Levin College of Law

Conference to Combine Law, Children and Environment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr., senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, are among more than 50 experts to headline the nation’s first conference combining humanities, law, policy, children and the environment.

The 12th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference, “In Fairness to Future Generations,” will be hosted by the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in Gainesville March 8-11. The student-produced conference drew more than 400 participants last year.

“We are focusing on intergenerational equity and conserving our resources for the future,” said professor Alyson Flournoy, director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program. “The conference will discuss water as a central resource today and its importance in Florida, while linking the issues to the land and to future generations.”

The conference is co-sponsored by the law school; UF’s Center for Children’s Literature and Culture; and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS), a nationwide coalition of more than 50 law student groups devoted to environmental issues. At the invitation of UF’s Environmental and Law Use Law Society, NAELS will hold its annual conference at UF in conjunction with the Public Interest Environmental Conference.

“This year’s joint conference presents an amazing opportunity to bring together a diverse community around common environmental issues of concern,” said Dan Worth, executive director of NAELS. “It should help break down the walls that separate undergraduates, graduates, professors and administrators — allowing the university community to more efficiently work together toward public interest solutions.”

The conference kicks off with a speech by Kennedy, president of Waterkeeper Alliance, at 8 p.m. March 8 at the Phillips Center for Performing Arts, sponsored by ACCENT Speakers Bureau. Kennedy is the author of “Crimes Against Nature” and the children’s book, “Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy,” which details the mission of St. Francis to inspire children to care for the environment.

Richard Louv, a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Parents magazine, will speak about his book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” March 9, at the conference welcome reception. The conference also will feature Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau and president of Earth Echo International.

A diverse selection of panel discussions on Friday and Saturday will feature the following topics:
– Issues and Challenges in Restoring the Ecological Integrity of Lake Okeechobee Watershed
– Marine Ecosystem Management in Florida: Obstacles for Management-Options for Change
– All Hot and Bothered: Global Warming, Endangered Species & Sustainable Development
– Earth, Wind and Fire: Nature, Science and Art
– At the Altar of Nature: Religion and Spirituality
– The Choctawatchee Miracle: An Uncommon Approach to Protecting a River Basin
– Disaster Recovery & Waiver of Environmental Laws
– Fortress Florida: The Future of Florida Coastal Policy
– Wild Things: Children’s Culture and Ecocriticism
– Shooting the Messenger: Science, Politics, and Ethics

Media are invited to cover the conference. For more information on media access, please contact Barbara Serokee, Finance Chair, at (352) 273-0856 or bserokee@ufl.edu, or go to www.ufpiec.org or www.naels.org.

The conference offers 13 hours of CLE credit, including 1.5 Ethics hours. The conference is free for all UF students and faculty and staff, with the exception of the banquet. The conference registration fee is $85, and banquet fee is $35. The registration form may be downloaded from www.ufpiec.org. The registration deadline is March 1.

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