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Category archives for Aspen Environmental Forum

Minerals are Essential to address Climate Change and meet Sustainable Development Goals

In 2013, the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) launched the Resourcing Future Generations (RFG) initiative to bring world attention to the challenges of sustaining resource supplies. The RFG initiative includes a diverse group of geoscientists, environmental and social scientists and economists, drawn from a range of institutions with diverse private and public experience in…

The Muslim Miners of Mongolia

Dedicated to exploring the connections between society and the environment, Saleem H. Ali reflects on a visit to a small mining town in Mongolia which hosts a diverse cultural heritage and is planning for a sustainable future.

Google and the Green Economy: Lessons in Process Innovation

Guest post by Samia Mazhar Global efforts to reach a climate change agreement in Paris later this year are gaining momentum not only in the halls of some parliaments but also in the corporate world. In this guest post, an Australian scholar of project management and innovation, Samia Mazhar, explores ways one major corporate power…

Ecological Restoration of an Indigenous Community on the US-Canadian Border

Environmental justice concerns in Native communities across the Americas have been a source of continuing social conflict. Addressing the injustices of the past and rebuilding trust between companies, governments and communities remains a challenge. In this guest article, Kim McRae, a doctoral candidate at the University of Vermont with twenty years of community advocacy experience…

The Scarce Mineral Behind the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics

  This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics is thankfully not being awarded for the discovery of some esoteric atomic particle but rather for the development of a technology that impacts all our lives. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in its announcement that the prize was awarded to 3 scientists who “invented a new…

Green Thought Leaders Share Words of Wisdom From Aspen

We reported on the Aspen Environment Forum last month, which brought together leaders in the environment, science, policy, and business communities to discuss “the new normal” on the scenic Colorado campus of the Aspen Institute. (National Geographic co-sponsored the event.) Now, genConnect has released brief video interviews with some of the presenters. Browse the videos…

National Geographic Photographers Suffer for Their Art and the Planet

“Yes we show the problems, but there is more to the world than that,” Joel Sartore told a rapt audience at the Aspen Environment Forum in late June, as he showed his stunning photos of both environmental harm and majestic beauty. Sartore, a long-time nature photographer, has produced more than 30 stories for National Geographic,…

Driving True Economic Growth: Report From Aspen

  “Our fuel bill was $20 billion last year,” Sharon Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, told a big crowd at the Aspen Environment Forum in late June. Burke explained that the U.S. Department of Defense also spends about $4 billion a year in electricity costs for its 300,000+ buildings…

Ocean Leaders “Shake Up” How We View the Seas

  “Industrial fishing has never been sustainable, it’s always been using the capital, not the interest,” Daniel Pauly, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre, told a rapt audience at the Aspen Environment Forum 2012 in late June. Pauly explained that since the advent of modern industrial fishing, spurred by such inventions…

Rio+20 Brought a “Spiritual Lift” Despite Disappointments

“I’ve been to a lot of international conferences, in Nagoya, Durban, and so on, but Rio [Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development] was bigger than any I’ve ever seen,” Matthew Shirts, the editor of the Brazilian edition of National Geographic, told a large audience at the Aspen Environment Forum this past weekend in…

$1,792 and Nine Months of Work for a Toaster: Rethinking Consumption

    Left to his own devices he couldn’t build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich and that was it. –Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless For a master’s degree in design at London’s Royal College of Art, Thomas Thwaites decided to make a toaster. From scratch. From raw materials, taken directly out of…

Cooperation Along the Colorado River

  “Climate is always changing, but from here on out it is definitely changing,” Jonathan Overpeck told the packed room at the Aspen Environment Forum in Colorado this past weekend. Overpeck is the director of the Institute for the Environment at the University of Arizona, and an expert on water in the West. Aspen leaves…

“English Goes in One Ear and Out Another”: An Endangered Language Perspective

“Literacy makes you lazy: we don’t memorize 10,000-line epic poems any more,” David Harrison, the director of research for the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, told an audience at the Aspen Environment Forum in Colorado this past weekend. “I don’t even memorize cell phone numbers any more,” said Harrison, a linguist who studies many…

“Eat With Joy” Says Barton Seaver in Aspen

“Yes, human actions have caused a problem, but doesn’t that give you hope that we can be the solution?” Barton Seaver asked a small group of guests gathered in a glass-walled restaurant at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, host of this year’s Aspen Environment Forum. “Eat with joy,” Seaver added, as guests took in the picturesque mountain…

Learn How to “Live in the New Normal” at This Month’s Aspen Forum

  The 2012 Aspen Environment Forum is around the corner (June 22-25), just after the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, and I’m looking forward to the few days in picturesque Aspen, Colorado. It will be my first time seeing my hero Edward O. Wilson, whose elegant prose inspired me to try to write…