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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…

How to Participate in Aspen Environment Forum 2012

The Aspen Environment Forum formally kicks off on Friday. This year’s focus, Living the New Normal, will explore solutions for meeting the challenges we face from the changing conditions on earth. As the Forum continues to change, we are excited to offer some exciting new ways for you to engage with us, even if you can’t attend.

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…

Joel Sartore Takes Spectacular Photos to Aspen

One of the best wildlife photographers working today, Joel Sartore has inspired millions with his intimate, colorful images of wildlife from around the world. Sartore will be sharing his photos with an audience next month at the Aspen Environment Forum in Colorado (June 22-25, tickets still available). In addition to shooting eye-catching covers for National Geographic,…

The Promise of Solar Energy

Featured speaker and MIT professor, Daniel Nocera, participated in an eloquent dialogue at the Aspen Environmental Forum. He captivated the audience with humorous and informative anecdotes, while explaining his vision to meet the world’s energy needs. The world will require 30 terawatts* of power by 2050, assuming that humans will achieve an additional 15 terawatts…

A Not So Suburban Suburbia: Possibilities for Our Urban Future

There are nearly seven billion people on the planet, and more than half of them live in urban areas. Close your eyes and try to picture that. Do you see the towering density of Tokyo or Mumbai? Well, you’re partly right. Megacities with populations topping 10 million are part of the picture, but our urbanization…

A Plea for the Water in All We Use, Make and Eat

“We’re using tomorrow’s water to meet today’s food demand,” warned Sandra Postel, National Geographic Freshwater Fellow, helping to provoke a meaningful discussion on water as it relates to food at the Aspen Environmental Forum. Agriculture was a central theme as it consumes a disproportionate share of global water resources. Jon Foley from the University of…