UO doctoral candidate, others attending climate conference in Copenhagen

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Dec. 14, 2009) -- The University of Oregon has faculty, students and alumni in Copenhagen participating in the United Nations climate conference where President Obama is scheduled to be on Dec. 18.

From the UO School of Law, Environmental Studies program, Institute for a Sustainable Environment/Climate Leadership Initiative and the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, members of the UO community are attending the important international event in varying capacities.

Shangrila Joshi Wynn, a UO doctoral candidate in environmental studies and geography, and Wayne Morse Dissertation Fellow, is attending the meetings as a representative of the Association of American Geographers. Joshi Wynn is conducting fieldwork for her dissertation at the conference. Her dissertation examines India's participation in the ongoing international climate policy negotiations and debates.

"What is really striking about this conference is the strong presence and voice of a wide range of civil society groups, including youth-based organizations, indigenous groups, organizations advocating for gender rights and so on from all over the world," said Joshi Wynn from Copenhagen. "Every day that I have come to the Bella Center, I have witnessed demonstrations both inside and outside of the high-security conference center that call for action, or seek to highlight the vulnerabilities or concerns of local communities as they struggle to adapt to impending or already-in-progress consequences of global warming."

She has conducted fieldwork in Delhi during the past year, interviewing several government and non-government officials in climate policy making circles in India. In addition to conducting more interviews with officials from India and other nations, she plans to conduct participant observation at this landmark event in climate negotiations.

"My graduate training enables me to view the international negotiations on climate policy not in a political vacuum, but in the context of enduring geographical differences in socio-economic wellbeing, power and access to resources," said Joshi Wynn.

UO faculty in Copenhagen includes the law school's John Bonine and Svitlana Kravchenko, and Bob Doppelt from the Institute for a Sustainable Environment/Climate Leadership Initiative. They are observing and attempting to influence the language and details being negotiated.

"The University of Oregon brings tremendous intellectual resources to the unparalleled problem of climate change. Faculty and students - from every possible discipline -- are actively seeking solutions to global warming and all of its attendant consequences," said Heather Brinton, director, UO Law's Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) program. "Our collective circumstances, and the UO's strength on environmental and sustainability issues, are allowing the ENR program to reach out across disciplines and fields for innovative approaches in these extraordinary times."

Other attendees include UO law school alum Rachel Kastenberg, a member of the U.S. State Department's special envoy for climate change, and a former law school classmate, Alyssa Johl, who works for the Center for Climate Law and Policy, a group of non-governmental organizations that hope to influence the treaty draft to include a strong representation of human rights.

UO's research and teaching expertise related to climate issues is widespread and interdisciplinary including:
• The UO School of Law was the first public law school in the nation to establish an environmental law program. The ENR law program offers courses in a broad range of natural resources law, pollution law, international law and federal Indian law and policy subjects. ENR provides many opportunities for students and faculty to connect with communities near and far due to its involvement with other organizations, such as Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW).
• The Environmental Studies department includes more than 100 faculty from 30 campus programs and departments. The majority of students participate in the Environmental Leadership Program service learning, which involves students in collaborative environmental research and service projects with government agencies, non-profit organizations and local businesses. ?
• In addition, the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics is focused on a two-year inquiry (2009-2011) on "Climate Ethics and Climate Equity" to examine overarching ethical issues involved with climate change, as well as solutions that focus on equity and environmental justice. The program includes speaker series, visiting scholars, Joshi Wynn's fellowship and project grants.
• The Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) is a center for collaborative research, technical assistance and policy education. Faculty in the institute focus on natural resource management, land use, climate change, rural development, transportation, alternative energy, natural hazards and environmental education.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Julie Brown, 541-346-3185, julbrown@uoregon.edu

Links: UO Law's ENR program, http://enr.uoregon.edu/; Environmental Studies program, http://envs.uoregon.edu/; Wayne Morse Center, http://waynemorsecenter.uoregon.edu/; Climate Leadership Initiative, http://climlead.uoregon.edu/; Institute for a Sustainable Environment, http://sustainable.uoregon.edu;