Do the future generations deserve the Earth that we are leaving behind in the face of the ongoing climate crisis? If not, what is it that we must do to change course?

This lecture explores new ways of thinking to shift the economic mindset from reckless consumption to mindful restoration. It will examine the environmental policy, law, and cultural infrastructure that can facilitate this mind-shift in the highly vulnerable Asia-Pacific region. The lecture will address the shift from Consumption Economics to Restoration Economics through various proactive projects including: edible landscaping, the road sharing movement, and turning the rooftop of the Richardson Law School into a solar power plant. It also includes planning a legal action in the International Court of Justice concerning the legal duties of States to protect future generations of humankind from the climate crisis.


About Antonio A. Oposa, Jr.

Tony Oposa is one of Asia’s leading voices in the global arena of Environmental Law. His work is internationally noted for the cases he fought to protect the Philippines’ natural patrimony. In 1990, he initiated a case to protect the country’s remaining virgin tropical forests. Losing in the trial court, he took the case to the Philippine Supreme Court, which eventually articulated the principle of inter-generational responsibility. The Court also gave standing to the petitioners-children on their own behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn (Minors Oposa v. Factoran, 1993).

In December 2008, after a ten-year legal battle he waged against eleven government agencies from the trial court to the Philippine Supreme Court he won a case to clean up Manila Bay. In a continuing mandamus judgment, the Supreme Court ordered all defendant agencies to implement a time-bound action plan to clean up Manila Bay and to report ongoing progress to the Court every 90 days.

He has also organized and led some of the most daring enforcement operations against environmental crime syndicates. Creatively using rules of criminal procedure, he has helped to jail environmental criminals within hours of their arrest. His enforcement work against illegal fishing syndicates was featured in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary film entitled Blast.

Together with volunteer fishermen, scuba divers, local officials and ordinary citizens, he helps local fishing communities put up a network of marine sanctuaries and fish condominiums in the Visayan Sea.

Oposa also founded the SEA Camp (formerly the School of the SEA -Sea and Earth Advocates) in the white-sand shores of Bantayan Island, Cebu in the Central Philippines.  This Camp features a free-flying bird sanctuary, a demonstration marine protected area, and a model climate change house. This house is powered by renewable energy and has vertical and roof-deck vegetable gardens to illustrate self-reliance and food sufficiency.

The Camp also completely recycles water and solid wastes. Even methane from human waste is captured and converted into cooking gas. As a physical demonstration of the working principles for sustainable living, the camp has trained thousands of children, out-of-school youths, government officials, fishermen, law enforcement officers, teachers, lawyers, and laymen.

He is the convenor of the revolutionary Share-the-Roads Movement in the Philippines, a group of citizens advocating for the fair sharing of road space, clean air, and walkable and bikable communities. The network of citizens has filed an ongoing case against the Philippine Government to compel the latter to divide the roads by half lengthwise —half for motorized vehicles and the other half for sidewalks and bike lanes < is external)>.

Oposa received his law degree from the University of the Philippines and his Master of Laws from the Harvard Law School, where he was the commencement speaker for his graduating class. He is legal adviser and international environmental negotiator of the Federated States of Micronesia to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. He has taught Environmental Law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, the Ateneo School of Law, and the San Beda School of Law and lectures around the world.

For his work, Oposa received The Outstanding Young Man (TOYM) of the Philippines award (1993) and the highest United Nations award in the field of the Environment — the UNEP Global Roll of Honor (1997). 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, he was the Distinguished Visiting Scholar for International Environmental Law at the Vermont Law School. In 2014, he was Visiting Lecturer in the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law.

“For his path-breaking and passionate crusade to engage Filipinos in acts of enlightened citizenship that maximize the power of the Law to protect and nurture the environment, for themselves, their children, and generations yet unborn,” he received the 2009 Ramon Magsaysay Award.

For recreation, he is an avid cyclist, open-water scuba diver (advanced level), sailor, swimmer, tennis player, gardener, vocal artist, painter, writer, and  storyteller.