Our newest attorney Bridget Psarianos joined thousands of people from around the country in a gathering to share information about issues related to environmental justice and the public interest. Here’s a brief rundown of her experience.
I recently went to Eugene, Oregon to my first conference as an attorney for Trustees. I was excited to represent our office, put faces to the names of folks I’ve had the chance to work with over the telephone, and gain a better understanding of the important issues going on around the country.
The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) brings thousands of activists, students, and professionals together to aid the push for environmental and social justice. The four-day conference included discussions, workshops, and panels that shared ideas from a diverse array of cultures and communities.
Some things change, some things always stay the same
PIELC is put on mostly through the efforts of University of Oregon law students. I was very impressed with their hard work. I also learned that this conference has been going on for the past 36 years!
It’s amazing to think how the issues facing public interest environmental attorneys have changed over that time—and how they’ve stayed the same.
Some highlights for me included meeting the other members of a panel presentation on offshore energy development. These experienced attorneys talked with me about their important work and their careers.
The panel presentations on climate change litigation were very interesting, as were panels on National Environmental Policy Act challenges that are being brought against the Department of the Interior across the country.
Spreading the word on threats to Alaska
It was also encouraging to meet many people who had thoughtful questions about Trustees’ work in Alaska. Though places like D.C. and southern California can often feel worlds away, it’s heartening to know that so many activists and attorneys are watching what’s happening here in our backyard—and they are backing us up.
This year’s theme was “Local Character, Global Vision.” We know that change is possible and needs to happen in the legislature and in policies at local and global levels. In these uncertain times, it was good to focus on the fact that individuals like ourselves can make a difference at a broader scale.
I look forward applying what I learned at PIELC, and the connections made there, to my work here at Trustees, where we bring local character and global vision to protecting Alaska’s lands, waters, wildlife and people.