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Autumn 2014 Issue
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Earth the winner in triple scholarship


Ben Mylius

As an undergraduate student Ben Mylius was pondering his future in law when he attended a lecture on 'Earth Jurisprudence'.

It was a defining moment for the budding lawyer and provided a new focus for his academic ambition which has resulted in three major scholarships.

His awards include a John Monash Scholarship, a George Murray Scholarship from the University of Adelaide and an SA Law Foundation Fellowship together worth about $260,000 over the next three years.

The Adelaide Law School Associate Teacher plans to study at Yale Univesity in the US where he will use the scholarship funding to study a Master of Laws and Juris Doctor.

He wants to research the ways in which legal systems can be reframed so they protect, instead of undermine, the ecological welfare of the planet.

"Our current legal systems are too human-centred, and view human communities and their interests in isolation from the interests of the natural world," says Mr Mylius.

"There's growing consensus that law has lost its ability to see ecological issues in the larger context that is needed for solutions to be found, and tends instead to approach them in small, fragmented ways."

Mr Mylius intends using the River Murray as a case study to highlight how ecologically focused legal frameworks could have practical outcomes. He views the Murray as one of Australia's most pressing ecological challenges and his John Monash Scholarship is sponsored by the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Winning the three scholarships is allowing him to devote even more time to the subject.

"I'm overjoyed to get that kind of support - the most exciting thing is that I can be focused fully on the study of these sorts of questions," he says.

Intractable ecological issues are also providing inspiration for Mr Mylius's other great passion - creative writing. He is Deputy Chair of the Board of the SA Writers Centre and is in the process of writing a short novel.

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