the climate crisis. We must reform our law to enable the emergency action that is required, while also safeguarding human rights and civil liberties. Lawyers have an important role in the urgent reform of legal systems around the world.

Take the opportunity this Global Climate Strike day to utilise your unique legal skills, experience and networks to address the climate crisis. 

We need everyone, including lawyers, to join the movement and ensure a safe climate for our children and all future generations.

Global Climate Strike to be held from 20 September to 27 September, 2019

Meet Our Team: Jan van de Venis, President of the Executive Board

Posted on December 11, 2018

Jan van de Venis

Every day, the team of The Crowd Versus works on creating awareness for human environmental rights all over the world. We have different roles, backgrounds, and day jobs. We share a clear mission: to hold irresponsible companies accountable for their actions on the legal playing field.

Today we would like you to meet Jan van de Venis, President of our Executive Board.

Human Rights Lawyer

Jan van de Venis is a human rights lawyer and founder of law firm JustLaw. He specializes in human rights and environmental and sustainable development issues. He focuses on Human Rights Consultancy, Training of legal professionals, Expert contributions to law suits and the Rights of Future Generations.

In all his activities, Jan tries to make law work for a more just, sustainable, inclusive and peaceful world and a healthy planet for present and future generations. A perfect match with The Crowd Versus.

Board member, Public speaker, and networker

Jan works for governments and institutions, politicians, NGOs (for example, Greenpeace and Amnesty International), UN bodies, businesses, academic institutions, and agencies (for example, OHCHR and UNESCO). Next to his work as a solicitor, he has many board memberships. Additionally, Jan is a public speaker, publisher, and joins a wide variety of expert groups, initiatives, networks, and outreach programs.

His personal motto is: “We may not always be able to control things that cross our paths, but we are in control of the way we respond.”

We give you a selection of his accomplishments.

These Lawyers Stand Up for Your Rights

Posted on December 9, 2018

Lawyers work to protect human and environmental rights all over the world. On December 10 we would like to honor their work and thank four of them. 

On December 10, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since that date, we celebrate Human Rights Day every year.

This year marks the milestone 70th anniversary of this declaration.

Rights for Every Human Being

The document proclaims the rights to which every human being is entitled. No matter the race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

The recognition of equal rights for all is a precondition for sustainable societies. Equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace. Unfortunately, these rights are constantly challenged.

Standing up for our rights, or supporting others in their battles, remains essential; whoever and wherever you are.

On this special 10 December day, we present to you four extraordinary lawyers who stand up for the rights of others. They do this with long hours in cases that can change the historical legal doctrines of corporate interests and governmental policies.

1. Karey Brooks

In Canada, JFK Lawyer Karey Brooks battles in court to stop tarsands mining, to protect the world’s most important carbon sinks, and to hold the Alberta province and Canada accountable for breaking their constitutional promise to the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation.

#TarSandsTrial #cdnpoli

2. Kirsten Youens

Kirsten Youens

In South Africa, Kirsten Youens fights in court to stop the coal mining activities of the South African government that puts Zululand and its people in danger and also threatens the world’s greatest concentration of rhinos in the wilderness area of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.

#SaveOurWilderness #StopTendele #LawApplies2All

3. Pablo Fajardo Mendoza

Pablo Fajardo

In Ecuador, Pablo Fajardo Mendoza supports the Amazon people in a landmark case to legally force Chevron to create health programs for the 6 indigenous nations and repair their lands, after one of the worst environmental disasters of all times. Pablo received the 2015 Goldman prize in recognition of his long and arduous work and we are honored to help his team.

#StopChevronImpunity #StopCorporateImpunity #ChevronCleanUp

4. René Sánchez Galindo

Rene Sanchez Galindo

In Mexico, Lawyer René Sánchez Galindo fights to stop Monsanto and other multinationals from growing genetically modified or GM corn that will force all farmers to grow GM corn, will harm biodiversity, and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk.

#MxvsGMO #MXSinOGM #KeepMaizeAuthentic