Rethinking Invasive Species-Panel at U of O Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
Joining the list of exciting subjects discussed at this year’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at the University of Oregon, running March 4-6, 2011 in Eugene, was our panel entitled “Environmentalism Gone Awry: The war on invasive species – the need for a rational assessment of the costs and benefits of invasive species control.” The panel, organized by Nahcotta, WA resident Fritzi Cohen and Fearless Fund, and featuring talks by several prominent scientists in the national debate on invasive species was standing room only!
Sydney Ross Singer, a medical anthropologist and biologist living on the Big Island of Hawaii, director of the Good Shepherd Foundation and the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, gave examples from Hawaii’s invasive species control programs to show that the cure can be far worse than the problem in his talk entitled “Attack of the killer environmentalists.” Singer is the co-author of “Panic In Paradise: Invasive Species Hysteria and the Hawaiian Coqui Frog War” (ISCD Press, 2005).
Dr. James Morris, director of Belle Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, Professor of Biological Sciences, Distinguished Professor of Marine Studies at the University of South Carolina, and an AAAS Fellow, spoke on “Invasive Spartina grass—ecological disaster or high value ecosystem service provider?” His talk will address the role of science in informing policy as it pertains to invasive species and the predicament that policymakers have when confronted by uncertainty.
Boyce Thorne Miller, Science and Policy Coordinator of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, presented “View from the Looking Glass: the dangers of categorizing species as worthy or unworthy – a contemplation of ethical, biological, and ecological implications of our battles against invasive species.” Miller has authored two books on marine biodiversity – “Ocean” and “The Living Ocean: understanding and protecting marine biodiversity.”
David I. Theodoropoulos directs the Las Sombras Biological Preserve in La Honda, CA and is the author of “Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience, the first comprehensive refutation of invasion biology.” His talk was titled “Invasion Biology – Science or Pseudoscience?, a brief overview of invasion biology's scientific failings, and current scientific perspectives on invasive species.”
A poster presentation sponsored by Fearless Fund and prepared by the Rachel Carson Council was also exhibited. Composed of three parts, it explains the definition of Invasive Species, describe the structure of the National Invasive Species Program as well as the Washington State invasive Species Program.
The presentation was designed to highlight the complexity of the issue and the regulatory structure, as well as to encourage discussion on topics such as conflicts concerning individual property rights and the use of pesticides.
The PIELC is the premier annual gathering for environmentalists worldwide, and is distinguished as the oldest and largest of its kind. The conference historically unites more than 3,000 activists, attorneys, students, scientists, and concerned citizens from over 50 countries around the globe to share their experience and expertise. The Conference is organized solely by the volunteers of Land Air Water (LAW), a student environmental law society, and is sponsored by Friends of Land Air Water (FLAW), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
The four-day Conference included over 125 panels, workshops, and multi-media presentations addressing a broad spectrum of environmental law and advocacy. Topics included: forest protection and ecological restoration, grazing and mining reform, labor and human rights, air and water pollution, Native American treaty rights, globalization and “free” trade, environmental justice, corporate responsibility, marine wilderness, international environmental law, water rights and dam removal, oil and gas litigation, genetic engineering, and urban growth.
Each day of the conference culminated with keynote presentations from preeminent activists, scientists, politicians, philosophers, and authors. This year’s lineup included Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Dr. Vandana Shiva.
For more information on the invasive species panel, contact Fritzi Cohen at email@example.com or Fearless Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org. See video clips of the panel presentations at our new Fearless Fund Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/fearlessfund?feature=mhum