Mission, Vision, and History
The Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) helps communities speak out for clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet. We are a global alliance of attorneys, scientists, and other advocates collaborating across borders to build a sustainable, just future.
ELAW envisions a world where ecosystems and communities are respected and protected, and decisions are grounded in the rule of law, sound science, and principles of environmental justice.

Public interest lawyers from 10 countries launched ELAW in 1991 to help each other protect communities and the environment through law. These lawyers were working together at a public interest law conference at the University of Oregon School of Law. As they talked, they discovered that communities in their countries were facing similar environmental and human rights challenges. They were inspired by each other’s passion and work, and they realized that by sharing strategies and legal and scientific information, they would be more effective in defending communities and the environment.

They began their cross-border collaboration in the early days of email, and ELAW’s team traveled the world to build relationships and connect advocates and their organizations through the ELAW network. Today, we collaborate with public interest advocates working in more than 80 countries.