National Geographic : 2008 Jun
advertisement :(I II TEA NISI E.. . It was over three days chock-full of insightful, compelling ideas and camaraderie. In an effort to stimulate thinking on the future of our environment and the world's growing energy crisis, a diverse group of attendees gathered to participate in a rich exchange during a weekend forum in Aspen, Colorado. Hosted by the Aspen Institute-an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering leadership and open-minded dialogue-and National Geographic magazine, the first ever Aspen Environment Forum convened at the Institute's Aspen campus on March 26-30. Part convocation, part round table, and part local town meeting, leading scientists, activists, journalists, politicians, historians, educators, business leaders, and the public had the opportunity to discuss a variety of interrelated environmental issues, such as energy conservation, climate change, environmental policy, and new technologies. And while everyone agrees there's no shortage of problems, the Forum presented a host of workable solutions. According to Princeton scientists Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow, "Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical, and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half century." The real question is, do we have the will? The Aspen Environment Forum's "Pledge" The Aspen Institute and National Geographic magazine encouraged Forum participants to lead by example while upholding the ideas shared at sessions. To do their part to help reduce the environmental footprint of the event, the organizers of the Forum teamed with the city of Aspen to reduce waste, recycle, and offset the carbon emissions that Forum attendees were estimated to produce through air travel, ground transportation, and the use of facilities in Aspen. Attendees were encouraged to use the city's Canary Tag program, a voluntary carbon offset program that generates funding for local, state, and regional programs that work to reduce greenhouse gases. Attendees and participants could calculate the size of their footprint by using the city's carbon calculator, located on canarytags.com.