Executive Board

Dr. Roda Verheyen

Dr. Roda Verheyen is a partner in the law firm Günther in Hamburg, which specializes in environmental and energy law. Prior to her work as a lawyer in Germany, she worked internationally for various environmental associations. In 2002, she founded the international network “Climate Justice Programme” and today leads, among other things, various climate lawsuits, but also complaint proceedings at the Aarhus Convention. She advises clients in many environmental cases from other jurisdictions where German law plays a role. Her motivation for joining GLI: “Together we are stronger – and a strong, high level of protection is not only needed by Germany, but also by the global world. GLI will help to bring environmental law, health and consumer protection and human rights closer together. GLI also wants to help fill certain gaps in the education of young lawyers. Because there is far more need for advice than there are people to fill it.”

Dr. Michael Zschiesche

Dr. Michael Zschiesche is a lawyer and economist and wrote his doctoral thesis on “Public Participation in Environmentally Relevant Approval Procedures – Status Quo and Perspectives”. He has headed the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (Unabhängiges Institut für Umweltfragen – UfU) since 1999 and the Institute´s Department of Environmental Law & Participation in Berlin since 1995. He has coordinated the environmental associations in Germany on the Aarhus Convention for many years and has worked with ELAW since 1995. His work focuses on dealing with transparency rules, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. He is the author of numerous publications (books and journal articles) on participation issues and rights of action, and is involved in other organizations on a voluntary basis (e.g. President of the Nature Foundation David). His motivation for joining GLI: “Law as an instrument of environmental protection is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, Green Legal Impact’s mission is to make people aware of the necessity of nature’s rights, to strengthen them at the same time and ultimately to enforce them. This is what GLI is for.”

Dr. Cornelia Nicklas

Dr. Cornelia Nicklas is a lawyer and has been head of the legal department at Deutsche Umwelthilfe since 2007. She works on environmental legal issues, accompanies court proceedings and creates and moderates expert discussions and dialogue processes with the public, politicians and interest groups on environmental policy issues and individual projects. At the beginning of her professional career, she worked as a consultant at the Brandenburg Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Regional Planning and was subsequently employed as a lawyer in the Berlin law firm of Gaßner, Groth, Siederer & Coll. Her motivation for joining GLI: “The Environment and climate have no voice and no lobby comparable to economic interests. Numerous environmental associations and committed environmentalists give environment and climate a voice. But it needs much more support in its enforcement. This is what we do with GLI.”

Dr. Immo Graf

Dr. Immo Graf is a judge in the ordinary courts. He majored in environmental law and wrote his doctoral thesis on enforcement deficits in water protection law. By becoming a member of GLI, he draws on these environmental law roots. His focus on the GLI board is on organizational issues. His motivation for joining GLI: “I am concerned with strengthening and harnessing the law in the interest of preserving our natural life-support systems and a world as we know and value it. This requires taking a close look at the consequences of political and economic actions for people and the environment, as well as empowering people from different groups to use law as a means of environmental stewardship. This is where GLI helps, crucially through education and outreach.”

Tobias Ott

Tobias Ott is managing partner of pagina GmbH in Tübingen and lecturer at the Stuttgart Media University. His specialty is digital transformation and its impact on society. In 2020, he was recognized as a “digital leader” for his achievements for the publishing industry. From 2011 to 2021, he was a member of the supervisory board of Greenpeace Deutschland e.V., which he chaired as spokesman from 2014. His motivation for joining GLI: “In the face of dramatic climate change and the biodiversity crisis, it is high time to advance the discourse on the rights of nature and to ensure that legal recourse is used as an appropriate means of protecting our world. It still seems more normal in the mindset of our society to use legal remedies against environmentalists than for the protection of the environment, on which we all depend. Strengthening the rights of the environment and making it possible and legitimate for the preservation of our livelihoods to be fought for through legal action is a central theme of GLI. Therein lies powerful leverage – and the opportunity for great social support and a changed mindset about the rights of nature.”