Carl Nathe

By

College: Agriculture, Food and Environment

UK Student Part of UN Biodiversity Convention

Published: Nov 9, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2012) — No cable television or video games sidetracked Patrick Johnson when he was growing up in Pendleton County.  Most days he would race from school to the banks of the Licking River where he would go birding or fishing or play with his dog in the woods.  That, he said, is where he developed a deep reverence and passion for the natural world.  So it probably wouldn’t surprise too many people to hear that Johnson recently represented the United States as a delegate to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India.

 

The University of Kentucky senior was one of three student delegates sent to the international conference by SustainUS, a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, seeks to empower young people and advance sustainable development. The other two delegates came from Penn State University and the University of San Diego.

 

Johnson is program coordinator for the UK Office for Sustainability and has served as Greenthumb's representative to the Student Sustainability Council for two years.

 

“I’ve mainly focused on local and state issues as a youngster and throughout my time so far at UK,” said Johnson, a natural resources and environmental science major in the College of Agriculture. “But I grew very interested in international environmental policy, so I wanted to try to find a way to attend a United Nations convention.”

 

He believes his summer internship with the Sonoran Institute in Tucson, Ariz. where he contributed to an economic evaluation study of the Colorado River Delta, contributed to his being chosen as a delegate. Formally and informally, through the convention’s side sessions and assemblies, Johnson shared his ideas and research experiences with delegates from all over the world. Only four countries’ governments were not represented at the convention, one of which was the United States.

 

“So we, as a youth nonprofit from the United States, were in some ways representing the U.S. at this conference,” Johnson said.

 

The UN has declared this the Decade on Biodiversity and has set up 20 targets to be met by 2020. Called the Aichi Targets, they fall into five strategic goals: address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss; reduce direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use; safeguard ecosystems, species and genetic diversity; enhance the benefits derived from biodiversity and ecosystems services; and implement changes.

 

Johnson was fascinated by policy discussions between convention delegates, and as a member of a nongovernmental organization, he was able to participate in interventions, where delegates are given five minutes to offer suggestions for text revisions to the policy under discussion.

 

“Our conversations, the things we brought to the table, were discussed in the same light as the things being brought to the table by different countries,” he said.

 

One particular discussion on biofuels stuck in his mind, in which Ethiopia, Brazil and Bolivia spoke against biofuels because of their impact on food crop production and the deforestation of rain forests. Canada and Norway were on the other side of the issue.

 

“Just the opportunity to see that conversation and to understand—well, I think sometimes in the United States we don’t really understand the impacts our decisions are having around the world,” he said.

 

Johnson, who will graduate in December, is looking ahead to graduate school in either Oregon or Idaho, where he can concurrently obtain both a law degree and a master’s degree in water resources. He hopes to practice water law.

 

“It’s a very intimidating issue, because there are a lot of problems,” Johnson said. “When you go to India and see the water quality issues there, and you go to the Southwest and see water quality issues there, and then you see the water quality issues that are occurring here in Kentucky, it’s overwhelming.”

 

But Johnson paraphrased environmental writer Wendell Berry.

 

“He always says that the problem with environmental activism or the environmental movement is that everybody is trying to save the world. But if you pick your river—whatever your river is—and you focus and pour as much passion and vigor as possible in that, then if everybody saves his or her river, the world is a better place. So I’m trying to figure out where my river is right now, and when I do, I’m going to work like heck to try to save it.”

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Carol Spence, (859) 257-8324

 

patrickjohnsondelegate.jpg
October
 
 
 
1
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Wed
2
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Thu
3
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Fri
4
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Sat
5
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Sun
6
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Mon
7
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Tue
8
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Wed
9
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Thu
10
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Fri
11
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Sat
12
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Sun
13
 
Mon
14
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Wed
16
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Fri
18
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Sat
19
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Sun
20
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Mon
21
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Tue
22
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Wed
23
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Fri
25
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
26
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
Sun
27
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Mon
28
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Tue
29
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Wed
30
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
Thu
31
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Fri
 
Oct 20
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester 10/20/2014
Reset Page