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Aspen Institute to host National Geographic forum

Joel StoningtonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN This weeks environmental forum at the Aspen Institute will draw many of the movers and shakers in the green movement. David Monsma, the director of the upcoming Aspen Environment Forum, insists this is not your average conference. There is more conversation and exchange than lecture or presentation, Monsma said. This is three days of highly charged programming, with experts on a variety of topics. The most exciting aspect is the diversity of different presenters and the combinations of those speakers in panels and sessions.The forum, which will take place March 26-30, is the result of a partnership with National Geographic magazine. Editors of the magazine, in addition to being attendees of the forum, have brought an added dimension that could not have happened otherwise, Monsma said. Auden Schendler, director of community and environmental responsibility at the Aspen Skiing Co., agreed.If you look at Aspen Skiing Co., its like theres a new generation running the company and thats true of this forum, he said. Its being organized by a young, smart guy named David Monsma. Hes trying to create a new way of looking at these things. Its part of a new movement that focuses more on getting things done than sitting around chatting.Schendler is taking part in sessions such as Carbon Markets, which will address the booming carbon-credit market and the hopes that market offers in affecting climate change. He also is a panel member on a session titled, What is a sustainable business? Schendler will join leaders from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Fiji Water and General Motors Corp. in that discussion. Other speakers include Harvard professor and author E.O. Wilson, National Resources Defense Council Executive Director Frances Beinecke and author James Kunstler. Aspens origins were in trying to be a leader on culture … making Aspen a thought leader, Schendler said. I hope thats happening again today on environment.Tickets to the forum, at $1,700, are still available. There also are more moderately priced evening exchanges at the Wheeler Opera House and Hotel Jerome. The evening events are $20 or $45 for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and run from a multimedia presentation by Dennis Dimick, executive editor of National Geographic, to an examination of climate change in the Arctic on Friday night.jstonington@aspentimes.com

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