J. Marc McGinnes

Lecturer Emeritus

Office Location

Bren Hall 4015


Environmental law, policy, and dispute resolution.

  • J.D., UC Berkeley
  • B.A., History, Standford


Marc McGinnes retired from his regular teaching duties in 2005, capping a distinguished 33-year teaching career at UCSB. As an emeritus member of faculty since then, he has continued to advise and mentor students, to conduct research, and to accept invitations to speak on campus and in the community. In 2017 he developed and taught for the first time a now-popular seminar on the topic of Hope That Works.

As a pioneer in the field of environmental education, McGinnes led the founding in 1970 of the Community Environmental Council (CEC) in Santa Barbara, one of the country’s first community-based environmental education centers. At UCSB, starting in 1972, he developed and taught ten courses in the areas of environmental law, policy, dispute resolution, and ecopsychology, including the longest running undergraduate course in environmental law in the United States. He was the recipient of numerous teaching honors and awards, including the prestigious UCSB Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award. He is the author of Principles of Environmental Law (Rainbow Bridge 1980).

In addition to his academic teaching and scholarship, McGinnes has been a pioneer in the professional practices of environmental law (the application of legal principles to address environmental problems) and legal ecology (the application of ecological principles to address legal problems).

McGinnes began practicing environmental law in Santa Barbara in 1969, and in 1977 he led the founding of the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), one of the country’s first regionally-centered public interest environmental law firms.  In 1986 he led the founding of two groups—Peaceful Resolutions Institute and Community Mediation Council-- that facilitated the development and delivery of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution services in the community. His presentations on Using and Practicing Law as a Healing Art have been featured at numerous conferences on peacemaking and conflict resolution.

McGinnes is also an accomplished performer on stilts who has been an uplifting presence on campus and around town with considerable regularity since 1975. His second book, Rise Up! A Stilter’s Adventures in Higher Consciousness (Mercury Press 2017) was recently published, and he is currently at work on his third, Falling in Love with the Earth, Again which will be released in Fall 2018.