Stetson kicks off spring biodiversity lecture series with talk on Florida’s Frightening Phosphate Problem

(L-R): Professor Royal Gardner with presenter Jaclyn Lopez, who presented the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture.

(L-R): Professor Royal Gardner with Jaclyn Lopez, who presented the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture.

Stetson University College of Law’s spring semester Foreman Biodiversity Lecture series kicked off on the Gulfport campus on Jan. 24 with a lecture by Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Close to 100 people attended Lopez’ talk on “Florida’s Frightening Phosphate Problem” in the Great Hall.

Lopez described how Florida is home to the world’s largest phosphate mine, and the hazardous bi-product of one billion tons of radioactive phosphogypsum. She discussed the phosphate industry’s impact on the landscape, altering waterways and destroying habitat.

“The most important thing to remember about phosphate mining and fertilizer production is that it leaves a lasting legacy in Florida that’s not a pretty one,” said Lopez. “We’ve already lost hundreds of thousands of acres to the industry. We now have to store over a billion tons of radioactive hazardous waste and that problem is only going to continue to grow as we authorize additional mining. Now is the time to draw the line in the sand and say not one more inch.”

Lopez is a native Floridian, who coordinates campaigns in the Southeast and Caribbean to protect imperiled species and ecosystems. She has taught courses on environmental law and has presented and written on Endangered Species Act issues.

Upcoming lectures in this series are complimentary in the Great Hall on Stetson’s Gulfport campus at 1401 61st St. S. and include:

  • Feb. 27, 12 p.m., Dr. Song Gao of Stetson University and
  • March 30, 12 p.m., Judge Anthony Lucky of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Stetson’s Foreman Biodiversity Lecture series is coordinated through the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, which is the recipient of the 2016 American Bar Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Environmental Law and Policy.

To learn more about environmental law programming and the Institute at Stetson, visit www.stetson.edu/law/biodiversity. RSVP biodiversity@law.stetson.edu.