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World’s pressing problems subject of June conference

Aspen Times Staff Report

With America engaged in protracted military actions overseas and global resources straining to support more than 6 billion inhabitants, the need for creative ways to understand and approach the world’s social and environmental issues has never been more pressing.

To address these subjects, the Sopris Foundation will host its fourth annual State of the World Conference, “Creative Ideas for a Threatened World,” at The Aspen Institute from June 20-22. The conference will be split into three half-day sessions: the State of the World on June 20, the State of America on June 21 and the State of the American West on June 22.

On June 20, the Worldwatch Institute will present the findings of its respected State of the World annual report on the planet’s health.

On June 21, the State of America presentation will include a headlining address from Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, and described by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers.”

Among other speakers will be Dr. Gabor Zovanyi, making a presentation on “The Growth Management Delusion.” A former urban planner, Zovanyi currently assists local governments in pursuing no-growth strategies.

On June 22, the State of the American West will include a presentation by former U.S. Forest Service chief and former BLM chief Michael Dombeck, who will discuss challenges in conserving public lands.

As Forest Service chief in 1998, Dombeck initiated the Roadless Initiative, which called for greater conservation strategies in the management of 58.5 million acres of Forest Service land. The Bush administration has been attempting to revise the Roadless Initiative since taking office.

Other speakers include David Getches, former executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. He will discuss “Lessons from the Dammed West”; former Interior Secretary and Congressman Stewart Udall, on, “The Forgotten Founders, Rethinking the History of the Old West”; Charles Wilkinson, a mediator for Native American tribal land issues, will discuss, “The Place of Indian Tribes in the Western Landscape”; and Patricia Limerick, author and director of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, will speak on, “The Legacy of Conquest.”

Ed Marston, former publisher of High Country News, will also make a presentation. A list of the 16 speakers, including biographies, is available online at http://www.soprisfoundation.org.

The conference will run from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 20, and from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with a daily admission charge of $45. Registration for the conference is available at the Web site or by calling 925-2521.


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