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National Wildlife Federation VP lectures at Stetson Law about climate change, flood insurance and wildlife protection


National Wildlife Federation leader John Kostyack ’86 discussed “Conservation in an Era of Intensifying Storms and Floods” at noon on Sept. 26 at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport.

John Kostyack spoke at Stetson Law on Sept. 26. Photo by Kayla Minton (2L).

John Kostyack spoke at Stetson Law on Sept. 26. Photo by Kayla Minton (2L).

John Kostyack is vice president of Wildlife Conservation at the National Wildlife Federation and a Stetson Law alumnus. He addressed a crowd of students, alumni, faculty and members of the public.

“You guys are blessed with one of the best places to study law,” Kostyack told the students in the audience. “We were talking before the gathering today and I was recalling to my friends my long swims in the Gulf back in the day side by side with the dolphins. There is nothing to inspire you more to hit the books than living in and experiencing Florida’s nature.”

Kostyack’s lecture explored the future of wildlife conservation and NWF strategies to save endangered wildlife, people and property along the coasts and floodplains where storms and floods are intensifying due to climate change.

“This concept of climate change adaptation is so enormous, the idea that only one, small poor country is going to get themselves out of the box of climate change is a ridiculous notion in my mind,” Kostyack said. “In fact, the notion that any individual by themselves could really make a difference on this acting alone is absurd. What is a solution? It’s going to take a level of collective action and leadership from government, the private sector, universities, and NGOs that is virtually unprecedented.”

John Kostyack spoke with a crowd of Stetson Law students about the future of wildlife conservation.

John Kostyack spoke with a crowd of Stetson Law students about the future of wildlife conservation. Photo by Kayla Minton (2L).

Kostyack explained that flood insurance reform, disaster planning and flood preparedness should include wildlife conservation.

“Wildlife conservation needs to get a seat at the disaster-planning table,” said Kostyack.

He talked with the law students in the audience about challenging areas where more legal work and reform is needed.

“If you’re passionate about conservation, go out and volunteer,” Kostyack advised the students gathered to hear his talk.

Stetson’s Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series is open to the public and brings leading experts to campus to speak on a range of environmental topics directly impacting the state. Professor Royal C. Gardner directs the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson.