Jennifer Marlow, J.D.

Assistant Professor - Environmental Law

Jennifer  Marlow, J.D.
(707) 826-3828
Natural Resources (NR) Building, Rm. 219

I join the faculty at Humboldt from Alaska, where environmental law as it applies to the natural environment is being tested to the extreme. Major pieces of landmark wilderness are poised for oil and gas development, shorelines and the social structures they support are eroding, and some of the world’s most productive fisheries are threatened by potentially major mining operations. My approach to teaching environmental coursework at Humboldt is informed by years of footwork dancing around these challenges and also by the joys, disappointments, and confounding inquiries that connect site-specific issues to global-scale social, economic, political, and environmental challenges.

Fundamentally, I take a practical approach to deep questions tugging at the social consequences of a degraded global environment, and to the human rights and constitutional violations associated with environmental degradation. The questions I pose as a practitioner of law and as a professor are also informed by a rather unromantic disposition toward conflict—a position informed by a careful questioning of assumed and official outcomes and a willingness to be surprised and to keep an open mind. It is these nimble skills that I hope to hone with my students, along with the technical and detailed grind of learning the letter of the law.

I have provided legal counsel to nonprofits, community groups, and other clients on regulatory compliance, environmental, climate, administrative, and constitutional matters, and my teaching is an extension of my practice of law. My law practice is also shaped and influenced by the interdisciplinary complexities of environmental conflicts and the expertise of my colleagues in law, the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, and by affected communities facing the realities of unprecedented environmental change. I bring a unique expertise in climate law and climate adaptation, particularly in pre-disaster contexts, to the classroom— subjects about which I have presented and published extensively in a wide variety of venues, in the U.S. and internationally.

I will bring to my classroom and my students my commitment to developing a climate justice practice, which has emerged from my ongoing work and research in climate adaptation. Past research projects include: the Washington Environmental Council and Sightline Institute on legal barriers to developing fair climate policies in Washington state; co-founding the nonprofit Three Degrees Warmer, and co-chairing the Three Degrees Conference on the Law of Climate Change and Human Rights; serving as a probono attorney for Our Children’s Trust’s atmospheric trust legal campaign; curating the Re-Locate Kivalina project, which supports a community-led relocation planning process in Kivalina, Alaska, a barrier island community of the NW Arctic coast that is being displaced by climate change; and building Re-Locate LLC, a small business developing relocatable infrastructure and sanitation services for climate displaced–communities. Although disparate in its methodologies, approaches, and contexts, my climate justice research relies on ethnographic and empirical components that require long-term and sustained relationships with climate affected–communities. My research often engages intractable issues with entangled ethics that present decadal problems, and is humanized by the real struggles and triumphs of every day life in a climate changed world.

Specialty Area

Areas of Interest:

  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Policy
  • Climate Justice


J.D., 2010, University of Washington School of Law, Seattle, WA
B.S., 2002, Environmental Studies, Middlebury College, VT

Courses Taught

ESM 305 Environmental Conflict Resolution
ESM 325 Environmental Law and Regulation


My research is in climate displacement and planned community relocation. As a co-curator of Re-Locate, a collective that has facilitated several projects supporting an in-village relocation process in Kivalina, I co-managed a community center redesign, designed and built a human waste biorefinery, and produced a digital relocation archive of culturally curated content. I have also co-authored legal advocacy briefs in support of landmark climate litigation, arguing that climate change threatens fundamental human rights and U.S. constitutional rights. For more on my latest research, see here and here. See also this Headline Humboldt interview on KEET TV here.

Current Graduate Students

Name Thesis
Alexander Brown


Sample Publications 

  •  “Global Warring and the Permanent Dry,” 1 Seattle J. of Envir’n. Law 19, (January 2011), available at
  • “Preparing for climate change in Washington State,” Climatic Change: Volume 102, Issue 1 (2010), Page 351.
  • “The Three Degrees Conference: One Year Later,” 85 WASH. L. REV. 193, 195 (May 2010).

Sample Advocacy Briefs (Co-Author)

  • Amicus curiae brief for Law Professors, Sinnok v. State of Alaska, Alaska Supreme Court (March 26, 2019)
  • Brief for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate et al. as Amici Curiae in support of the Plaintiffs-Appellants Seeking Reversal, Alec L., et al. v. McCarthy, et al., No. 13–5192, 2014 WL 3013301 (D.C. Cir. June 5, 2014).
  • Brief for The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Leadership Team, Jeffery D. Sachs, et al. as Amici Curiae in support of the Petitioners, Alec L., et al. v. Gina McCarthy, et al., 135 S. Ct. 774 (No. 14–405), 2014 WL 6860603.

 Sample Presentations

  • University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) Breakfast Seminar, Reimagining Relocation for Climate Displaced Communities: Lessons from Kivalina, Alaska, November 7, 2018. Seattle, WA (via teleconference)
  • University of Washington School of Law “Gates Public Service Law Speakers Series, Global Mondays,” Relocation in the Arctic, March 6, 2018. Seattle, WA
  • University of Hawai’i and Council on Environmental Quality, “Symposium on Climate Displacement, Migration, and Relocation,” Re-Locating in a Re-Imagined Arctic, December 14, 2016. Honolulu, HI
  • State of Alaska and EPA, “Water Innovations in Arctic Healthy Homes Conference,” Re-Locate: Kivalina Biochar Reactor, September 19–20, 2016. Anchorage, AK
  • University of Oregon, Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, Kivalina: A Climate Change Story?, February 28–March 1, 2014. Eugene, OR
  • Alaska Pacific University, Re-Locate Project, July 30, 2013. Anchorage, AK
  • Humboldt State Sustainability Series, Climate Change and Human Rights: Justice Beyond Law, Thursday, May 30, 2013. Humboldt, CA
  • 5th Geneva Convention Roundtable on “Nature, Conflict, and International Law in the Anthropocene,” When Rights Go Wrong: Climate Change and the Occupancy of Legal Space. Forensic Architecture, Goldsmith’s University, London. January 25–26, 2013
  • Global Washington, “Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times,” Using Law as a Development Tool,  October 31, 2011. Redmond, WA
  • Landesa, Three Degrees Project and Land Rights, October 25, 2011. Seattle, WA 
  • University of Washington, “Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference,” The Power of Scenario Thinking for Climate Adaptation, September 13, 2011. Seattle, WA
  • Haramaya University, “Climate Justice Public Forum,” Imagining a Warmer World, Apr. 16, 2011. Alemaya, Ethiopia
  • Columbia Law School, “Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of Rising Seas and a Changing Climate,” Compensating Climate Injustice? (poster presentation), with Jeni Barcelos, May 23, 2011. New York, NY
  • Alaska Forum on the Environment, Tribal Perspectives on Planning For Climate Change, February 7, 2011. Anchorage, AK
  • EPA’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office (Region 10), “Regional Innovation Council Speaker Series,” May 26, 2010. Seattle, WA
  • City of Bergen, “Conference on the Bergen Charter of Climate Change and Human Rights;” October 22–23, 2009. Bergen, Norway
  • East China Normal University, “First International Undergraduate Conference on Climate, Water, Weather and Society;” July 20–24, 2009. Shanghai, China
  • 2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium: Sustainable Blue Economy,  "Where Do We Go from Here? Sea Level–Rise Risk to a Spent Nuclear Fuel Site on Humboldt Bay.”  Jennifer Marlow & Alexander Brown (Graduate Assistant) (Oct. 2021)