For the Stegner Center, the 2011-2012 academic year was both busy and rewarding. The Stegner Center launched its Environmental Dispute Resolution Program (EDRP) in 2012, thanks to a generous, five-year $762,000 grant from the Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust. Michele Straube joined the Stegner Center in February 2012 as the new program director. Under Straube’s leadership, the EDRP will educate key constituencies about mediation options, train new mediators and facilitators, publish research on alternative dispute resolution case studies, and work to bring together parties of differing ideologies to find common ground on current environmental, natural resources, and public lands issues. The Stegner Center also hired John Ruple as a research fellow in the new Research Associates Program. This program will enable the Stegner Center to undertake new targeted research projects and provide support for existing faculty research. (See articles in this newsletter for additional information on the EDRP and John Ruple.)
The Stegner Center also hosted a variety of successful conferences and lectures. In February, the Stegner Center’s conference on “Electric Power in a Carbon Constrained World” brought together 12 leading legal scholars from around the country to consider various sources of electric power generation—including coal-fired electric power, natural gas, alternative energy sources, and nuclear power—in the context of climate change and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The conference proceedings are being published in the environmental and natural resources law issue of the student-edited Utah Law Review.
The annual March symposium assembled 15 scholars from around the country to address “Silent Spring at 50: The Legacy of Rachel Carson.” “With its focus on Rachel Carson’s legacy, the symposium explored Carson’s important contribution to environmental law and policy and updated the audience on the state of our oceans and current toxics challenges,” said Bob Keiter, Wallace Stegner Professor of Law at the College of Law and Director of the Stegner Center. Speakers included Susan Avery, the President and Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Wendy Wagner of the University of Texas School of Law, Terry Collins of the Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Green Science, and Sandra Steingraber, scientist and award-winning author of “Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment.” In conjunction with the symposium, Philip Landrigan, the Dean for Global Health and Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, delivered the Wallace Stegner Lecture on “The Impact of the Environment on Human Health: The Special Vulnerability of Children.”
Lynn Scarlett, Co-Director of the Resources for the Future’s Center for Management of Ecological Wealth and Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, spoke as part of the Stegner Center’s lecture series. Her talk “Managing Public Lands in a Changing Climate,” considered how to manage lands given the effects of climate change and the ever-changing political climate in Washington D.C. Lesley McAllister, a Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and Associate Adjunct Professor at the UC San Diego School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, joined the Wallace Stegner Center as our seventh annual Stegner Center Young Scholar and delivered two talks, including the Stegner Center’s 7th Annual Young Scholar Lecture and a Downtown CLE on “Regulation by Third-Party Verification.” The Stegner Center’s popular noon hour green bag series brought in several local speakers each semester who addressed such diverse topics as the future of the world’s birds, biodiversity and habitat conservation on working ranches, the American Indians and the Constructed “Wilderness” of Yellowstone National Park, and Salt Lake City’s Sustainable Code Revision Initiative.