February 21, 2013
The theme of this year’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) is ‘Earth: Too Big to Fail.’ The conference is set to take place February 28 – March 3, in Eugene Oregon.
According the the PIECL website, “The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference 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.”
Several Goldman Prize recipients are among the distinguished speakers and panel guests that will be at the conference. Thuli Makama and Hilton Kelley will deliver keynote speeches, and Ikal Angelei will participate in a panel organized by Makama, ‘Land, Climate Justice, and Wildlife Conservation in Africa.’
Makama, Swaziland’s only public interest environmental attorney, was awarded the Goldman Prize in 2010 after winning a landmark case to include environmental NGO representation in the Swaziland Environment Authority, reinforcing the right to public participation in environmental decision making.
Kelley was awarded the Prize in 2011 for his campaign to bring Port Arthur’s industrial pollution under control. Unchecked air pollution from the refineries has been atrributed to the declining health of the surrounding community, which suffers from high rates of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.
Ikal Angelei won the Prize in 2012 for her efforts to halt the Gibe III dam, which has the potential to displace and disrupt the lives of over 500,000 people. Lake Turkana is also home to some of the world’s oldest human fossils and is an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Check back soon for updates and photos from the conference.