We are pleased to release our finalized schedule for panels, keynote addresses, and special events to occur at this year’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.
PIELC 2018 Keynote Speakers
Thursday March 1, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom
Dr. Richard W. (Rick) Spinrad
Dr. Richard W. (Rick) Spinrad is a Professor of Oceanography at Oregon State University (OSU) and President-Elect of the Marine Technology Society (MTS). In 2016 he retired as Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014. An internationally recognized scientist and executive with more than 35 years of experience, Dr. Spinrad was the Vice President for Research at OSU, and from 2003 until 2010 was the head of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Ocean Service. Among his accomplishments, Dr. Spinrad was a co-lead of the White House Committee that developed the nation’s first set of ocean research priorities and oversaw the revamping of NOAA’s research enterprise. Prior to joining NOAA, Dr. Spinrad held leadership positions at the U.S. Office of Naval Research and Oceanographer of the Navy, where he was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award (highest award given by the U.S. Navy to a civilian). He has held faculty appointments at three universities (OSU, US Naval Academy, and George Mason University), served as Executive Director at the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, was President of Sea Tech, Inc., and worked as a research scientist (at OSU and Bigelow Lab).
Rick also developed the National Ocean Sciences Bowl for high school students. Dr. Spinrad served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission from 2005-2009. He is the recipient of Presidential Rank Awards from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. Dr. Spinrad is past president of The Oceanography Society. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, MTS, and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), and an IMarEST Chartered Marine Scientist. Dr. Spinrad received his Bachelor of Arts degree in earth and planetary sciences from The Johns Hopkins University, and his Master of Science and Doctoral degrees in oceanography from Oregon State University.
Description of Keynote: Dr. Spinrad will be talking about the changing role of science in environmental policy.
Friday March 2, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom
Amy Cordalis is a staff attorney for the Yurok Tribe Tribal Attorney’s Office. Amy graduated from the University of Oregon in 2003 with a degree in environmental studies before earning her J.D. at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Amy then spent six years working as an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund before joining Berkey Williams, LLP to continue advocating for Native American tribes. After her time at Berkey Williams, Amy joined the Office of the Tribal Attorney with the Yurok Tribe.
Description of Keynote: Amy will be discussing issues surrounding the Klamath Basin from tribal, environmental, and legal perspectives.
Friday March 2, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom
Julia Olson graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993 with a B.A. in International Affairs and from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, with a J.D. in 1997. Julia worked for 15 years representing grassroots conservation groups in the West. She helped protect rivers, forests, parks, wilderness, wildlife, organic agriculture and human health. After becoming a mother, and realizing the greatest threat to her children and children everywhere was climate change, she began focusing her work in that field and founded Our Children’s Trust. Her work has led her to the intersection of human rights and environmental protection and she is passionate about working for youth. Julia also teaches environmental courses as an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon School of Law. To rejuvenate, Julia loves being high up in the mountains with her family and her dog or playing tunes on her ukulele with friends.
Description of Keynote: Our Children’s Trust elevates the voice of youth to secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations. Through our programs, youth participate in advocacy, public education and civic engagement to ensure the viability of all natural systems in accordance with science.
Our mission is to protect earth’s atmosphere and natural systems for present and future generations. We lead a game-changing legal campaign seeking systemic, science-based emissions reductions and climate recovery policy at all levels of government. We give young people, those with most at stake in the climate crisis, a voice to favorably impact their futures.
In 2015, 21 youth, along with climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, acting as guardian for future generations and his granddaughter, filed a landmark constitutional climate change lawsuit against the U.S. government. The lawsuit claims the U.S. government, by allowing and promoting the development and use of fossil fuels, has knowingly and deliberately caused dangerous climate change, thus violating plaintiffs’ constitutional due process and equal protection rights.
Attorneys and youth plaintiffs will discuss developments in this groundbreaking lawsuit as it heads to trial in 2018.
Saturday March 3, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. in the EMU Ballroom
Stephanie Kodish is the senior director and counsel for the Clean Air Program at the National Parks Conservation Association, the independent, nonpartisan voice working to protect America’s favorite places. Stephanie leads NPCA’s legal, policy and public engagement efforts to reduce air and climate pollution that harms people and national parks across the United States. Prior to joining NPCA, Stephanie represented marginalized communities impacted by pollution from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and confined animal feeding operations as counsel for the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C. Stephanie began her career in international environmental policy with the World Resources Institute and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors focusing, respectively, on legislative representation of marginalized communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and assessing social and environmental costs of global corporations. Stephanie graduated from Vermont Law School with a juris doctor and masters in environmental law, and also holds a bachelor of arts degree from the Ohio State University. She is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
Among her many roles, Stephanie is a mother of three, gardener, yogi and co-founder of Community Labs, a Knoxville-based collaborative designed to create dynamic space for individuals and organizations to connect, stimulate civic engagement, and identify intersections to support movements grounded in common values. Stephanie lives in Knoxville with her kickass family and believes that together we can heal the world.
Description of Keynote: Stephanie will present how social justice and environmentalism intersect based in part on her expertise safeguarding national parks from air pollution.
Saturday March 3, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom
Dr. Kathleen Wolf
Dr. Kathleen Wolf is a Research Social Scientist at the College of the Environment, University of Washington. She is also a research associate with the US Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station on urban forestry and stewardship studies. Dr. Wolf’s research explores the human dimensions of urban ecosystems. She has also worked professionally as a landscape architect and as an environmental planner. Dr. Wolf’s professional mission is to discover, understand and communicate human behavior and benefits, as people experience nature in cities and towns. Moreover, Dr. Wolf is interested in how scientific information can be integrated into local government policy and planning. She has served with national organizations that promote nature in cities, such as the Transportation Research Board national committee on Landscape and Environment, the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and the TKF Foundation. You can view her research at www.naturewithin.info; and the Green Cities: Good Health project at: www.greenhealth.washington.edu.
Description of Keynote: Did you know that experiencing nature makes us healthier? Join us to learn about the exciting nature and health research that impacts our community. Dr. Kathy Wolf, with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, will share her fascinating work on the interconnectedness of nature and health, and how this knowledge can be used to improve our communities. We will also share local examples of how Friends of Trees puts this research into action. Join us to learn how we can create healthier communities by planting trees together.
Sunday March 4, 2018 at 12:10 p.m. in the EMU Ballroom
Kaarin Knudson, AIA, is an architect and urban designer who founded her sustainable urban design practice, Larco/Knudson, and the community housing coalition, Better Housing Together, in 2017. In the decade prior, she led innovative urban design, planning processes, and architecture projects of various sizes throughout western Oregon, and her work has been honored by the American Institute of Architects at the urban, campus, building, and interior scales.
In an era defined by disruption and uncertainty, Kaarin’s work focuses on the interventions needed to create more empathetic, livable, resilient places. Trained as a journalist before becoming an architect, Kaarin is currently co-authoring a book on sustainable urban design, and she has edited architectural manuscripts on housing and social history, urban morphology, innovative construction types, and inclusive design.
As non-tenured faculty in full-time practice, she also teaches urbanism and design studios in the UO College of Design. She holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in Journalism and Fine Arts from the University of Oregon, and she is a member of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the American Planning Association and International Association of Public Participation, and a Board Member of the Architecture Foundation of Oregon.
Description of Keynote: “To Dwell in Possibility” – Architect and Founder of the Better Housing Together project and Principal and Partner of Larco/Knudson, Kaarin Knudson, AIA, will speak about collaboration, sustainable urban design, and the possibilities we find between a rock and a hard place.