Idaho businesses hosting climate summit this month

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BOISE – November 16th & 17th, 2017, a first-of-its kind summit will bring together Idahoans for an interactive two-day conversation entitled, Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate – Our Water, Our Land, Our Health, Our Future (www.idahoclimatesummit.com).

Idaho business and community leaders from diverse sectors, including Idaho Power, HP, the American Lung Association, Sierra Club, and Monsanto, will work side-by-side with conference participants using facilitated Human Centered Design brainstorming sessions to explore solutions for Idaho that mitigate or adapt to the effects of a changing climate. “The idea is to recruit everyone to the table and have real conversations about real solutions – small and large, individual and collaborative – we all share the same opportunities and challenges,” says David New, of Society for American Foresters, Idaho Chapter.

The statewide summit will be held at Boise State University, Idaho State University (ISU), and the University of Idaho (UI), November 16 (8:30 AM to 5:00 PM) and 17 (8:30 AM to 3:00 PM), with a reception on Thursday evening from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM at the Boise State University Stueckle Sky Center. Morning keynote and panel discussions will be live in Boise from the Boise State Student Union Building and streamed online for participants to view at the UI Commons building in Moscow; Henry’s Fork Foundation Office, 801 Main St, Ashton, Idaho; and the ISU Pond Student Union Building in Pocatello. Afternoon facilitated workshops will be held at all three venues.

Any business, school, organization or individual who wants to participate can do so online by streaming the event from www.idahoclimatesummit.com. Entities that wish to lead their own design thinking workshops can sign up for a training from Warm Springs Consulting on the “Facilitate” tab of www.idahoclimatesummit.com. Statewide workshop results will be shared in a post-summit action report to be distributed in early 2018.

Summit participants will showcase and discuss the ways in which the private sector can collaborate and lead in leveraging expertise, influence and insight to champion Idaho’s economy and future. Idaho’s current economy depends on reliable sources of clean water, resilient landscapes and communities, and a healthy workforce. Yet changes, such as increased wildfire and drought, pose risks to Idaho industries from agriculture and manufacturing to outdoor recreation and healthcare. For example, “exposure to wildfire smoke can cause serious health problems ranging from pneumonia and asthma attacks to cardiovascular episodes. Most vulnerable to smoke exposure are babies, small children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with existing respiratory or heart disease. We see a need to talk about plans for protecting the health of our most vulnerable citizens with others in health care, with employers, and with the community,” says Heather Kimmel, Executive Director, American Lung Association in Idaho. Participants will gain insights, learn about new business practices, build collaborations and discover solutions that make sense for Idaho’s communities, economy, lands and waters.

Keynote speaker Kate Gordon will present From Risk to Return: Challenges and Opportunities for Idaho in Adapting to a Changing Climate. This talk will frame U.S. economic risks and opportunities presented by a changing climate and emphasize impacts and ideas for Idaho’s business sectors. Kate Gordon serves as a Senior Advisor at the Paulson Institute, where she provides strategic support on issues related to climate change and sustainable economic growth. She is also a nonresident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the founding Executive Director of the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer.

Organizers of the summit, including the American Lung Association, the Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Nature Conservancy, Idaho Chapter of American Fisheries Society, and the Society of American Foresters, hope to jumpstart conversations and identify collaborative solutions to the threats facing Idaho’s economy. “Idaho’s economy, health and lifestyles are inextricably tied to the health of our lands and waters,” said Bas Hargrove, senior policy representative at The Nature Conservancy. “The challenges of a changing climate impact us all. But together we are finding ways to tackle these challenges, and together we can find a path forward.”

A recent public opinion poll by Yale University showed that while nearly two thirds of Idahoans understand Idaho’s climate is changing, only one third talk about it. Summit organizers believe constructive dialogue, rooted in a spirit of cooperation and pragmatism, will better position Idaho economically. Warm Springs Consulting will report out summit participants’ short, medium, and long-term recommendations to reduce risks and increase opportunities for all Idahoans. The organizers anticipate that many businesses will discover economic opportunities by planning ahead.

Major sponsors of the event include the organizers listed above, as well as: Boise State University, Clif Bar, DL Evans Bank, Future Web Studio, HP, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Power, Idaho Sierra Club, Idaho State University, Idaho Water Resources Research Institute, Monsanto, Nez Perce Tribe, Northwest Climate Science Center, Potlatch Corporation, The Langdon Group, University of Idaho, and the Upper Snake River Tribes.

Register for Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate at www.idahoclimatesummit.com. For sponsorship or media questions, contact Amber Bieg at amber@warmspringsconsulting.com.

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