David R. Boyd

Current affiliation:
Adjunct Professor, Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University

He is an Adjunct Professor of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University and one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers. David’s current research focuses on the effects of enshrining the constitutional right to live in a healthy environment.

2005 Trudeau scholar David R. Boyd is an expert in environmental law and policy and an adjunct professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He has advised governments and NGOs from Sweden to Tunisia on environmental and constitutional issues and he co-chairs Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 initiative with Mayor Gregor Robertson. Boyd is the award-winning author of over 100 articles and nine books, including The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment. He is a member of ELAW (the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Commission on Environmental Law. 

While traveling along the road of life, one encounters potholes, detours, and dead ends but also valuable lessons, new friends, moments of insight, and unexpected delights (especially when traveling by bicycle). Being a Trudeau Scholar has been an amazing part of this journey, and enabled many lessons, friendships, insights, and delights. This is thanks largely to the people who form the loose-knit but remarkably collegial Trudeau community-scholars, mentors, fellows, directors, employees, and alumni of all kinds. Being a Trudeau Scholar gave me the financial freedom and the intellectual space to do what I love doing-combining research and advocacy in an effort to strengthen public policies to protect people's health from environmental hazards.

To return to one's studies later in life, as I have done, is a great luxury. It offers a reflective retreat from the frenetic pace of modern life. The Trudeau scholarship provides a constant reminder that this good fortune is accompanied by a set of responsibilities, both ethical and intellectual. In my case, it is not sufficient to labour away in an ivory tower producing sophisticated journal articles with few readers. Instead, honouring the ideals of the Trudeau Foundation requires going the extra distance and doing everything within one's capacity to turn words on paper into actions in the real world-actions that pursue social, environmental, and economic justice.


David R. Boyd is one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers. He is a Trudeau Scholar at the University of British Columbia, an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University, and a Research Associate at the University of Victoria. Boyd has advised the governments of both Canada and Sweden on environmental issues and is the co-chair of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Team along with Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Boyd’s current research focuses on the effects of enshrining the constitutional right to live in a healthy environment, a right now recognized in at least 100 nations. His most recent book is Dodging the Toxic Bullet: How to Protect Yourself from Everyday Environmental Health Hazards. His previous book was a best-seller co-authored with David Suzuki titled David Suzuki’s Green Guide which shares ideas about how to find fresher, tastier, healthier food, create an eco-friendly home, make sustainable transportation choices, reduce consumption, and be a green citizen.

Boyd also wrote Prescription for a Healthy Canada: Towards a National Environmental Health Strategy, Sustainability Within a Generation: A New Vision for Canada and the award-winning Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy. His essays appear regularly in The Globe and Mail and other Canadian newspapers.
David is the former Executive Director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now Ecojustice), Canada's leading public interest environmental law organization. He lives on Pender Island in British Columbia with his wife Margot Venton and their daughter Meredith.

* In 2012, David R. Boyd wrote two new books: “The Right to a Healthy Environment: Revitalizing Canada’s Constitution” and “The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment.”