Aspen Environment Forum kicks off seminar season | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Environment Forum kicks off seminar season

Staff reportThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – If last weekend – with the Food & Wine Classic taking over the downtown core – marked the official start to Aspen’s summer social season, this weekend marks the beginning of yet another type of season: seminar season.From the environment to our local forests to international think tanks, the next two weeks are filled with intellectual gatherings.Kicking off Aspen’s summer of seminars is the Aspen Environment Forum, Friday through Monday at the Aspen Institute. Started five years ago as a collaboration between the Aspen Institute and National Geographic, the forum is designed to “gather a broad spectrum of key thought leaders for rich and engaging dialogue on the challenges of reconciling Earth’s finite resources with its ability to sustain our expanding human needs.”This year’s forum will center around the theme “Living in the New Normal,” which is based on the science from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recently released climate “normals”; the four-day event will focus on addressing solutions rather than debating the science. More than 80 speakers with various areas of expertise will participate in the forum, with William Chameides, dean and professor of the environment at Duke University; David J. Haues, deputy secretary of the interior; David Orr, chairman of environmental studies for Oberlin College; and Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, participating in the event’s opening plenary on Saturday morning.Dovetailing nicely with the Aspen Environment Forum is the Forests at Risk symposium, scheduled for Sunday and Monday, also at the Aspen Institute. Hosted by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the two-day event focuses on “Conservation & Collaboration in a Changing World” with a spotlight on our local forests, streams and natural ecosystems.Among the featured guests are former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who will serve as master of ceremonies. Agenda items include “A Changing Climate: What Do Dying Forests & Melting Glaciers Share in Common?” which is billed as a photographic odyssey with James Balog, of the Earth Vision Trust, and a welcome address via video from Sen. Mark Udall. The keynote address is “Accelerating Restoration Through Emerging Partnerships,” with Harris Sherman, undersecretary of agriculture for natural resources and environment.On the heels of the Forests at Risk symposium is the Aspen Ideas Festival, Wednesday through July 3 at the Aspen Institute. Perhaps the cornerstone of Aspen’s intellectual offerings, the Ideas Festival brings together the world’s greatest minds for a week of panel discussions, seminars, lectures, films and more on a range of nationally and internationally important topics including technology, science, education, the economy, the arts and more.Among this year’s wide-ranging topics are: “Can We Solve the Debt Crisis?” “Exploring the Rational Middle: How Do We Stay There in the Natural Gas Debate?” “Head Games: Can Football Be Saved From Itself?” “Technology of War: What Does the War of the Future Look Like?” “Personalized Medicine is a Myth” and “What Does It Mean to Be a Military Superpower?”