BARE BONES BRIEFS: Climate disruption and natural asset management: perfect legal storm? | Neurodivergent lawyers stay under the radar for fear of discrimination

By Julius Melnitzer | May 6, 2024


The growing frequency of climate disruption with its associated impacts in costs, combined with the steady growth of climate and nature-related litigation will doubtless increase the legal risk associated with natural asset management, the process of inventorying a community’s existing assets, determining the state of those assets, and preparing and implementing a plan to maintain or replace those assets. Towards that end, Natural Assets Initiative, whose mission is to make natural assets management a mainstream practice by enouraging the adoption of standard methodolgies and tools across Canada, has published Legal Primer – Natural Asset Management by Local Governments in Canada to help local governments understand the risk in undertaking or not undertaking this work. “We’ve had a lot of general interest from both in house and private bar lawyers from which it’s become apparent that the primer served only to peel back the first layer of the onion,” says Roy Brooke, NAI’s executive director. “We have had questions and comments related to, for example, the connection between the health and condition of natural assets and Indigenous rights.” Still, there’s little doubt that interest in natural asset management awareness is growing by leaps and bounds: “We’re blowing away targets for most events now as natural asset management catches on and, perhaps as importantly, as the climate is increasingly disrupted.” But there’s ‘far more’ to do, Brooke adds: “We have not reached a place where everyone is magically aware of the issues.”

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A survey by Neurodiversikey concludes that about 75% of neurdivergent lawyers have not disclosed their condition to their firms for fear of discrimination. Some 51% of respondents had actually experienced related discrimination and 74% felt that the sector was generally not neuroinclusive. Neurodiversikey told The Law Society Gazette that the results ‘overall portray a sorry situation in need of immediate, meaningful action’.

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Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or

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