Burns Weston

Retired from full-time teaching on The University of Iowa law faculty in May 1999, Professor Weston began his legal career in 1961 with the New York City law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. In 1966, after two years as a Sterling Fellow and Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Yale Law School, he joined The University of Iowa College of Law and since then has served as Founding Director of the University’s former Center for World Order Studies (later known as the University’s Global Studies Program) (1972-76), Senior Fellow and Director of the Transnational Academic Program of the Institute for World Order in New York City (1976-78), and Visiting Professor of International Law at Grinnell College (1974), the University of California at Los Angeles (1981), Louisiana State University (1991), Florida State University (2001), the Hopkins-Nanjing Center of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University (2003), and the Vermont Law School (VLS) where, during 2004-2009, he taught and consulted each Fall Term as Visiting Distinguished Professor of International Law and Policy, Director of the VLS Human Rights Initiative (HRI), and Director of the VLS Climate Legacy Initiative (CLI), a joint project of the Vermont Law School Environmental Law Center (VLS-ELC) and the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR). 

Since 2009, in addition to teaching at The UI College of Law, he has served a Co-Director of the Commons Law Project, an externally funded initiative that soon will feature his latest book (with David Bollier of Amherst, MA) titled Greenkeeping Governance: Toward A Law of the Ecological Commons

Dr. Weston is a retired member of the Iowa and New York bars.

Greenkeeping Governance: Toward a Law of the Ecological Commons


At least since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, we have known about humankind’s squandering of nonrenewable resources, its careless disregard of precious life species, and its overall contamination and degradation of delicate ecosystems. In recent decades, these defilements have assumed a systemic dimension. Lately we have come to realize the shocking extent to which our atmospheric emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatens Planet Earth.