Symposium on Food and the Environment
During March 2020, the Wallace Stegner Center’s 25th annual symposium addressed “Food and the Environment: Resilient and Equitable Food Security for the West.” The Symposium focused on the connections between food and the environment through two lenses. First, it examined issues regarding and means of promoting the simultaneous resilience of both food supplies and native ecosystems, such as by examining the intersections of food production and water supplies. Second, it explored emerging and evolving ways to ensure equitable access to appropriate food ways for diverse western communities (e.g., ranching communities, tribes), including innovative approaches to making healthy food available to all residents along the Wasatch Front. A copy of the symposium brochure, which includes an agenda and speaker biographies, is available online at https://law.utah.edu/projects/stegner-annual-symposium/.
The symposium was beset by challenges due to the historic outbreak of Covid19 and the earthquake in Magna, Utah on March 18, 2020. Although the Stegner Center originally planned to hold the symposium in person, the Center switched to a virtual symposium on March 10. The change was unavoidable due to confirmed Covid19 cases in the State of Utah, the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, and the University’s decision to suspend all travel (including domestic flights) for faculty, staff and students.
On the morning of March 18, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck in Magna, Utah, approximately ten miles west of Salt Lake City. Power was knocked out for 55,000 residents, public buildings were closed, and 18 aftershocks rippled throughout the valley during the day, including a 4.6 magnitude earthquake. The University closed all buildings and ordered employees to work from home in order to allow the University’s facilities team to check and affirm the safety of all the buildings on campus.
Working remotely from home, our IT staff successfully hosted our noon-hour Stegner Lecture with Jessica Fanzo on “Eating Our Way through the Anthropocene.” Stegner Center Director Bob Keiter joined the lecture from his home via the remote platform to welcome our audience, introduce Jessica Fanzo, and moderate the question-and-answer session.
Although the University of Utah campus reopened on March 19, the College of Law building remained closed for the rest of the week. Without access to the College of Law building, with its dedicated, high speed Internet connection, the IT staff was unable to support the symposium, given the multiple presenters and attendees scattered across the country. The Stegner Center was, however, able to record the speaker presentations, which are posted and available for viewing free of charge on the College of Law Youtube channel at https://law.utah.edu/projects/stegner-annual-symposium/. The recordings are a rich resource for our community and have been viewed and shared widely.
Young Scholar Jason Robison
Professor Jason Robison, from University of Wyoming College of Law, joined the Stegner Center as the 15th annual Stegner Center Young Scholar on November 7 and 8, 2019. He delivered a Young Scholar Lecture at the College of Law on November 7 on “Beyond Bears Ears: Postcolonialism & Grand Canyon National Park” and a CLE presentation at Holland & Hart on November 8 on “Downstream of Montana v. Wyoming: Equity, Tribes & the Yellowstone River Compact.” Professor Robison’s lecture will appear as an article in an upcoming issue of the Utah Law Review.
Stegner Center Lecture Series
The Stegner Center hosted a variety of speakers for our noon-hour lecture series, who addressed the following topics:
- “The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Occupation and Combatting Violent Extremism” with Peter A. Walker, Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon
- “Reasons for Hope: An Afternoon with Jane Goodall”
- “Air Pollution, Environmental Injustice, and the Well-Being of Children” with Sara Grineski, Professor, Sociology and Environmental & Sustainability Studies, University of Utah
- “Utility-scale solar development on Utah School Trust Lands” with Michael S. Johnson, Assistant Director & Chief Legal Counsel, and Keli Beard, Legal Counsel, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration
- “Current Issues in Utah’s Natural Resources” with Brian Stead, Executive Director, Utah Department of Natural Resources
- “The Big Thaw: Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World” with Chris Linder, Conservation Photographer, Filmmaker, and Lecturer
- “The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Revisited: Law, Science, and the Pursuit of Ecosystem Management in an Iconic Landscape” with Bob Keiter, Wallace Stegner Professor of Law and founding Director of the Wallace Stegner Center, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
- “Water Banking” with Emily E. Lewis, Attorney, Clyde Snow & Sessions
- “The Gold King Mine Spill: Environmental Law and Liability” with Cliff Villa, Associate Professor of Law, The University of New Mexico School of Law
Most of the green bag presentations were recorded and can be viewed on the College of Law YouTube channel.