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Professor Neil Hamilton, students participate in international forums

November 23, 2009
Neil Hamilton, professor of law and director of the Agricultural Law Center, and Drake law students Keith Duffy and Amanda Atherton, will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference from Dec. 12-19 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"I'm really honored and excited to be chosen to attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference," said Atherton of Fenton, Mich. "I've done some work on sustainable agriculture issues, particularly with farm leases, and other environmental issues."

"I'll be focusing on how nonprofit land trusts like the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation can contribute to a solution to the climate change crisis. I'll also be looking at what kind of legal instruments and mechanisms can be used to impact this change."

Both in their second year of law school, the students will learn what is being done around the world to bring positive changes for the climate and environment.

The goal of the conference is to bring nations together to discuss ways to reduce carbon emissions, deal with climate change and develop a Copenhagen Protocol that will replace the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2012.

Drake is one of two Iowa universities to be represented at the conference. The Iowa group, which includes a delegation of 10 Drake and University of Iowa students and several faculty members, was given clearance to attend all meetings during the conference.

Drake students will develop proposals for public programs based on their observations of the climate-change discussions. They will also be encouraged to engage with their communities and present possible solutions to climate change.

In addition, students will present summaries of their programs at an event following the conference. The event will include a keynote address by Jerald L. Schnoor, professor of civil and environmental engineering and co-director of the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Hamilton participates in agriculture and food conference in Italy

Hamilton recently participated in the International Forum on Agriculture and Food in Cemobbio, Italy.

He was invited as one of two Americans and 350 people to attend the conference hosted by Coldiretti, an organization that represents about 70 percent of Italy's farms.

He presented "The Global Challenge of Food Security: Food Strategies," following a speech by Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies Luca Zaia, who extended the invitation to Hamilton to attend the forum.

The two-day conference, which was held at the Villa d'Este, focused on agriculture, agro-food policy and how farmers can use direct marketing to reach consumers.

"At the markets in these countries, the vendors aren't really the farmers like we see at our farmers' markets," Hamilton said.

The conference also explored how local food programs can help reduce climate change.

"Local agriculture has less of a climate impact," Hamilton added. "The Italians are interested in finding out how to localize their economy."