Mountains of Cortina, Italy

Laura Westra did her undergraduate and graduate work in philosophy, and she received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1983. IN 2005 she received her second Ph.D. in Jurisprudence at Osgoode Hall Law School, and her new doctoral thesis was published in 2004. She is the founder of the Global Ecological Integrity Group (GEIG), and has organized several conferences of that group in conjunction with the IUCN Commission on Law and Environment (CEL), Special Ethics Group (ESG), to which she belongs for the last five years. She has been reinstated at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, in 2008. She has been teaching International Environmental Law and Environmental Law since 2009.

Westra has taught in both Canada and the U.S. from 1983 to 2000, and her last full time position was Endowed Chair of Environmental Studies at Sarah Lawrence College (NY).She is presently teaching Environmental Law at the University of Windsor as a Sessional Instructor, and International Environmental Law and Human Rights at the University Parma (Italy). She has taught International Environmental Law at the University of Milano (Bicocca), 2009-2013, and was Visiting Professor at the University of Trento, Faculty of Jurisprudence, in 2013.

She has held offices/served in the International Society for Environmental Ethics, the science for Peace Group, the Occupational Ethics Group, the Society for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (Ontario), the York centre for Applied Sustainability. She is on the Editorial Board of many philosophical and scientific journals, including Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, the Journal of Ecosystem Health and Global Bioethics. She has been a member of many boards and committees, including the IUCN Commission for Environmental Strategy and Planning, the NSERC/SSHRC Board, the NSF (USA), and the Planning and Implementation Group for the Earth Charter.

Westra has been the Principal Investigator for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (1992-1999) and for NATO's Advanced Scientific Research Workshop, for the Global Ecological Integrity Project (now the Global Ecological Integrity Group, which she directs). In that capacity she has been organizing a meeting of that group each year, at the invitation of many Universities in Canada and Europe.She has won several fellowships including the Harley D. Hallett Fellowship to pursue a law degree, and was funded again by SSHRC fr her second doctorate in Jurisprudence (2001-2004). She has been a consultant for the World Health Organization, the University of Peace (Costa Rica) and the Ontario Government and she has successfully worked on environmental justice together with the lawyers for an African-American community in Birmingham ,Ala. She was legal consultant for a Health Canada Grant (2004-2006 on Governance Instruments and Child Health: Informing Canadian Policy); and Post-Doctoral Student on another SSHRC Grant on "Controlling Ecoviolence : Linkng Consumption and the Loss of Ecological Integrity to Population, Health, Ecojustice and International Law (2004-2007; University of British Columbia, PI William Rees). She was Post-Doctoral Student with Bradford Morse, University of Ottawa on Public Health and Indigenous Peoples (SSHRC Grant).

Most of Westra's work is on environmental policy and law, with special emphasis on human rights and global justice. Westra has published more than 94 articles and chapter in books, and is the author or editor of 46 books and collections. Some of her more relevant works can be found on the Publications page.