Symposium Examines Adapting to Global Warming

OXFORD, Miss. – “At every crisis in one’s life, it is absolute salvation to have some sympathetic friend to whom you can think aloud without restraint or misgiving.”

This quote by Woodrow Wilson rings true even today as the world faces global climate change. Land use, coastal management and environmental law regimes all need to be reconsidered in light of this new environment, and will be Tuesday and Wednesday (March 30-31) at the University of Mississippi during a symposium on “Addressing Uncertainty of Environmental Problems: The Challenges of Adaptive Management.”

“I believe climate change is one of the most challenging law and policy issues facing the U.S. today,” said Stephanie Showalter, director of the National Sea Grant Law Center at UM. “Our laws and policies are not currently flexible enough to deal with the rapidly changing conditions and the uncertainty associated with climate change impacts.”

Sponsored by the NSGLC, the symposium’s goal is to raise awareness of national environmental issues and their unique challenges to Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico region, Showalter said. The event also provides networking and professional development opportunities in environmental law for attorneys, national and state government officials and lawmakers.

Action is needed immediately, said Notre Dame law professor Alejandro Camacho, the symposium’s keynote speaker.

“Though legislatures and agencies are considering how to prevent further climate change, some adverse effects from a warming climate are already inevitable,” he said. “Adapting to these effects is essential, but regulators and scholars have largely neglected this need.”

Camacho’s keynote address, “Adapting Governance to Climate Change,” is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Ballroom A of The Inn at Ole Miss. His research focuses primarily on regulatory innovation in environmental, land use and natural resources law.

Camacho earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s degree in criminology, law and society, both summa cum laude, from the University of California at Irvine. He received his Juris Doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as submissions editor and article editor for the Harvard Environmental Law Review. He also received a Master of Law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

The symposium is expected to address a myriad of issues, ranging from how England is tackling climate change and coastal management to ongoing efforts to manage deep-sea organisms in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I think the top challenges are public awareness and political will,” Showalter said. “Growing skepticism hampers the ability of lawmakers to take action to address climate change or adopt adaptation measures.”

The public is welcome to attend, but a $50 registration fee is required for the full two-day event. For more information, visit