UF Law environmental conference brings it all back home

Published: February 22nd, 2010

Category: Events, News

Julian Juergensmeyer

Julian Juergensmeyer

UF students, faculty and staff who want to be part of the solution to Florida’s environmental challenges but don’t know where to begin can start by attending the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s 16th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference Feb. 25-27.

New and longtime environmental advocates and legal professionals are invited to attend the two-day conference titled, “Bringing it All Back Home: Leadership, Land Use and Local-nomics.” The event, to be held in UF Law’s Holland Hall, will emphasize the power of local environmental leadership, the potential of innovative local land-use tools and the promise of place-based economics and agriculture. Paid participants can earn CLEs while interacting with legal experts, environmental writers, and wildlife and ecology scientists during panel discussions and two workshops.

“With this conference, we wanted to bring environmental responsibility back to the local scale while incorporating the realities of modern society,” said Zach Broome, a second-year UF law student and co-chair of PIEC 2010. “We also wanted to make environmental responsibility something viable for attorneys outside the land use or environmental fields, which is why we have a panel on professional responsibility and two workshops on the ethical and legal approach to development.”

The first workshop on Saturday, Feb. 27, is titled, “The Rezoning and Development Order Approval Process.” This workshop will benefit those interested in learning how Florida’s land-use laws are applied and how to effectively participate in the process from a citizen and public-interest perspective. The following workshop, “Cultivating the Next Generation of Environmental Leadership,” will provide tips and advice on how to be an effective board member and how to assume leadership roles. This workshop will also address the impact of technology and the generational differences in leading effectively.

In addition to the panel discussions and workshops, there will be two distinguished keynote speakers. Julian Juergensmeyer, the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Chair in Law at Georgia State University College of Law and co-director of the GSU Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth, will give the keynote address Thursday night during the opening reception. The title of his presentation is, “Bringing It All Back Home: Where the Wild Things Are!”

“During my presentation, I will outline two main ideas,” Juergensmeyer said. “First, that current problems (energy and resource shortages, climate change and economic uncertainties) require land-use planners and regulators to consider wild ideas. Second, that wild ideas are best tried and tested on a small scale at the local level. After developing these ideas I will attempt examples of some of the wild ideas that may not be so wild after all.”

Bill Belleville, a Sanford, Fla., resident who is a documentary filmmaker and award-winning environmental author, will give the keynote address during the Friday night banquet. Bellville’s books include River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida’s St. John’s River and Losing it all to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape.

The conference is free for UF students, faculty and staff. A discounted registration of $15 is available for non-UF students.

To view the agenda, speakers, room assignments and registration form, visit www.law.ufl.edu/piec.