Florida’s Role In Global Issues Focus of 14th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference

Published: February 25th, 2008

Category: News

Public Interest Enviornmental ConferenceThe University of Florida Levin College of Law’s 14th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) will be held Feb. 28- Mar. 1, 2008, at the UF Law campus. The theme of this year’s conference is “Reducing Florida’s Footprint: Stepping Up to the Global Challenge.” The conference will focus on Florida’s role in global issues on energy, land use, biodiversity, and water. The PIEC will take place in conjunction with the 1st Annual University of Florida Water Symposium—”Sustainable Water Resources: Florida Challenges, Global Solutions.”

On the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 27, the PIEC opens with a pre-conference keynote speech by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit climate change and human rights activist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. The speech will be held at the Reitz Union Ballroom and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m. Co-sponsored by UF Office of Sustainability, the conference is free for all UF students, faculty and staff. The PIEC pre-registration fee is $85, and the on-site registration is $100. Both fees include all program activities except the banquet, which is an additional $35 for all Conference attendees. The post-mark deadline for pre-registration is Feb. 22.

The opening reception will be held at the President’s House, 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28, with with welcoming remarks by UF Law Dean Robert H. Jerry, II, as well as a keynote speech by Shannon Estonez, governing member, South Florida Water Management District.

The conference resumes at the Levin College of Law Friday, Feb. 29, with an entire day of panel discussions involving dozens of participants on such topics as sea-level rise, climate change, agricultural challenges, water resources, community land management, carbon markets, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the impact of war on the environment, and Florida’s needs for sustainable energy. The conference banquet, 7-10 p.m., will feature keynote speaker David Hunter, assistant professor of law and director, program on International and Comparative Law at American University Washington College of Law.

Saturday’s schedule starts at 9 a.m. with a workshop on “Walking Small: Reducing Your Personal Footprint,” featuring Michelle Adamski, sustainability extension agent, Wakulla County, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). The day’s panels begin at 10:30 a.m. and cover such topics as environmental injustices and dams, biodiversity loss, and communication between scientists and policymakers. A two-hour closing plenary, entitled “The Focus on Florida,” begins at 1:30 p.m.

Since its inception in 1994, this student-organized conference has attracted top practitioners, legal scholars and scientists from around the state and beyond to discuss Florida’s most pressing environmental issues. Now in its fourteenth year, the PIEC has enjoyed a continual increase in reputation, attendance and popularity. Contact Andrew Beckington (abeck82@ufl.edu) or Yee Huang (lyh@ufl.edu) or visit www.ufpiec.org.