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International Symposium: Law and Nature – Towards a New Legal Approach


Problem Statement

Mankind is currently living in the Anthropocene, modifying nature at a faster pace and more intensively than ever before. The consequences are grave: extreme weather events, rising sea levels, climate change, crop failures and mass extinction of species, just to name a few. These, in turn, affect every single area of human life, from health to food security to transportation and trade.

Against this background, it seems unavoidable to adapt the governance of human behavior in such a way it advances to being compatible with nature, thus reconfiguring legal relations beyond anthropocentric. Yet, there is no overarching approach in legal theory encompassing both – the human being with its needs and its dependent relationship with the surrounding environment.

A systematic and consistent theoretical framework is required to address the urgent task of protecting nature and the environment. Law in its entirety, not just specific areas of law, must be viewed centrally and primarily from the perspective of environmental protection and nature conservation.

The primary objective of the project Law and Nature“ is the exploration of the viability of such an approach and conceptualizing a broadly interdisciplinary theory. The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation allowing us to conduct the initial exploratory research, but also possible subsequent in-depth studies. Within the framework of the current workshop, we intend to put the feasibility of the overall approach to a test, but also to identify particular research strategies for its further development.


Birgit Peters, Professor of Public Law, International and European Law, Trier University

Nils Schaks, Assistant Professor of Public Law, University of Mannheim

Registration & Further Information

Please confirm your attendance by Tuesday, 2nd September 2023, by contacting Nils Schaks via email at

There is no registration fee.

The symposium is hybrid. For the Zoom details, please contact

For any other questions or details, please contact

Place: Lecture Hall O 138 (Fuchs-Petrolub-Saal)


Download the symposium flyer with the programme here.

University of Trier, University of Mannheim, and the Volkswagen Foundation
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