University of Hawaii law school students are getting ready for one of world’s biggest environmental conferences next month, which will be held in the United States for the first time.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress is set to meet from Sept. 1-10 in Honolulu.

The UH law school and its Environmental Law Program are engaging students in global environmental issues, focusing on climate change and other pressing concerns facing Hawaii and the Pacific, a UH news release says.

University of Hawaii environmental law students gather to vote electronically on IUCN motions.
University of Hawaii environmental law students gather to vote electronically on IUCN motions. Courtesy: University of Hawaii

“This is an historic moment in time for Hawaii and the Pacific,” said Associate Law School Dean Denise Antolini, who is teaching a course focusing on the motions work that happens during the IUCN Members Assembly.

The students have developed seven motions, which include calls for: global action about marine debris, biofouling (bringing new marine organisms to Pacific waters), climate change, community-based natural resource management, sustainable growth, the importance of environmental courts, as well as an affirmation of the role of indigenous people and culture in conservation efforts, the release says.

Antolini recently led her class through five hours of discussion and online voting to cast the Environmental Law Program’s formal vote on all of the 86 motions submitted by IUCN members, the release says, and also to prepare for the live floor debate on 13 motions that are scheduled for full Assembly discussion.

Claire Colegrove, who’s part of the 2017 law school class, said the World Conservation Congress offers “a unique opportunity to unite the nations of the Pacific region” to establish a regional Pacific climate action plan, noting how signs of climate change are already apparent.

Learn more about the UH law school’s involvement in the conference here.

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