Public Interest Environmental Conference
20th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference
February 20-22, 2014 at the University of Florida Levin College of Law
Feeding the Future: Shrinking Resources, Growing Population and a Warming Planet
2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the PIEC. This year the conference will focus on the legal and environmental challenges that a growing population, a rapidly changing climate and shrinking natural resources present to agricultural production, and the efforts that are being made to secure intergenerational food-security.
The 20th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference will examine agricultural production on a planet with a growing population, shrinking resources and a rapidly changing climate.
What is the Public Interest Environmental Conference?
For twenty years the Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) has sought to promote an understanding of the legal aspects of environmental protection, to serve to inform individuals as to the necessity for improvements in environmental legal protection, to foster the development of sound environmental legislation, measure the effects of environmental litigation, and to assist other groups involved in environmental education. The conference brings together legal practitioners, academics, policy makers, and private citizens to discuss preeminent issues surrounding a different environmental topic each year. In addition, the PIEC invites prominent environmental advocates to address these issues. Such speakers include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Carol Browner, and Robert Sokolow.
More Information About This Year's Conference
The most recent revision to the U.N.’s global population projection has the Earth’s population peaking at just over ten billion by the year 2100. This represents around a 40% increase in the number of people that need to be fed, yet even now, 66% of the world’s population is malnourished according to the World Health Organization. At the same time we are rapidly losing arable soils, around 10 million hectares (approximately .7% of the world’s cropland) annually, according to the 2013 Trade and Environment Review compiled by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Soil erosion reduces the productivity of agricultural and forest ecosystems and hurts wildlife diversity, which further marginalizes our ability to weather threats posed by population growth and climate change. Increased industrial and municipality demands on water sources as well as increased prevalence of minimum flow requirements for surface water systems will further constrain available water resources for agricultural producers. This will necessitate the development of increased water-use efficiencies concurrently with increased agricultural productivity. At the same time agricultural producers are finding themselves squeezed by escalating input costs and never ending downward price pressure being pushed by powerful food retailers and processors that command considerable influence over prices. These diminishing margins leave many agricultural producers with few options to develop sustainable farming practices as they struggle to hang onto their farms.
Whether you are a large commercial agricultural producer, own a small family farm, are an attorney, or are a regular citizen these issues will affect all of us. As a developed nation situated in an area that contains an abundance of natural resources and arable land, the United States is in a great position to develop, implement and propagate agricultural practices, policies and technologies that can ensure stable, sufficient food production capable of weathering the previously-mentioned looming storms. That is why it is incumbent upon us to bring together diverse perspectives in order to foster healthy discussions and pool our collective human and intellectual capital to find timely, beneficial solutions to these issues.
Please join us this year for the 20th annual PIEC as we explore a variety of legal and environmental issues surrounding these challenges including: incentivizing resource-efficient agricultural production, valuing the environmental services sustainable agricultural production can provide, technological frontiers in agriculture, and examining the role patent protections can, or should, play in developing new agricultural products.
Thank you for attending the 2013 Public Interest Environmental Conference! This year we had over 200 attendees and the conference was a great success due to the participation of dedicated citizens and academics like you. The 19th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference was approved for 13.0 General CLE credits and 1.0 Ethics CLE credit. Attendees may report their CLE credits online at www.floridabar.org using the course number 1200184N.
Scholarships for the Public Interest Environmental Conference are made possible by a generous donation from the Jelks Family Foundation. The scholarship includes waiver of the registration fee for the conference.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until January 31, 2014.
PIEC and GreenLAW thank those of you who joined us for the Eco-Run 5K Fun Run/Walk fundraiser, benefiting the 2014 Public Interest Environmental Conference.